BMW 535i 7-Years of Ownership Review

Discussion in '5 Series' started by Peter, Sep 14, 2019.

  1. Peter
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    Peter WARLORD Site Supporter

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    Background

    Much of the buying experience, initial impressions and running history has been the subject of topics along the way. We lost some of the topics due to the original BMWLand closing and the same issue with losing backup data for BMWLander. If anyone is interested, and wants to read the old postings, I can repost the key reviews as I have them on file.

    This report is picking up from review material already on this forum, for the 535i, “F11 535i Review (Re-posted)” at 6-years old. Now over 8-years old, 7-years in my ownership and recording 57,520 miles.

    General comment

    The 535i still continues to reward, my wife’s original comment stating “it would be a keeper” hasn’t been a problem at all. In fact, it is still hard to see where to go next time, without requiring to spend a lot of money.

    535i Glen View (800x576).jpg

    Day to day running


    The car drives well, engine is running sweetly, gearbox still silky smooth. Drives straight, surefooted, hasn’t required any alignment, tyres are wearing evenly, typical BMW wear patterns. Economy is still holding about 30.4mpg long term. Car still feels tight to drive, no rattles.

    Niggles and Reliability

    My biggest concerns are its continued niggles on the reliability front. True it hasn’t completely let me down out in the ‘wild’, but since the last full review, I did have a suspension failure, while out, and had to have the car recovered to Inverness. Turned out the compressor had likely frozen and blew a fuse. As the car dropped a bit, it threw a suspension system warning and not to drive. I did drive a couple of miles to my mother’s home, had somewhere to wait while BMW ES sorted out the recovery, following a lot of hassle, I got a hire car after waiting about 4 hours. I could have walked to the depot in 20 minutes, had I known where it was being hired from. These are the ‘bad taste’ issues I have running a BMW up here, BMW ES is still slow to get on the right track for hire cars.

    In the previous review period I had one failing air spring replaced, not surprising the second had to be done, also under warranty.

    F11 OS Air Spring.jpg

    I’ve had a second vapour barrier fail, this time the driver’s door. Like the first, sorted it myself. I’ve come to the conclusion that hot sunny days on the cars, soften the bonding and any tension in the barrier causes the failure.

    I still have a sluggish driver’s door lock, the one that didn’t show a failure at the dealer. A constant reminder that ‘niggles’ and improper function can remain in a car, even with a warranty in place.

    Maintenance and Warranty

    Running with the expensive Adaptive Drive suspension option, I’ve expected some sort of failure. Sure enough, a damper failed, developed a leak. At least the warranty covered a replacement ‘pair’ of rear dampers, due to mileage being over 80,000km.

    New VDC Damper 800.jpg

    This period of maintenance has been outside the 5-year Service Pack, included with the car when I purchased it. I’ve recently had the ‘big one’, including spark plugs. I fitted new front brakes ahead of the MOT in 2017, disc corrosion being the reason, rather than worn out at 41k miles. The pads had about 9mm of material left. Just replaced the rear brakes at 57k miles. Same reason, disc face corrosion, iDrive was indicating another 9k miles, which would have been about right for pad replacement.

    Rusty Rear Disc 800.JPG

    I’ve also stripped down the front brakes this week, cleaned up the discs and all caliper parts. Hope this will extend their life.

    Tyre wear is reasonable, I’m currently at about 4mm on my second set of summer tyres. Winter tyres have about 5mm of tread, next winter will be the last winter on them. Noticed a bit of tyre whine developing, before removing last spring. Performance is falling off on snow, as we’d expect, don’t cope so well on standing water. Then that’s the same for summer tyres, once below about 5mm, easy to aquaplane on the standing water we often have up here.

    I’m still on the original battery at over 8-years old, will be interesting to see if it copes with another winter. I use a CTEK smart charger to keep it at a higher state of charge (SoC) than it would have, relying solely on BMW energy management. I find with the lower mileage use, the SoC can drop below the 70 – 80% threshold for the Intelligent alternator control IGR to stay in the low state phase. Running a voltmeter in a socket shows the charge state while running, (indicated by the voltage range and fluctuations), shows SoC slowly drops with my typical driving profile.

    With the brake corrosion and battery SoC, there is a bit of a conflict on how I slow down. Work the brakes or get maximum energy harvesting to the battery.

    Currently the side cameras are showing a system failure. Both are working, but the O/S camera is not reproducing a clear image, looks misty, same failure as the original O/S camera.

    Running costs

    Costs are still relatively high on a pence per mile basis. The last two years has been about 83ppm. (Average over 7-years of ownership has been 98ppm). Last 2-years has cost around £3,500 in repairs and servicing, (includes the extended warranty).

    I know we can play with figures, but total costs for running the car until today, all in, (except trade-in value) is almost £50,500 making it 98ppm over my ownership. There is no way to hide that with man maths.

    The Future

    The intention is to run the 535i through the winter, and into the spring, hopefully without much additional cost, then re-evaluate options for the next car. Have until July with extended warranty cover, MOT, VED, etc..

    I still think the 535i is going to be a hard act to follow, with anything less than a G31 540i.

    Thanks for reading.

    Peter
     
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  2. Kev2005
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    Kev2005 WARLORD Site Supporter Good Egg

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    Maybe the new 3 series would be a contender also if you don't need as bigger car next time round?

    Which ctek charger do you use and does it also tell you how low the battery is and then give you the option to charge it or does it just simply charge it as soon as you connect it up?

    Kev
     
  3. Peter
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    Peter WARLORD Site Supporter

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    I will look at the G20/21 M340i and also the F40 M135i, yes a small hatch.

    I use the CTEK MXS 5.0 in AGM mode. No specific SoC indicator, but it does goes through a bulk charge phase to ~80%, before the next absorption phase to 100%. This helps give me a clue to SoC, as the bulk charge phase can vary from a few minutes to about 90 mins, indicating battery is falling below the normal SoC used by the energy management and intelligent alternator control.

    Peter
     
  4. Verbarthe
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    Verbarthe WARLORD Site Supporter

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    Excellent write up and very informative, good to hear the car continues to please .
     
  5. Spuffington
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    Spuffington Moderator WARLORD Site Supporter

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    Always enjoy your writeups Peter, thanks for taking the time to put the proverbial pen to paper.

    Can't quite agree with this calculation as it is a little skewed. I know it's impossible to know what final depreciation is until it's sold, but you can get a fairly good idea of what it's worth whether being WBAC or equivalents in the classifieds to give you a truer reflection of what that residual value figure is which can then be netted off the total spend. I'm taking it that your calculations to date have been based upon full write-off of the intial purchase price?
     
  6. Peter
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    Peter WARLORD Site Supporter

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    Hi Duncan.

    Perhaps I've not phrased it too well. I have included the approximate trade-in from what WBAC have offered (over £9k) this past few weeks. A total write off, (without the estimated trade-in value of ~£9k), the costs are almost £59,500 over my ownership.

    Peter
     
  7. Spuffington
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    Spuffington Moderator WARLORD Site Supporter

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    Ah, that makes sense. I thought it was unusual for you not to count all of the components. Makes sense, Peter. Thanks for the explanation. (y)
     
  8. Mieke
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    Mieke WARLORD Site Supporter

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    Interesting read, Peter. £59+K sounds steep, but maybe not too bad over 7 years. That's one reason that I never do an accurate calculation on car running costs - it would detract from the pleasure of driving it. :whistle:

    It's always difficult to decide on when to change. To go to a newer model will obviously cost as you'll be at the top of depreciation curve again. If you still enjoy driving the 535i, might it be worth keeping and spending a bit to get it in tip-top condition again?

    As I don't use my 330d on a daily basis, I also use a CTEK charger to top the battery up. I use a conditioner (Optimate) on my motorcycle batteries and they last over 10 years. That's also not using the bike over the winter months.
     
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  9. Peter
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    Peter WARLORD Site Supporter

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    I like to know the true costs, it doesn't make for good reading, but is what it is. I always come back to cost per mile, as a reality check. The E91 330d wasn't much lower over 6+ years. Unless we drive more miles per year, hard to bring down the ppm. Higher mileage use will be less ppm, but total costs are more per year.

    Easy to spend between £6 - 8,000 per year running a reasonable BMW.

    Peter
     
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  10. mach one
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    mach one WARLORD Site Supporter

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    l hope my missus doesn't see this :LOL::LOL:
     
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  11. Mieke
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    Mieke WARLORD Site Supporter

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    You've got me at it now. :rolleyes:

    I reckon my 330d has cost me £23,141 over the past 4 years, or 72p / mile.
    So based on 7 years pro rata, that would be £40,500, but in reality would be lower as the depreciation in the next 3 years would be considerably less.
    That's why my philosophy of keeping a decent car long term makes sense. Once you get past the first 3 or 4 years, it becomes more economical. That's my theory, anyway.

    That's the first time that I've done that calc and I don't want to do it again, but it's only money. :whistle:
     
  12. Peter
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    Peter WARLORD Site Supporter

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    I've looked at the total running costs of my E91 330d, over 75 months of ownership. If fact it was more expensive than running the 535i per month. 535i has been around £600 per month, over the 7-years, 330d was around £690 per month. Both have worked out at ~98pmm (within 0.5ppm) over the ownership periods.

    Main difference for the higher monthly costs being the 330d was new, with a high depreciation hit. A big chunk of the 535i's depreciation was already written off at purchase. Looking at it positively, the 535i has been "cheaper motoring", when you consider it is much more car, for the money, than the 330d. (y)

    Peter
     
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  13. 535i MSport
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    535i MSport

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    My 535i lost £30k in depreciation alone, during my 3 years and 36k miles.

    I definitely wouldn’t want to know the all in costs. Mind you, buying it new and ticking lots of options, will have played a big part...


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     

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