1987 BMW 525e
I sold the Mazda MX-5 for many reasons, one of which was I was disappointed with the mpg it did. For such a light, small engined car, it should have done more than 33mpg. After selling the Mazda I did consider cars which did less than 33mpg but I knew I'd soon get fed-up of filling them up. I had been looking for a car for my friend, Chris Kean. He needed a car which was reliable, cheap, solid and not expensive to run but he wanted something different and with a bit of style. We discovered that the pre-1988 BMW 5 series had a good reputation and there was one model the 525e which was built to give good economy (42mpg at 75mph).
After a small search and considering a Jaguar XJ6 2.9 (The jag would only manage 22mpg so wasn't viable), a BMW M535 (only runs on 4 star) and a Porsche 924 (only runs on 4 star), I found a 1987, 525e in excellent condition with full BMW service history, no rust and 88,000 miles on the clock and for £2,300 (in 1997).
It had a black interior with electric windows, a sunroof, alloys, a good stereo and an automatic box. I thought this would be a car I would keep for a while. It was being run on 4 star but I was told by the Lincoln BMW dealer it could run on unleaded. So I did (saved £2.85 a tank full). But the mpg was a disappointing 29. It didn't matter how I ran it, motorway or town. I thought it should have been capable of 35mpg.
The car was very quiet due to the low revs (2000rpm at 70mph). I decided after a change of job (I finally took that job in
Pre-1988 BMW 5 series: A lot of car for the money, a third of the price of the post 1988 models and from the inside they are basically the same car.
1989 BMW 316i
After the Citroen, I was in the mood for something reliable. I decided the car had to be German or Japanese. It still needed to be good on fuel, but I wanted something interesting.
I looked at Honda Civic Coupes but after driving a couple, I thought they were tinny and the engine noise was a little harsh. The BMW 316i was coming up as a car with a good mpg. I liked the idea of owning an automatic Touring (estate) model but they came at a price and the automatic's came with a mpg penalty.
I came across a garage selling a local car, one owner. It was low mileage and had a full BMW service history. It was a 1989 BMW 316i, 5 speed manual, the model with the face-lifted rear and the newer fuel injected engine. I'd have preferred an automatic but it was such a nice car I knew I wasn't going to find a better one. So I did a cash deal and bought the car.
It was like new inside, the car came with a rev counter, ecometer, service interval lights, power steering, central locking, sunroof, electric windows & mirrors, a Blaupunkt stereo, rear fogs and a height adjustable seats. I got 38mpg out of it regularly. The mileage was mainly motorway. The car was never any trouble during my 3 year ownership. I did over 70,000 miles in the car. I bought it for £3000 (in 1999) and sold it for £300 (in 2002) as the bodywork was shot. All that salt on the motorway I guess?
2000 BMW 523i SE Touring Auto
I was looking for a nice large estate car for the family.
This BMW came up with a Full BMW Service History, a 5 speed auto tiptronic gearbox, power steering, remote central locking (with alarm), electric windows, mirrors, a Blaupunkt CD player, front & rear fogs, climate control, cruise control, traction control, rain sensitive wipers, multi function steering wheel etc...
Great car. Very reliable and perfect for long journeys.