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I've recently acquired an E61 530d Touring (2008) - it's a great car - comfy, front electric seats - powerful 3-litre diesel engine - unlike the first reviewer, I went for a manual gearbox as the auto is more akin to a binge drinker. It still isn't frugal, but that's the price of a performance car. You can get 42mpg if you are careful, though thrash the car and it will punish you at the pumps. The way petrol prices are rising in the UK, and the way the current ConDem (Conservative-LibDem) government are hitting the motorist, it's best to open an account with Total or get your hands on a fuel card. £70 to fill the tank, the car prefers long motorway runs, if you want a city runabout, get a BMW 116d. I too have run-flat tyres, they're as stable as Katie Price, but lack of a spare means I'm stuck with them. The iDrive system takes some getting used to, it's easier to open a safe at your local Nationwide than to put in a radio station. The most recent 5-series (F10) has ironed out the annoying aspects of iDrive. The car will warn you of any fault (especially with these damn run-flats), and you'll get used to the car's dimensions (surprised I didn't need a bus licence what with its huge size). The car looks great, and comes with some nice alloys. The MSport is the one to go for, and the 535d is so quick with over 300bhp. The 530d has 235bhp and a top speed of 152 mph. The 6-cylinder engine is a peach. The BMW's only achilles heel is the Swirl Flaps - have these taken out by a BMW specialist - as these are known to work loose from the manifold and make their way into the engine, leading to a costly rebuild or replacement. These are less common on the newer engines, but the first ones from the 53 plate (2003-2007) were more likely to suffer this fault with higher mileage. PMW Chelmsford will take care of your Swirl Flap issue, and look at www.bmwland.co.uk for more info on Swirl Flaps. It's a great investment, despite that issue with the swirl-flaps, goes like the clappers, has the badge kudos and a good example can be bought from about £8k upwards. Insurance is a little costly for a 3-litre diesel, road tax is £115 for 6 months, sometimes I feel like West Ham United's senior accountant, wondering where the money will come from, to keep my head above water... :)
I have an 04 BMW 530d auto and I like it but the running costs are so high I won't keep it. Driving Yes it's a 5 series so road handling is good especially on bends even at fairly high speed. It does feel as though it is glued to the road. Vision is good all the way around I am a small female and I find reverse and parallel parking so easy with or without the parking sensors on. Parking front end first is not so easy as this car is wide and long. For its size the turning circle is good. Brakes are really good although my husband who has an M-Series finds them a bit sharp but I like knowing that they are reactive. Accelaration is as hard or soft as you want it to be although being automatic there is a split second delay before it responds. I found that very irritating at first but now a year later I am used to it. If you accelerate hard you can see the results instantly, watch the petrol gauge needle drop. If you can keep your speed constant at 65-70mph (I use cruise control as much as possible) you can get 35mpg but if you are driving either short or town journeys that will bring your consumption down to a costly 24mpg. I am still a fan of manual gears although BMW automatic gearboxes must be one of the best available, so smooth. Although it is not cheap the comfort level is high. The heated leather seats not only have many positions as you would expect from this class of vehicle but also have an extension that pulls out to the front to support long legs or if you are reasonably short as I am (5ft 3ins) you can rest your legs on. I also have a heated steering wheel and this Winter it certainly was worth every penny. My friends watch my front demister in awe because in 3-4 seconds that windscreen is clear. I thought I was imagining it the first time I watched it but it does clear the windscreen that fast. I find the heating system is average but the air conditioning is good. One of my favourite things is the panoramic sun roof it is huge! The other great thing is the boot space. Put the rear seats down and you have a very large space to fill. The computer system that controls all the warning systems, music, sat nav ect covers almost anything you can imagine the car could have but it sometimes can be a little irritating. It will tell you that there is a flat tyre when you lost hardly any pressure. Now I am going to tell you about the things I really hate about this car. It only uses run flat tyres which are always getting punctures and they are very expensive to replace. Yes you can drive them for a little way as long as you keep the speed under 50mph but I have never gone through so many tyres! I know it's a diesel but the engine is loud and for a car of this class I think BMW should have done better. My wing mirror got smashed and just to replace the glass cost £180, disgusting. I have driven many different cars during the last 20 years. If price is not a consideration buy Bentley , Aston Martin or Maserati if you want value for money in the luxury range go for Audi or Lexus. In the middle range go for VW, Vauxhall, Mazda, Ford or Toyota. At the cheaper end go for Peugeot or Nissan. Would I buy one again? No I would buy an Audi A6, quieter,more fuel efficient and cheaper tyres!