Best BMW forum?


Well-Known Member
Mar 28, 2015
Southern Ohio, USA
2019 Mazda6 Sport, 2002 Subaru WRX, 1961 Morgan
Being a bit lazy here.

For some time, I've been thinking about thinning the current herd of wheeled critters hanging around my property. I've been considering buying another BMW, but I don't have a lot of experience with the newer ones. (I've only owned three 2002s, all of which were sold long ago...) This latest BMW would be a daily driver, but probably wouldn't see any snow/salt. A 3-series would be OK, but I think a "5" might be better. I'd probably buy a sedan, but a wagon might be nice. The year isn't that important, and yes, I'm well aware of the upkeep costs on older German cars.

So, what I'd like to do is sign up on a "good" BMW forum. I'm more interested in facts than wanna-bees dreaming of wild mods. So, are any of you regulars on a BMW forum that's actually useful?

And, if you have any suggestions for a model I might like, here's what I'm looking for:
  1. I'll be willing to travel and pay for a well-kept, lower mileage example.
  2. Less electronics is better. I don't like most nanny-equipment.
  3. I don't want or need bluetooth, navigation, back-up cameras, etc.
  4. Buzzers and beepers must be easily disconnected.
  5. It really should be an automatic, but I might consider the 'right' manual.
  6. Fuel mileage should be 'reasonable' - remember, I'm looking for a daily driver, not a toy (I already have too many of those!)

As always, all opinions are appreciated!
It’s been a while since I’ve been in the BMW game, so I’m out of the loop on forums. Bimmer Forums was my resource back in the day though.

From the sound of it, an E34 or E39 5er wagon should fit the bill. Year range would be 1988-2002/3. The sixes in those should be what you’re looking for, although fuel economy isn’t exactly stellar. Expect high teens and low twenties in the city on premium. IIRC, auto gearboxes in those are common ZF models. The later ones should be 5HP24s.

Per usual, plastic cooling systems are the mechanical weakpoints. Watch for rust too.

If you’re deadset on a wagon, I’d keep an eye out on Bring A Trailer. Not sure what your budget is, but I’d expect to spend $10k for a cherry example.
Newer ones in North America are far lower quality than they used to be, break far more often and are the poster children for "$500 minimum maintenance cost per quarter once out of warranty" cars. One of FG's members that recently leased a new 1-series had the interior start coming apart within a month.

When I've had a BMW in the past, I found, the Roadfly BMW sub forum and Bimmerworld to be useful.
The right manual would probably be an E46 330i ZHP. it carries a premium over the standard E46 but it's the "sporty" version and should be relatively easy (if unsurprisingly expensive) to maintain. Der Stig's BMW was a non ZHP 330, he could tell you what to expect.

Barring that, a lot of people on the forum have had E34s and seem to be pleased with them so that is also an option.
I'd skip the Nikasil infested E39. The last 'reliable' 5er in my opinion was the E34.

M52 (straight six) got steel liners for the facelift (98- ). It's a brilliant engine, as is e39 as a cruiser. If there's motorway driving involved in DD use I would recommend a 5er over 3er. I've had one and while it's not really my thing I can't deny its good points.

And to add to the what to look for in an example, from e34 onwards all 5-series are quite picky with condition of suspension bushing. Small vibrations will surface quite easily.
The North American experience with the E39 is... considerably different... than what has been seen in Europe. We got bit by the Nikasil problem a lot more than Europe did simply because of the sourcing and formulation of the fuels here, but Nikasil wasn't the only problem the E39s had.

But don't take my word for it.

It WILL break. It WILL be expensive … and its really just not worth it. I had a 1991 Alfa Romeo 164L (and this is no exaggeration)…. it was much more reliable.
Yeah, I'm aware of European cars breaking on the way across the pond. @SquareLeft seem to have acknowledged this as well, which is why I'm just adding some technical details. And most trouble I had with my e39 were accessory related, which he is trying to minimise anyway. 530i is the model to go for anyway in a case of e39 (or 330i as e46), V8s have no place in a BMW. :mrgreen:
So if I buy an E38, it needs to be a V12, got it.
Very much so. It's only natural. :mrgreen: (I would though, despite having several BMW club friends with their constant reporting of some "service" needs)