Home » Why This BMW Wagon Is The Best Car I’ve Ever Purchased For Just $3,000

Why This BMW Wagon Is The Best Car I’ve Ever Purchased For Just $3,000

Mercedes Ts
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On Friday night, I dragged another car home to the vehicle refuge I like to call Misty Motors. This one is yet another purchase that is so Mercedes: a high-mileage, at least a decade-old German car purchased for the princely sum of just $3,000. I’ve boughtd a ton of cars for around $3,000 in my life, but none of them were as great as this one. This 2007 BMW 530xi wagon is easily the best dirt cheap car that I’ve ever purchased, and of course, it came from our very own Daydreaming Designer.

One of the wonderful things about writing about cars is that I get exposed to so many different vehicles that I wouldn’t have ever seen at my tech job years ago. Our in-house BMW expert, Thomas Hundal, has found ways to plant the BMW bug in my head [Editor’s Note: He also gave me the idea to buy my i3. Thomas is a bad influence! -DT] and it’s working. First, I picked up (then immediately broke) a BMW X5 with a manual transmission then, in November, I picked up that wonderful E39 525iT wagon from the Bishop. Along the way, I’ve fallen deeply in love.

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Yes, I still love my beloved Smarts and Volkswagens, but these older BMWs have offered an experience that I’ve yet to find anywhere else. These steeds have incredible throttle control, tight, sharp steering, and interiors that can make a bad day melt away.

I think I’ll steal what my wife said after she first drove the E39: It’s incredible, even a base model BMW is worlds apart from something like a base model Toyota.

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Indeed, so when the opportunity came to triple-down on our BMW adventures, my wife and I pounced on it.

Doing Some Good

This time, picking up this BMW wasn’t just adding to my seemingly endless fleet. Before this purchase, my wife and I learned that my best friend was in dire need of a safe, reliable car. They haven’t had the best luck with cars in the past, and at the time, my bestie’s house of 13 had just one four-seater car to share. Well, between my wife and I, we have 17 cars, and surely one of them can help my friend out. I let my bestie choose and I tell you, she’s a smart cookie. She knew right away to run from my diesels, and that the little two-seater Smarts weren’t going to cut it.

Since my personal fleet has more red flags than a Chicago beach in wintertime, my friend asked about our 2010 Toyota Prius.

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Well, that’s a great choice! The Carvana-purchased Prius has easily been our most reliable car, only letting us down once when its 12V battery forgot to do its main job. And as luck would have it — for my friend, anyway — Sheryl was getting mighty bored with her reliable appliance. There’s nothing wrong with the Prius, but she got no excitement from driving it. The car was ultra-dependable transportation and not much else.

Sheryl and I concocted an idea. So, my bestie wants the Prius, Sheryl is bored with the Prius, and I have two cars that Sheryl has been wanting for a while. Seems like we can work out a win-win.

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Thus, we decided to give my friend the Prius. Yes, we paid about $13,000 for it in 2021 and yes, if Sheryl hated it so much she could have just sold it. However, I like being able to help when I can. Knowing my bestie is able to get a full night’s sleep without driving people to work at 3 in the morning? That’s worth the cost of admission to us. She now has a safe and maintained vehicle to get around in.

You Get A BMW And You Get A BMW!

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There’s another benefit to this, too, and it’s that Sheryl finally gets to own one of my cars that she dreams about. At first, this was supposed to be my 2012 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen TDI. I replaced this car back in 2022 with a 2010 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen TDI with a manual transmission, so I had no need to keep the automatic version around.

Annoyingly, I couldn’t transfer the car to Sheryl. The title got wet when I tried selling the car during a rainstorm. Apparently, even a little bit of water can activate a watermark intended to stop title thieves. Our local DMVs wouldn’t even touch it. Thankfully, I can order a duplicate title for $75 so it’s not the biggest deal, but turnaround time is a month unless I pay at least double for overnight processing and shipping… just so we can pay the DMV again to transfer it.

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Luckily for Sheryl, I had another car that she wanted even more than the Volkswagen. The 2001 BMW 525iT wagon that I bought from the Bishop was her favorite car in my fleet and one that she admits drives way better than one of her dream cars, an Oldsmobile LSS.

Transferring that car was equally stupid hard because the car was technically last owned by a person currently without the capacity to handle a vehicle sale, and Illinois doesn’t like that. After getting the runaround from three more DMVs, Sheryl pulled her literal lawyer card and finally, one of them put the title transfer through.

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She’s over the moon with her new to her BMW and we’ve even taken it on a day trip already. Of course, this left me without a BMW wagon, but the timing was perfect because the Bishop was ready to sell me his next BMW.

My New-To-Me 2007 BMW 530xi

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On Friday night, I made my way over to Bishop’s place where a frankly amazing buy was waiting for me. This E61 530xi wagon is so clean that its paint shines like a mirror. Paint swirls? Basically none. Rust? There’s a bubble about half of the size of a dime on the tailgate, that’s it!

The interior is much of the same. There isn’t a tear in the leather or a stain to be found. All of the buttons are intact and the headliner continues to work against gravity. Had you asked me to guess this car’s mileage, I would have said something like 80,000 miles. But no, this car rocks 178,000 miles on the odometer.

[Editor’s Note: Holy crap how did I forget about the E61. Is the world sleeping on this car? It looks fantastic! -DT]. 

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A Little Bit On The E60

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Before we continue, I should talk about this car’s roots. Before the E60 and E61 there was the E39. That car has a timeless design that remains celebrated by enthusiasts today.

The E60? Well, when BMW released it into the world in 2003 the vehicle’s design caused an upset that rippled across the bow of the automotive universe. The E39 was understated and conservative. This? The E60 was curvaceous and featured BMW design-head Chris Bangle’s characteristic voluptuous rear end.

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Under the direction of Bangle, the E60 was designed by Boyke Boyer and Davide Arcangeli. The latter designer was a transplant from Pininfarina, where he worked on the Peugeot 406. Arcangeli reportedly finished the E60’s design in 2000, and BMW brass gave it the green light. This apparently came after weeks of difficulty in trying to get the E60’s complex design into a clay model. But Arcangeli succeeded and his baby was set to become the new model.

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Sadly, Arcangeli wouldn’t get to see his car hit the road. He passed away later that year in 2000. As BMW Blog notes, Arcangeli’s death motivated Bangle and the rest of the design team to honor their lost friend by pushing the design into production without changing anything. Not that Bangle felt that anything needed to be changed, from BMW Blog:

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“Davide’s approach to the project was, I think very unique” Bangle told us during a recent interview. “BMW’s design team was tasked with creating a car with a huge amount of mass, on top of wheels that were the same size as before.”

“[Arcangeli’s] idea behind it was, ‘we really play up the idea of negative surfaces’ which had been, up until that time, considered a taboo”. Bangle said. “[The idea was to] use the negative surfaces instead of lines, to give you a different idea of what the vehicle is”.

“When a designer is lost at that stage in the project,” said Bangle “it can be, and it was in that case, that everyone on the team felt extremely dedicated to his memory and that meant ‘don’t change anything’”.

When you see an E60, whether you love it or are repulsed, you’re not really looking at a vehicle designed by committee (as much as you may have initially thought so), but rather one man’s vision.

Under The Hood

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The E60 was also a technological leap forward. Up front is a cast aluminum structure while the rest of the car is steel. Apparently, this makes the E60 up to 165 pounds lighter than an E39 (depending on configuration) and maintains a near 50/50 weight distribution. The weight loss apparently doesn’t apply to the 530i, which Car and Driver say weighs 110 pounds more than the outgoing car.

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Engines start with a 2.5-liter straight six making 184 HP and 175 lb-ft torque (the same in my wife’s E39) and race all the way up the M5’s 5.0-liter V10. The E60 is notable for having the first and only M5 to come with a V10. My car has a 3.0-liter straight six making 255 HP and 220 lb-ft torque.

So Much Technology

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In terms of suspension, the standard gear gives you struts up front and a multi-link setup in the rear. There’s some trickery going on as well. BMW introduced Active Steering with the E60. This consists of a computer-controlled variable-ratio planetary gearbox between the steering wheel and the rack and pinion. At low speeds, the steering is quick with a ratio around 1:10. Lock to lock, you’re looking at about 1.7 turns. At speed, the ratio is a nice and slow 1:20, or roughly 5 turns if you somehow managed to achieve that at highway speed.

This steering system is combined with an active roll stabilization system. As Car and Driver explain, in this system, the anti-roll bars can effectively disconnect during straight-line driving for comfort. Then, when you throw it into a corner, the anti-roll bars reconnect, providing stiffness. In practice, the magazine found that it held around a skidpad better than an E39, better than a Mercedes E320, and nearly as good as a Porsche Boxster. Car and Driver’s tester hit 60 mph in 6.7 seconds, about the same speed as the outgoing car.

My 530xi also sports xDrive all-wheel-drive. In this system, 60 percent of power normally goes to the rear with 40 percent reaching the front. The vehicle’s computer can change distribution depending on slip. Still no manual transmission this time around, but this one does have a silky-smooth automatic. No SMG transmission here!

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The tech continues inside, where the E60 has BMW’s infamous iDrive system. This was my first time using iDrive and at first, it was baffling. I saw that my HVAC system has knobs for temperature and fan speed, but no settings for which vents send the heat. I also saw no way to change radio stations.

Well, all of those settings and more are in iDrive. You can set just how your vents work, how your lights work, how your heated seats work, and more in the system. Navigation with iDrive reminds me of Mazda’s current infotainment system. I like how you can operate the system while resting your arm on the armrest, but I’d rather just have real buttons.

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In addition to those systems, there’s even more. This car has adaptive headlights, distance sensors, a head up display, a motorized cargo blind, and night vision. Yes, night vision! Sadly, the night vision is one of the features that doesn’t work on my car.

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The motorized tailgate is also a little wonky. Sometimes it’ll open an inch then slam shut and other times it’ll lift all the way open then bonk you on the head.

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This is one of the things that Bishop’s mechanic couldn’t fix. Apparently, the mechanic told him to just stop dumping money into the car.

In Love Again

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Now those problems are my problems! Honestly, I’m entertained by the homicidal tailgate, so it’s staying broken. I might fix the night vision just to see how it works. There’s also an intermittent check engine light for an EVAP problem.

Aside from those little things, the car is basically perfect. I’m just floored by how good this car and how much car I got for the price. The Bishop takes such good care of his cars that both the E39 and this E61 both came with service records about an inch thick.

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I haven’t had a ton of seat time in this car yet, but I love what I’ve experienced thus far. A lot of what makes the E39 great is present here. The steering is communicative and the throttle is just as sharp. And it grips the road better than you’d expect a plush wagon to.

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I do think that the E39 is a little tauter and it’s hard to ignore its good looks, but the E61 is such a soothing drive. I haven’t even discovered all the ways the seats can be transformed, but they have a sort of neck pillow thing like you’d use while flying. I feel like on even the worst day I could just fire up the Harmon Kardon surround sound, point the car in a direction, and let the day melt away.

This car, despite the mileage, is in even better condition than Sheryl’s E39. The only place I could find any rust was on a somewhat hidden place on the tailgate, and as I said before, it’s so small and so early on that it could be fixed in no time.

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This rolling laptop of a car will become my main daily driver. I feel like I can eat up a cross-country trip’s worth of miles without wearing myself out.

I think this is my best cheap car yet. Sure, toys like my imported JDM cars are fantastic, but they aren’t really more than weekend cars. My cheap Smarts and Volkswagens are also great, but they don’t hold a candle to this. This is another one I’d recommend to someone looking for a lot of bang for their buck. You may not pay $3,000 as I did, but I’m sure it’ll put a smile on your face.

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Matt
Matt
2 months ago

Back to back Mercedes articles with cars I have.
What an exciting couple days. A real vote of confidence for my car picking.
Ours has the same phantom tailgate issues. It seems that some of the wires above the headliner were getting kinked when the tailgate opened. I don’t have a full prognosis yet, but I’ll chime in with the final answer once the mechanic has it sorted.
Also, let me be another reminder to clean the roof drains.
Thanks for all the fun articles, and I look forward to following along on your ownership experience.

DarKhorse
DarKhorse
2 months ago

Thanks for another great article, Mercedes! Thomas is a wonderful influence, and that’s a gorgeous BMW (as is David’s i3).
“Negative surfaces instead of lines”? I’m hoping Adrian is going to post an article about that soon. I’d like to learn more about what that means.

cryptoenologist
cryptoenologist
2 months ago

Why the need to transfer the title to Sheryl? Seems unnecessary to pay money to the DMV when you’re married.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
2 months ago

Sheryl’s a lawyer so I’m sure there is a good reason.

WagonGuy
WagonGuy
2 months ago

Nice car!

I’ll admit I’m still interested in hearing more about your E53 Manual (since I also picked one up last August.)

Ecsta C3PO
Ecsta C3PO
2 months ago

Good buy Mercedes!
I was so close to buying one almost the exact same but in brown for $5000 but the owner wouldn’t drop the last $500 off. For that one the owner converted the hatch to manually open, and the driver side window switches didn’t work.

Ended up with a mint CTS (non-V) wagon which is cool for other reasons, but doesn’t ride as smooth as that BMW. Still think about the what-if, glad I can live it vicariously through your posts.

JST
JST
2 months ago

I had a 2008 535XiT 6M, and it was one of the best highway cars I’ve ever driven. Just magical at long drives. The early N54 turbo engine was a nightmare, but you’ve avoided that rats nest.

Does the ‘06 have separate opening glass on the hatch? Blew my mind when I discovered that feature. Might make the power lift gate problems easier to live with.

My only other advice is a) never park under a tree, b) be careful opening the sunroof if you do, and c) make sure to clean out the sunroof drains religiously. When they clog you end up with water in the spare tire well, which is where BMW (in its infinite wisdom) put the various computers for the car, which do not like getting wet. The trick retracting glass is cool but it also carries dirt and leaves back into the roof, where they get stuck in the drains.

thebishopofarcana
thebishopofarcana
2 months ago
Reply to  JST

JST- already had that issue. Full of water. Car was under warranty and let it dry over the weekend; was fine thank god. Forgot to tell Mercedes that! Clean the drains!

In The Mike Lane
In The Mike Lane
2 months ago

Yes ,absolutely, clean those drains! Don’t know about other brands/models and sunroofs, but BMWs of age do seem to have a clogging issue.

Vgonman
Vgonman
2 months ago

The VW Panoramic sunroofs have the same issue. Thankfully VW didn’t put any electronics in the spare tire well! The thing with the VWs was that not only would the drains get clogged, but VW put the absolute minimum of sealant at the drain connections. When I found a lake in my dad’s (now my) ’09 Jetta wagon’s spare tire well, I cleaned the drains, cut off the ends of the drain “nipples” (where debris loved to gather) and siliconed all the drain connections. That was 6 or 7 years ago, and I haven’t had an issue with them since.

tacotruckdave
tacotruckdave
2 months ago

I wonder if you can and if anyone ever has bought the rights to a pretty car like this, retooled it without all the technical problems replaced the crappy bits and rolled out a new reliable cheaper car?

GranulatedMiscarriage
GranulatedMiscarriage
2 months ago
Reply to  tacotruckdave

They should still un-round the headlights. The butt can stay (on the wagon only).

Larry C
Larry C
2 months ago
Reply to  tacotruckdave

The TSX Sport Wagon

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
2 months ago
Reply to  tacotruckdave

I wonder if you can and if anyone ever has bought the rights to a pretty car like this, retooled it without all the technical problems replaced the crappy bits and rolled out a new reliable cheaper car?

I’ve long dreamed of a Chinese factory, gleefully cranking out long nosed 911 clones by the millions.

TravisIsMarkoff8585
TravisIsMarkoff8585
2 months ago

I had never been in one until I test drove the one I bought after shopping for about a year, but the only way to describe what it felt like to drive was “So this is what they’re supposed to feel like”. Almost every element of the car was just better than anything I had driven prior, down to the buttons and dials.

fogdog
fogdog
2 months ago

David,

Thomas is not a bad influence. These BMWs are all really good cars imagined when BMW was still the ultimate driving machine. Even the i3 seems to have been designed with the driver in mind. Mercedes’s wagons both sport the BMW inline-6: this is the engine you want in your ICE BMW. They also predate the change to full-electric steering (although I don’t know much about the fancy system on Mercedes newest BMW), which so far has ruined almost all BMWs for me. Now if Thomas pushes you to pickup some F30 BMWs, that would be a problem.

Now she needs to get an E46 version that are much sportier than these luxo-barges (wagons).

Mercedes,

I can’t remember which year BMW added buttons to the iDrive – if it is the later one with multiple buttons you will get used to it quickly. I never warmed up to the earlier one that only had one separate button. And you should check to see if the car has voice command – I remember this vintage of my E90s had really good voice commands that relieved a lot of iDrive frustration – especially with selecting radio stations. Although, once they added the buttons to the iDrive I didn’t need the voice controls any more.

ProfPlum
ProfPlum
2 months ago

I love seeing the E39 and E61! I had a 1999 E39 (528iT) I bought used that was the same color as yours, the only difference was it had the sport package. Sadly, it was totaled by an inattentive driver (who smashed the rear hatch and bent the frame.)

Many people won’t touch a used BMW, but if it has good service records and the PM has been done, that’s half the battle. Unfortunately, if you can find one around here, the E61s are either overpriced or hot garbage; it looks like you got a great one!

campfire
campfire
2 months ago

The third picture shows the E39 in front of a white J10 with a Michigan plate (just one plate, because Michigan is weirder than most states).

Did we miss some cool DT collaboration here?

VicVinegar
VicVinegar
2 months ago
Reply to  campfire

Think it was likely the DT “moving day” party, which was covered.

nemebean
nemebean
2 months ago

“Annoyingly, I couldn’t transfer the car to Sheryl.”

I realize I’m completely missing the point of the article, but why do you need to transfer the title to Sheryl? Aren’t you married now? Who cares which of your names the title is in? Maybe this is obvious to people who have actually been married, but I thought once you got married all of your stuff becomes jointly owned, which is (one reason) why divorces can get messy.

BigThingsComin
BigThingsComin
2 months ago

Wow, that is shitty.

SherylLovesMercedes
SherylLovesMercedes
2 months ago
Reply to  BigThingsComin

It was this case.

https://abovethelaw.com/2022/04/anti-trans-discrimination-violates-legal-ethics-rules/

And yes, there was a bit of a kerfuffle that I was driving cars that “reflected badly on the legal profession.” Just some of the retaliation. One reason I love driving aa 22-year-old BMW is that as a bit of a car enthusiast myself who is neither rich enough nor inclined to drive a modern luxury car, I adore malicious compliance.

Day One Dave
Day One Dave
2 months ago

Malicious Compliance was my high school band’s name…

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
2 months ago

And yes, there was a bit of a kerfuffle that I was driving cars that “reflected badly on the legal profession.”

Wait! What?

stevegolf
stevegolf
2 months ago

Thats insane that they’d complain about the car you drive.

redfoxiii
redfoxiii
2 months ago

I wish you all the luck in the world but you have now exited the “a reasonable person can work on it” era of BMW cars. You are formally in the “I finished the work, now to program it and hope it the car still functions” era.

People love E60’s but boy, they do love to break, and to do it expensively.

Sklooner
Sklooner
2 months ago

I was excited to see an 04 530 manual locally for 3000, sadly a sedan and it is a wreck, literally been written off and is for parts

Day One Dave
Day One Dave
2 months ago
Reply to  Sklooner

Manual transmission swap for Mercedes’ wagon!

Thad
Thad
2 months ago

Mercedes, could you please stop making me so envious? 😉

Vanillasludge
Vanillasludge
2 months ago

There’s no such thing as a “cheap BMW”. Brace for impact.

richardodn
richardodn
2 months ago
Reply to  Vanillasludge

I keep hearing this, but it really doesn’t match with my experience. I say this as someone who has owned
1986 528e
1989 325ix
1998 328i convertible
2008 X3 3.0si
2012 X3 35ix
2020 440ix convertible

Used part availability is good. New part availability is excellent and reasonable priced. Community support is one of the best out there. I suppose if you are forced to pay dealer shop rates for all your work, then I’m certain things can get expensive. However that’s true for any make.

v10omous
v10omous
2 months ago
Reply to  richardodn

I submit that as someone who has owned that many BMWs, you may not have the same idea of “reasonable” parts costs as many of the rest of us.

richardodn
richardodn
2 months ago
Reply to  v10omous

You’d be wrong. I was born and raised on American iron and have worked on many different makes and models over the years. You just need to know where to shop. The ones I find stupid expensive are VAG products.

GarageBoy
GarageBoy
2 months ago
Reply to  richardodn

As a MK5 VW owner, what expensive parts will I have to brace myself for? The most expensive thing so far has been replacing a $600 throttle body for the 2.5

Rollin Hand
Rollin Hand
2 months ago
Reply to  v10omous

When I was researching before I bought my 540i6, I sorted out that parts cost about 10 percent more than they did for my SVT Contour.

The problem was that the BMW needed so damn many parts!

SAABstory
SAABstory
2 months ago

Fully expecting Torch’s Isetta article soon, followed by Adrian’s M1 piece.

That said, I went in preferring the older wagon, but the interior and everything else made me reconsider.

v10omous
v10omous
2 months ago

Last one on staff who hasn’t bought a cheap BMW in 2023 is a……well probably a wise consumer actually.

newbalanceextrawide
newbalanceextrawide
2 months ago

Considering how I paid nearly $7000 for my ex-rental hatchback with dents on every panel mid-pandemic, this seems like a steal. I don’t even like BMWs, particularly, but well done.

Steve O 1981
Steve O 1981
2 months ago

In a past life, oh 18 years ago or so, i very briefly sold BMW’s. The E60 was fairly new at the time and I remember the very mixed opinions on them from customers. I started indifferent, but as I looked at them more every day, I came to really appreciate the design. (I think the hardest thing for detractors of the design is that most previous BMW models had a character line that ran through the door handles, the E60 does not.)
They innovated on the tech side in these things, too. I recall auto-canceling turn signals (that don’t stay in the up or down position), the powered hatch, and iDrive for all it’s faults definitely changed the way infotainment was integrated into modern cars.
Enjoy your new Bimmer!

EXL500
EXL500
2 months ago
Reply to  Steve O 1981

I loved E60 from its introduction, and its radical difference from that which came before it made me love it more; so much I was able to re-evaluate my moribund relationship with my partner and move on to better things. The ex is my BFF and my husband’s, and I still love E60 (pre-facelift sport package please).

Rollin Hand
Rollin Hand
2 months ago
Reply to  Steve O 1981

I was indifferent on them until I saw the facelifted 550i. That was love at first sight.

I could be quite cheerful with a 535i6.

mber
mber
2 months ago

So much tech. So many potential failure points. I’m praying for you.

parsko
parsko
2 months ago

Helllllo Mercedes!!!

First, let me say, welcome to the club. I own a 2006 530 XiT (6mt!).

Few things… This is the first year after they changed the crappy naming convention to match the “equivalent” displacement. Mine is the actual 3.0L NA motor with ~250HP. It’s absolutely brilliant and smooth. Way better than my Cadillac with more power.

Throttle response… you may be hallucinating there. This was my first “throttle by wire” car, and I found about a 0.5second delay in the throttle response. Try it out next time you drive it… steady state speed and throttle, stab the throttle to the floor as fast as you can then let off. The car won’t respond. This was a big deal to me when I first drove it, but have gotten over it since it’s a family car, not a track car.

Tailgate… you just need to add oil. It’s a few hour job, and a tad bit of a pain in the ass. The pump is on the driver side in the wagon, just in front and behind that removable panel back there. It’s a VERY reasonable job that only cost the price of the oil (DP25?? or something you can get at NAPA) and a few hours. Should solve your problem 100%.

It’s an otherwise AMAZING car you will be able to drive for nearly infinite more miles. Also, mine is nearly exactly the same miles.

Stuff I’ve replaced: water pump, rear suspension air pump, rear suspension valve?, center driveshaft bearing, both front wheel bearings, front suspension, oil manifold gasket thingy, radiator, VANOS are both DUE NOW, and rear suspension and brakes need to be replaced. It’s an amazing car to work on, with the sole exception being the stupid fucking flat panels that cover the bottom of the car. I know why they are there, but they make every under car job HORRIBLY more horrible.

Enjoy it, the Bishop has done you another favor, and you need to reward him in kind. I would suggest the largest bottle of Vodka, and 6 gram blunt, or the largest Carvel ice cream cake you can find.

-Parsko

thebishopofarcana
thebishopofarcana
2 months ago
Reply to  parsko

Paramo- that fluid is full- I refilled it myself. Likely the tailgate wiring since the rear wiper is also acting odd and the washer not always working (wiring already fixed once). As Mercedes said, both myself and my mechanic have had twelve years of this and time to move on. I still love the car!

parsko
parsko
2 months ago

I have the EXACT same problem on mine. You can thank BMW for using their “organic wire insulation” over those year. My goal this summer is to pull the gate off and rewire it. I just need about a month of time to get it done, which is the hard part, time.

ALSO, mine does not latch (that last tiny bit of closing routine where it pulls the gate into the seals). As such, we have to slam it closed when it hits 80% closed.

GranulatedMiscarriage
GranulatedMiscarriage
2 months ago

They’ve been buggy for twelve years and no one has solved the issue? That’s crazy!

thebishopofarcana
thebishopofarcana
2 months ago
Reply to  parsko

Parsko- the $3000 did not include the excellent free legal advice from Sheryl ( parents aren’t dead by the way, but both dementia at the same time). Also pain and suffering for selling Mercedes an unregisterable car (the e39).

Glad she likes both of them! Most potential buyers saw a BMW with an illuminated check engine light and walked away or offered pocket change.

Javier Jimenez
Javier Jimenez
2 months ago
Reply to  parsko

Stuff I’ve replaced: water pump, rear suspension air pump, rear suspension valve?, center driveshaft bearing, both front wheel bearings, front suspension, oil manifold gasket thingy, radiator, VANOS are both DUE NOW, and rear suspension and brakes need to be replaced. It’s an amazing car to work on, with the sole exception being the stupid fucking flat panels that cover the bottom of the car. I know why they are there, but they make every under car job HORRIBLY more horrible.

Yup, seem perfectly reasonable and not at all ridiculous for any car…yup…uh huh.

– A fellow BMW masochist

JC_06Z33
JC_06Z33
2 months ago
Reply to  Javier Jimenez

Mr. Jimenez has replaced a water pump, rear suspension air pump, rear suspension valve, center driveshaft bearing, two front wheel bearings, front suspension, oil manifold gasket thingy, and radiator more on his one car than I did in my two Mazdas of the same era that I took from around 90k to 160k before selling. The extent of my maintenance between the two cars was brake rotors and fluids.

BWM masochists, indeed! But, that wagon sure is lovely. I always liked the Bangle 5-series.

The Bishop
The Bishop
2 months ago
Reply to  Javier Jimenez

Javier- I appreciate this comment. I keep looking at these pics of my old car and getting buyer’s remorse on getting rid of it, only to see about six things (rear air suspension, driveshaft, radiator, VANOS, wheel bearings, front bushings) that I have NOT had done to it yet. Now I feel a little better. By the way, those panels of which you speak ripped off of my car in the snow (attachment points ripped) and had to be replaced for like $1000.

Still, very sad to see it go.

Day One Dave
Day One Dave
2 months ago
Reply to  parsko

On E91 wagons, the wiring harness going from the body to the tailgate flexes and over time breaks. I don’t know if the E61 is similar, but could be a thing. Easy fix, just find the broken wires by pulling on them and splice in some silicon wire where it bends.

And as mentioned, the glass should pop up and give you access to the cargo area without opening the entire hatch… that’s BMW’s best feature!!!

eddyboi
eddyboi
2 months ago

Man. I absolutely do not like BMWs as they tend to be large money pits, but as cheap as this one is, just drive the thing until something major happens. Maybe you’ll get a few years out of it. Out of curiosity, how many cars do you and your wife own and- is she also a gear head?

SherylLovesMercedes
SherylLovesMercedes
2 months ago
Reply to  eddyboi

Mercy has forgotten more about cars than I’ll ever know (she’s as brilliant as she is beautiful), but I do know my way around pretty much any 1990s GM H-body with a 3800 or L67. One day I will get my hands on clean Impala SS or SSEi Bonneville or my true holy grail, an Oldsmobile LSS (the model, not the trim level, that they only made for like two model years in 1997 and 98).

eddyboi
eddyboi
2 months ago

That’s pretty cool! If I were to get a car with a 3800 it would have to be a 1990’s era Buick Lesabre. My Grandmother had one. It NEVER had a problem. In fact there’s a guy on Youtube called the Car Wizard and that is one his highly recommended vehicles. They are one of the few American cars that will hold up just as well as a Toyota.

SherylLovesMercedes
SherylLovesMercedes
2 months ago
Reply to  eddyboi

My first ever car was an SLE Bonnie with the NA 3800 that I had all through college and law school. The car rusted to the ground, the headliner failed, the ignition cylinder locked up with the key inside, the shift linkage broke, and thieves stole it and brought it back, but still that 3800 kept chugging along. The odometer failed at 299,999 miles. I traded LSAT lessons for lessons on how to do the maintenance myself because I was broke AF, but that was when I fell in love with great 6-cylinder engines generally and the 3800 H-bodies specifically. All my favorite cars are because of their great 6-cylinders: the 3800, the sixth and seventh generation Maxima (and contemporary Z) with the VQ35, the B9 Tribeca with the H6 Boxer; the new CT4-V Blackwing with the twin turbo V6; and of course my new E39 with the 2.5 liter straight six. You can keep your fancy eight cylinder noises; I want my great sixes lol.

eddyboi
eddyboi
2 months ago

I grew up in a family that drove big ass boats. My Uncle had a 1994 Buick Roadmaster wagon. It was basically a car built on top of a full sized truck frame. And he used it to haul an airstream. Other Uncle had a Cadillac Brougham. The other Grandmother owned a Mercury Grand Marquis.That car had a 5.5 liter engine and would haul ass.

I have such good memories of my Grandmotrher’s Buick. Me and my her would drive to Florida in it. It was a 12 hour drive. Yet it was so comfortable it wasn’t that big a deal. What amazed me was that for such a large car it got rather good fuel economy. Like 25-26MPG. Unfortunately and eventually my Grandmother had to stop driving at the age of 95. She ran into a post at the grocery store. So it sat in the garage for awhile. It started leaking both power steering fluid and refrigerant. The power steering reservoir was in an almost impossible to get at location. The only way I could deal with that was with a ridiculously long, skinny funnel.

She passed away during Covid. I was asked if I wanted the car. But I already own a 1955 Mercury- which is huge- and a 1996 Tacoma I bought new. It needed a lot of work. And this was still in the middle of a pandemic. So it was sold to some high school kid for $1200. I kind of wish I had accepted it. A nice reminder of my Grandmother

Lr0dy
Lr0dy
2 months ago

What year was that SLE Bonneville? Because I know the ignition cylinder issue was happening at least as early as 2003, and definitely as late as 2010 model years – my ex had a 2010 Cobalt that it happened on, and I had an ’07 ION that it happened on twice.

Had to go to the state attorney general to get GM to pay for her repair, because they claimed it was a different “fixed” part number which is why her car didn’t fall under the limited recall they did. Of course, all GM had done was change the number on the existing part without actually changing any of the internals, which is why it kept happening on my supposedly updated cylinder.

Torque
Torque
2 months ago

Ha so Sheryl IS a car person too! (your posts above prove it) 🙂

Brake_L8
Brake_L8
2 months ago

Sheryl! Two of my friends actually bought an LSS for an Out Motorsports rallycross we put together in 2020, although it was a ’96 Eighty-Eight LSS and not a “legit” 97 or 98. Loretta was a trooper though. She went to someone who is still local and needed a solid daily driver, I believe she is still kicking. But she took two days of dirt racing with no complaints: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LYamGZM1sso

SherylLovesMercedes
SherylLovesMercedes
2 months ago
Reply to  Brake_L8

This is FANTASTIC. I love this so much. I happen to think those H-bodies are really underrated off-roaders, partly because my old Bonnie did just fine around the farm where I grew up. Pickup or tractor not available? Bonnie trunk will hold LOTS of hay and she had plenty of power to get through mud.

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