Since 1969, restaurant, hotel, travel & other witty reviews by a handpicked, worldwide team of discerning professionals—and your views, too.

2004 BMW 530i Review

Still the Ultimate Driving Machine?

A three-quarter front view of a 2004 BMW 530i

In short: A well-built and sure-footed mid-size sedan that can.


A view of the 2004 BMW 530i's steering wheel
A front bumper view of a 2004 BMW 530i
A rear bumper view of the 2004 BMW 530i

There is nothing technically wrong with this brand-new version of the "ultimate driving machine." It does take a little bit of getting used to, however. The car has more interior room than previous models due to a good space planning effort along with a longer wheel-base. Once you get used to the totally new look—and we finally did after a while—there is no doubt the BMW 530i is a true pleasure to drive, and even better the faster you drive it! We miss the Autobahn days!

The iDrive still has a way to go in terms of user-friendliness but like with any electronic device, you need to get past the learning curve.

The car can go fast, no question, but sometimes getting there felt a bit slow and left a sluggish aftertaste. We figure a few tweaks will be made on the 2005 models.

Despite these few flaws, the 530i remains a true driver's car and is a fantastic road car.

The optional packages on our test-drive car included: leather upholstery, (most comfortable) power front sports seats, 18-inch wheels, performance run-flat tires, sport suspension, Active (sometimes too-active) Front Steering (AFS), Xenon headlights, and electric rear sunshade ($575).

Observations: The run on the gearshift feels quite long and the designed interior can be rather austere.

Read a review of the 2009 BMW 535i Sedan

Warranty/Service: 4-year/50,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, powertrain warranty, road-side assistance and scheduled maintenance; 6-year anti-corrosion warranty.

Base Price: $44,900 / As tested: $55,795

Technical Specifications

Vehicle type: front-engine, rear wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan

Engine: 3.0-liter inline-6
Horsepower: 225 bhp @ 4,900 rpm
Torque: 214 lb-ft @ 3,500 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed manual

Curb weight: 3,461 lbs
Wheelbase: 113.7 in
190.6/72.7/58 in
Turning circle: 37.5 ft

Brakes: four-wheel disc with ABS and electronic brake assist
independent front and rear
traction control; vehicle stability control

Safety: front airbags; front side airbags; front and rear side curtain airbags

0-60 mph: 7.2 seconds
Top Speed: n/a

EPA City: 20 mpg
EPA Highway: 30 mpg

Check out other BMW models
See all of our Automobile Reviews
Visit the BMW website

Photography: Walter Mladina

(Updated: 06/01/09 SV)

The kinds of movies made for foodies, including classics such as Like Water for Chocolate and newer releases like Chef and Ratatouille.

We taste-tested several brands to help you find the best kombuchas on the market and the results are delicious. Bottoms up!