Fun all-wheel drive wagons are my cup of tea, which directs my attention towards Audi and Subaru most often. I know there are others out there, but they seem few and far between. Thus I was surprised intrigued when I happened upon this 2006 BMW 530xi touring on eBay. It’s no S- or RS-wagon, but it’s a fun and useful AWD 5-door that could take on most any situation. I’ve never been smitten with the E60 5-series, but the M5’s beefed-up lines helped distract from its other styling shortcomings, and as usual the wagon helps balance things out in my eyes. Put those things together and you’ve got a pretty fine, more fleshed-out design as seen here. The 260hp I6 won’t blow minds, but will do just fine in getting the family up the mountain.
This is a newer car than I’m usually interested in, either for myself or for writing up, but something sounds appealing about cruising in a nice, big, capable BMW right now. I’d want the Competition rims in something other than chrome (satin or black please), but beggars shall not be choosers. Looking around at similar 5-series, it seems like the price is pretty reasonable for a car looking as good as this. Definitely proves that there are other enticing AWD wagons beyond the old guard of Audi and Subaru.
This is not a good model. I had this exact year and model for 3 years (leased) from new. It is very “un-bmw” like.
The ride quality and wind noise is bad.
The first thing that broke was the rear air suspension at 20k. The “free maintenance” means 15k mile oil changes and no other fluid changes. In other words BMW wants any “CPO” car to die at 100k miles. There is no dipstick so you can’t even see the oil.
The tire air pressure warning light always went off falsely (common problem). The I-drive is an awful version. Say you want to listen to the radio; you have to almost crash the car to go through all of the menus.
The standard front seats were very uncomfortable as were the lightly padded elbow rests.
The entire center console and arm rest is unuseable space because an odd telephone attachment occupies all the space and there is no other good storage space. You can’t even put a CD case ANYWHERE in the front seat area. The doors have little sills that don’t hold anything. It has only a single CD player too.
The overall build quality and interior quality is not good and is much lower than my BMW E46 330 ci.
The rear power tailgate is really slow and you end up slamming it down manually(fighting the servos). If you let do it under power, it never latches correctly and pops back up once you have sat down in the driver’s seat usually. Only a tiny person would need a power tailgate in this car and it annoys everyone else.
The only think this car did well was look fairly cool and it was able to cruise at autobahn speeds. The engine and brakes are very good.
But it was totally not worth the price, not even close and was so annoying that you wanted someone to steal it to break the lease. This is the car that turned me off forever to modern BMW’s and I am a BMWCCA life long BMW fan.
Now I have a 1993 Porsche 968, a 2001 330 ci and a 2008 MAZDA CX-9 which is better in every way than the 530xi.
The only car I ever had that was worse was a 2001 Audi Allroad wagon that took the cake for being a piece of crap. It went to the dealer monthly where the Audi dealer mechanics that I befriended (because I saw them so often) would tell me what a piece of crap the allroad design is and how it had all vw quality parts.
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