The 530i manages to do almost everything well. It's a fun-to-drive sports sedan with punchy performance and crisp handling, yet it's as quiet, comfortable and refined as we expect a luxury car to be. This version of the 5 Series was the highest scoring vehicle we'd ever tested at that time, and many of our testers remembered it fondly for years after we sold it.
Alerts
There are 7 recalls on this vehicle. Learn More.

Road Test Results

Performance
Acceleration Acceleration Acceleration tests are conducted on a smooth, flat pavement straightaway at the track. Time, speed, and distance measurements are taken with a precise GPS-based device that’s hooked to a data-logging computer.
0 to 60 mph 0 to 60 mph (sec.) The time in seconds that a vehicle takes to reach 60 mph from a standstill with the engine idling.
Transmission Transmission Transmission performance is determined by shifting smoothness, response, shifter action, and clutch actuation for manual transmissions.
Fuel Economy Fuel Economy We perform our own fuel-economy tests, independent of the government's often-quoted EPA figures and the manufacturers' claims. Using a precise fuel-flow measuring device spliced into the fuel line, we run two separate circuits to represent city and highway consumption.
CR's Overall Mileage CR's Overall Mileage CR's overall mileage is a composite of measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course and highway cruising; and CR's 150-mile test trip of mixed driving, if tested. In recent road tests, we've discontinued the 150-mile trip test.
CR's City Mileage CR's City Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course.
CR's Highway Mileage CR's Highway Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed highway cruising.
Annual Fuel Cost Annual Fuel Cost The cost and amount of fuel used in 12,000 miles and is calculated from CR's overall mileage.
Braking Braking The braking rating is a composite of wet and dry stopping distances and pedal feel. Braking distance is from 60 mph, with no wheels locked.
Emergency Handling Emergency Handling Several factors go into the rating, including the avoidance maneuver speed and confidence, as well as how the vehicle behaves when pushed to its limit,
Comfort / Convenience
Ride Ride Our expert judgment of how well the suspension isolates and absorbs road imperfections and how steady it keeps the body on various road surfaces.
Noise Noise Our expert judgment of the vehicle's interior noise level in everyday driving.
Front Seat Comfort Front Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the front seat is for drivers of various heights.
Rear Seat Comfort Rear Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the rear seat is for two passengers to sit across.
Interior Fit and Finish Interior Fit and Finish An expert evaluation of the interior quality and craftsmanship.
Trunk/Cargo Area Trunk/Cargo Area Our rating is based on the amount of luggage or cargo space that a vehicle has in the trunk or cargo area.

Owner Reports

Worse Better
Reliability History Reliability History The reliability charts are based on responses on hundreds of thousands of vehicles from our latest Annual Auto Survey. Consumer Reports subscribers reported on any serious problems they had with their vehicles during the past 12 months that they considered serious because of cost, failure, safety, or downtime, in any of the trouble spots included in the table below. The results are presented relative to the average model that year. Extra weight is given to the more serious areas such as major engine or transmission problems. Based on this data and further analysis, we predict reliability for the latest year. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
2000
NA
2001
NA
2002
2003
2004
NA
2005
NA
2006
NA
2007
2008
2009
NA
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
Reliability Trouble Spots
Engine Major Engine Major Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.
NA
Engine Minor Engine Minor Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.
NA
Engine Cooling Engine Cooling Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.
NA
Transmission Major Transmission Major Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.
NA
Owner Satisfaction Owner Satisfaction To learn about satisfaction, CR has collected survey data from our annual survey on more than half a million vehicles. Our subscribers provide great insights into their satisfaction by answering one simple question: If they had it to do all over again, would they definitely buy or lease the same model? In addition, respondents also rate their cars in six categories: driving experience, comfort, value, styling, audio, and climate systems. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
NA
2005
NA
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
Driving Experience Driving Experience Includes acceleration and handling
Comfort Comfort Includes seats, climate control, noise, and ride
Value Value Did you get what you wanted relative to the price you paid?
Styling Styling How it looks inside and out
Safety Equipment
ABS standard. Side air bags standard in front, available in rear from 2000. Head protection air bags and ESC standard from 2000.
Road Test

The 530i manages to do almost everything well. It's a fun-to-drive sports sedan with punchy performance and crisp handling, yet it's as quiet, comfortable and refined as we expect a luxury car to be. This version of the 5 Series was the highest scoring vehicle we'd ever tested at that time, and many of our testers remembered it fondly for years after we sold it.

Seating
2 front, 3 rear
Drive Wheels
Rear
Warranty

In most cases, automotive warranties are based on the vehicle identification number (VIN), and the warranty will be valid regardless of ownership. The dealership can tell you exactly how much warranty is left.

Read more about extended warranties
Body Styles
wagon
sedan
Transmissions Available
  • 5-speed Manual
  • 5-speed Automatic
  • 6-speed Manual
Engines Available
  • 2.5-liter 6 (184 hp)
  • 3-liter 6 (225 hp)
  • 4.4-liter V8 (290 hp)
  • 5-liter V8 (394 hp)

Owner Reported Trouble Spots

The Reliability score is based on our latest subscriber survey of 2002 BMW 5 Series owners. The owner comments describe problems respondents experienced with this vehicle.

Suspension

Shocks or struts, ball joints, tie rods, wheel bearings, alignment, steering linkage (includes rack and pinion), power steering (pumps and hoses, leaks), wheel balance, springs or torsion bars, bushings, electronic or air suspension.

What Owners Say

Alignment

"Probably due to hitting curb"

Robert A., IL (2002 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"This is most likely from pot holes!"

Anonymous, GA (2002 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)
Ball joints

"Recurrent problems, frequent wear out"

Anonymous, MN (2002 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)
Power steering leaks

"I had to replace the power steering assembly"

John L., GA (2002 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"Power steering hose leak"

J B., NY (2002 BMW 5 Series 525i 2.5-L 6 Cyl)

"Car lost some of its feel and control. This was restored with new struts"

Bob A., TN (2002 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"Rear shocks needed replacement"

John G., VA (2002 BMW 5 Series 540i 4.4-L V8)

"normal wear and tear. This was the first time we have ever had to replace the front struts"

John D., CA (2002 BMW 5 Series 525i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"Clunking noise had to replace rack"

Anonymous, GA (2002 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"Had to replace rack and opinion, pump and hoses, all were leaking badly"

Anonymous, FL (2002 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)
Steering wheel vibration

"In spite of repairs to rack and pinion system, rotating tires, balancing tires and wheel alignment, still get some vibration"

Robert A., IL (2002 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

Engine Minor

Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.

What Owners Say

"In October 2016, a pulley seized, thereby causing the fan belt to break, leading in turn to temporary overheating of the engine. Following repair, I experienced some initial difficulty in maintaining proper coolant level in the radiator. However, the problem appears to have resolved itself"

Anonymous, VA (2002 BMW 5 Series 525i 2.5-L 6 Cyl)
Engine knock or ping

"engine would ping during accerlation"

Anonymous, VA (2002 BMW 5 Series 525i Unsure)

"Oil reservoir gasket leak"

Anonymous, VA (2002 BMW 5 Series 525i Unsure)

"Had to replace oil pan seal and valve cover seal"

Anonymous, FL (2002 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"Leaks both into the cylinders and out of the engine to the ground"

Anonymous, FL (2002 BMW 5 Series 540i 5.0-L V8)

"Replaced various Oil Seals on Engine, car dose not smoke but uses a Quart of engine oil in less than 500 miles"

Anonymous, CA (2002 BMW 5 Series 525i 2.5-L 6 Cyl)

"Continuous oil leak. Unsuccessful multiple repairs"

Anonymous, TX (2002 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"there are no oil leaks, but car burns a quart of oil every two or three weeks"

Anonymous, CA (2002 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

Electric System

Alternator, starter, hybrid battery and related systems, regular battery, battery cables, engine harness, coil, ignition switch, electronic ignition, distributor or rotor failure, spark plugs and wires failure.

What Owners Say

Alarm or security system (excluding aftermarket systems)

"false alarms - finally disconnected"

Anonymous, AB (2002 BMW 5 Series 540i 5.0-L V8)

"Pixels on the dashboard display wear out and one cannot read any warnings"

Anonymous, CA (2002 BMW 5 Series 530i Unsure)
Headlights

"Headlight adjustment mechanism was broken. Both headlight assemblies hadto be replaced at a cost of $1700"

Anonymous, NC (2002 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)
Horn

"Horn would honk by itself with no input"

Anonymous, CA (2002 BMW 5 Series M5 5.0-L V8)

"Wiring sub harness in steering wheel referred to as the "clock spring" needed to be replaced"

G W., CA (2002 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)
Warning lights

"LEDs burning out which make warning lights unreliable and often ineffective"

Anonymous, CA (2002 BMW 5 Series 525i 2.5-L 6 Cyl)
Body control module

"Actually, its a malfunction of the sunroof. It will open now but will not go up in the back (it has two positions). Now, I have a rattle and the fix requires the whole interior roof assembly to be taken off to repair - over $1500.00"

Anonymous, WA (2002 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

Transmission Major

Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.

What Owners Say

Torque converter

"The problem was diagnosed about two years ago but I just got around to fixing it. Now the car runs like new"

Anonymous, GA (2002 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"I don't notice the issue, but the SES light is on because of it. Both BMW dealer service and a reputable BMW mechanic said fixing it was not urgent"

Anonymous, GA (2002 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)
Transmission rebuild or replacement

"Transmission needed to be rebuilt at 134000 even though all regular servicing and maintenance was performed on the vehicle"

Ramandeep V., CA (2002 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"Reverse component failure due to factory design problem not covered by warranty"

Anonymous, WA (2002 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"Torque converter failure generated "check engine" light necessitating replacement. Performed total transmission rebuild"

G W., CA (2002 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"Transmission wore out at 250,000miles. I was pleased that it got this far. replaced with a rebuilt unit from private shop. That made it to 88,000miles and it was replaced under warranty"

Michael D., CA (2002 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

Power Equipment

Cruise control, clock, warning lights, body control module, keyless entry, wiper motor or washer, tire pressure monitor, interior or exterior lights, horn, gauges, 12V power plug, remote engine start, alarm or security system

What Owners Say

Alternator

"Alternator dies while in use, replaced"

David W., CA (2002 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"It stopped working and battery would not charge"

Anonymous, OR (2002 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"I purchased my 2002 BMW in Sept 2005; when I went to pick it up the battery was dead. The dealer put a new one in it. I finally replaced it January 2015. I have never had a battery stay in a car that long"

Anonymous, GA (2002 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"The car doesn't start if not driven in a few days. I don't know if it is a battery problem, but the car won't keep a charge in the battery. I have had it serviced, but the problem has not resolved"

Anonymous, CA (2002 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)
Coil

"Engine was chugging. I had to replace all 6 engine coils"

Roman K., CA (2002 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"Two ignition coils went bad. Car was not running on all cylinders are result. Replaced all 6. One year later, two of the new ones went bad (but were under warranty)"

Anonymous, CA (2002 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

Engine Cooling

Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.

What Owners Say

"not sure"

Anonymous, CA (2002 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)
Overheating

"Car overheated during normal driving. Coolant reservoir fill level float was broken. Reservoir was replaced. Water pump was replaced"

Phillip B., CA (2002 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"The aftermarket (non-factory) radiator needed replacement here in Virginia. It was still under warranty so the shop in Texas paid for the replacement radiator"

Anonymous, VA (2002 BMW 5 Series 540i 4.4-L V8)

"I've had to replace two radiators in less than 3 years, plus expansion tank and radiator cap"

Anonymous, NY (2002 BMW 5 Series 540i 5.0-L V8)

"Overflow valve was leaking and had to be replaced"

Roman K., CA (2002 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"needed replacing. also, leaks in the cooling system"

Anonymous, CA (2002 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

Body Integrity

Squeaks, rattles, wind noises, loose or cracked seals and/or weather-stripping, air and water leaks.

What Owners Say

"water accumulating inside door panels"

Pierre B., OR (2002 BMW 5 Series 525i 2.5-L 6 Cyl)

"Back door seals letting water in to the floor of the back seats"

Anonymous, WA (2002 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)
Squeaks or rattles

"squeak in the rear seat--untracable"

Anonymous, CA (2002 BMW 5 Series M5 5.0-L V8)

"Had to replace hydraulic belt tensioner and idler pulley to eliminate noise on cold start"

Richard C., WA (2002 BMW 5 Series 525i 2.5-L 6 Cyl)
Wind noise

"Windshield noise"

Jennifer M., CA (2002 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

Brakes

Antilock system (ABS), parking brake, master cylinder, calipers, rotors, pulsation or vibration, squeaking, brake failure or wear.

What Owners Say

Antilock system (ABS)

"THE DISPLAY SAYS THAT THERE IS A PROBLEM WITH THE ABS/BRAKES. DEALER SAID COST WOULD BE $1700. CAR VALUE IS ONLY $3000. I AM NOT INTERESTED TO FIX IT. NEED NEW CAR SOON"

Erich H., FL (2002 BMW 5 Series 525i 2.5-L 6 Cyl)

"ABS system does not work, cost for repairs is very high. New censors $300 did not work, next cost for new module is estimated at $1800 by BMW dealer"

Robert S., NC (2002 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)
Calipers

"Front calipers frozen partially and wore out rotors and pads, so needed complete ($1700) front brakes just 6000 miles after complete front brake job without caliper replacement"

Anonymous, MN (2002 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"Original repair shop used after-market parts which resulted in rotor warp and squeaking. After 3 subsequent failed attempts to fix the problem, went to the BMW dealer who replaced the front brake pads and rotors, which solved the problem"

Anonymous, VA (2002 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)
Premature brake wear

"The OEM replacement pads wore out after a few thoUSnd mile"

Anonymous, MD (2002 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

Body Hardware

Power or manual windows, locks and latches, tailgate, hatch or trunk, doors or sliding doors, mirrors, seat controls, safety belts, sunroof, convertible top.

What Owners Say

Seat controls - movement

"Control cables from seat motor to seat stretched and broken making replacement mandatory for safety and comfort"

Anonymous, CA (2002 BMW 5 Series 525i 2.5-L 6 Cyl)

"Seat movement mechanism ceased working"

Anonymous, VA (2002 BMW 5 Series 525i 2.5-L 6 Cyl)

"Seat controls broken. Seats are off track"

Robert L., CA (2002 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"Several of the parts are plastic and they have aged and broken. Very, very expensive to fix and/or replace"

Anonymous, VA (2002 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)
Windows

"Window regulator became disconnected"

Anonymous, TX (2002 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

Climate System

Blower (fan) motor, A/C compressor, condenser, evaporator, heater system, automatic climate control, refrigerant leakage, electrical failure.

What Owners Say

Blower (fan) motor

"Fan stopped working. Had to be replaced"

Anonymous, OR (2002 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"System turned off. Needed new blower motor"

Anonymous, FL (2002 BMW 5 Series 525i 2.5-L 6 Cyl)

"Noise"

Jennifer M., CA (2002 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"sudden loss of power"

Anonymous, NY (2002 BMW 5 Series 530i Unsure)

Drive System

Driveshaft or axle, CV joint, differential, transfer case, 4WD/AWD components, driveline vibration, traction control, electronic stability control (ESC), electrical failure.

What Owners Say

Driveshaft or axle

"Leak in the main seal of the diff"

John G., TX (2002 BMW 5 Series M5 5.0-L V8)

"replaced entire driveshaft after center carrier bearing failed"

Aaron C., NC (2002 BMW 5 Series M5 5.0-L V8)
Electrical failure

"Wiring issues with all tail lights and headlights"

Anonymous, FL (2002 BMW 5 Series 540i 5.0-L V8)
Traction control

"Traction Control Light Came on, replaced Steering Control Sensor on bottom of steering colum"

Anonymous, CA (2002 BMW 5 Series 525i 2.5-L 6 Cyl)

In-car Electronics

CD or DVD players, radio, speakers, GPS, communication system (e.g., OnStar), display screen freezes or goes blank, phone pairing (e.g. Bluetooth), voice control commands, steering wheel controls, portable music device interface (e.g., iPod/MP3 player), backup or other camera/sensors.

What Owners Say

"Individual LED lights on mileage indicator and radio display started to disappear right after warranty expired (~52000 miles). Told by dealer would be very expensive to repair and they did not seem to happy to repair which seemed surprising"

Robert S., NC (2002 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"digital readout shows partial letters on readout"

Paul C., MA (2002 BMW 5 Series 530i 2.5-L 6 Cyl)

"Unable to read the two displays (dashboard+console) A disease of ALL BMW E39 and never recognized by BMW US"

Pierre B., OR (2002 BMW 5 Series 525i 2.5-L 6 Cyl)
Radio

"Car has electrical problem. Some kind of short that repeats every 15 t 20 seconds and the poping sound comes thru the audio system.. Then it disappiers with no predictability. This is driving the BMW dealer and me crazy. It is not an audio system pr"

Anonymous, CA (2002 BMW 5 Series M5 5.0-L V8)

Fuel System

Check engine light, sensors (includes O2 or oxygen sensor), emission control devices (includes EGR), engine computer, engine computer, fuel cap, fuel gauge/sender, fuel injection system, fuel pump, fuel leaks, stalling or hesitation.

What Owners Say

Emission control devices (includes EGR)

"crankcase ventilation pump failure"

Anonymous, PA (2002 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"replaced evaporative purge valve"

Aaron C., NC (2002 BMW 5 Series M5 5.0-L V8)

"Emission sensor failure triggered "Service Engine Soon" requiring repairs"

Anonymous, WA (2002 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

Exhaust

Muffler, pipes, catalytic converter, exhaust manifold, leaks.

What Owners Say

"bad smelling inside the car while driving"

Anonymous, NY (2002 BMW 5 Series 530i Unsure)
Muffler

"Front muffler rusted out (after 12 years and 140000 miles)"

D F., OH (2002 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

Transmission Minor

Gear selector or linkage, leaks, transmission computer, transmission sensor or solenoid, clutch adjustment, rough shifting, slipping transmission.

What Owners Say

"syncrhomesh failure in 3rd and 4th gears"

Anonymous, LA (2002 BMW 5 Series 525i 2.5-L 6 Cyl)
Slipping transmission

"Transmission was worn out from extremely high mileage"

Michael D., CA (2002 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

Paint/Trim

Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling), loose interior and exterior trim or moldings, rust.

What Owners Say

Loose exterior trim or moldings

"Dash instruments fail to operate"

Robert L., CA (2002 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)
Rust

"Getting rust spots on the edges of many of the panels"

Anonymous, IL (2002 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

Engine Major

Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.

What Owners Say

Timing belt or chain

"The chain broke. The repair cost, over $5,000, is worth more than the car so we are disposing of it. However even with this problem, the car is bringing us over $1,000 as a salvager's purchase"

Anonymous, VA (2002 BMW 5 Series 540i 4.4-L V8)
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