G31 540i or 530D?

Soldato
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Location
Wilmslow, Cheshire
Morning lads and lasses,


All the best for 2021!

I am here again looking for some advice if i may, i have now narrowed the new car down to the G31; ruling out the XC90, Q7 and another A6 Avant (cant stand the E class or XF)

So with this in mind i am looking for a 17/18 plate G31 but really cant choose between these two engines.

I really do miss the 5pot Petrol of my old Focus ST BUT my 3ltr Quattro A6 has been totally fine - Fast, decent economy (easy 45s on a run and 30/32 round town with a 36.6MPG over 23,500 miles)

I have done a fair few business miles over the previous few years but that is about to change with a role change this year which will see me more office bound with a commute of about 4 miles with a 1/2 mile dual carriageway blast.(each way)
We have two dogs and two kids so need the touring, also, i do a lot of fishing so every other week im out on a decent run on a sunday and finally we go camping a few times a yeart with our trailer tent so needs to be a tower.

MOT Miles -
2016 - 2017 = 7,422Miles
2017 - 2018 = 8,700Miles
2018 - 2019 = 9,291 Miles
2019 - 2020 = 11,121Miles (this is based on 18 Months with the 6month MOT extension)

I do fancy the sound of the Petrol engine and i fancy the economy of the Diesel engine.

The 540i Touring are few and far between - 9 listed on autotrader! some decent 530d's on there.

I suspect that most will say go for the 540i but i do remain curious.

Hit me!

Cheers
 
Man of Honour
Joined
17 Oct 2002
Posts
158,698
I am fortunate enough to have driven significant mileage in G30/G31/G32 with every engine option except the V8 petrols and the plugin-hybrid. I am a big fan of them.

The bottom line is that all of them are absolutely excellent and won't disappoint you.

540i: Smooth and refined. Doesn't sound as amazing as you may have expected (The sound is quite muted), but very quiet at idle and around town. It's quick, obviously. It is also quite thirsty - around town I was getting as low as 16mpg and on a very long Motorway run it settled down to an average of about 35mpg. Part of this will be because it is only available as an XDrive over here.

530d: Not quite as smooth or refined of the 540i but it's amazingly not that far off. The engine is quiet and unobtrusive for a diesel. It's also quick, it isn't a million miles off the 540i really. It is however exceptionally efficient - I've averaged 50mpg on long trips under the same usage conditions as the 540i above, so it really is materially more efficient. This makes it a fantastic very long distance car as it has tremendous range, is efficient and yet is still quick and refined.

It's actually a difficult decision. In my opinion, the 530d is the better car. The engine suits the purpose of the G30 absolutely perfectly - a crushingly competent, refined long distance cruiser. However the market in the UK is turning increasingly anti diesel and your annual mileage doesn't look significant. These two factors would lead me to consider a 540i over a 530d, although when you're on a run its difficult to shake the feeling that the 540i is just doing exactly what the 530d does but chewing a lot more fuel in the process. But that is where we are now - diesel is becoming unacceptable and there is risk involved in purchasing. But with your usage most of the benefits of the 530d will be lost on you, so I think a 540i is probably a better choice.

A shame, as I think the latest 6 cylinder BMW diesels are the finest ever made. But for you, I'd probably go 540i - in theory.

Why in theory?

Because in practice, buying a 5 Series is a complete pain. The majority of the used ones you will find will have one or more glaring specification omissions. Eventually you'll get so fed up of trying to find one that has actually useful equipment like ICON LED lights and not stupid black 20 inch wheels that you may find it is the level of equipment that dictates which one you get, rather than the model. So, I'd seek out a 540i but potentially be prepared to compromise with a 530d if you need to.

I've toyed with the idea of replacing my F10 530d with a G30 540i now my mileage is much reduced but every time I look I find a whole pile of cars that are either missing important options I'd want or are crazy priced. You need about 30k for a good one (or a good 530d!) and yet this seems to buy you a 3 year old car? This seems like too much really for a 3 year old 5 Series - I appreciate it was 5 years ago now but my 11 month old 530d was rather less than that.

Which brings me to another point - have a look at the 6 Series GT. It is essentially a G31 with an even bigger boot and loads of things fitted as standard. They all have proper lights as standard, for example. Plus because the styling is a bit challenging for some, they are an absolute bargain. They are generally much cheaper than the equivalent 5 Series despite being basically a 5 Series plus. My Dad picked up a 630d GT at a year old from a main dealer for the price of a 2-3 year old 530d Touring. Bargain. They do a 630d and a 640i, so again both engine options are available to you.

For myself, I have concluded that an M340i is probably the more sensible way to go. I don't know if this would work for you given the smaller size, but they are generally better optioned and feel like better value than the G30 540i. Disappointing really as I have had 5 Series for what feels like for ever, but there we go.

Had a quick look on AT and this one stands out as being reasonable spec and a main dealer car but... it's over 3 years old, 50k miles and still the wrong side of £30k. Seems like excessive money for a 3 year old car to me?

https://www.autotrader.co.uk/car-de...t_cars&radius=1500&aggregatedTrim=540i&page=1
 
Last edited:

mjt

mjt

Soldato
Joined
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Posts
19,570
Had a quick look on AT and this one stands out as being reasonable spec and a main dealer car but... it's over 3 years old, 50k miles and still the wrong side of £30k. Seems like excessive money for a 3 year old car to me?

https://www.autotrader.co.uk/car-details/202008202721105?postcode=pl11aa&onesearchad=New&onesearchad=Nearly New&onesearchad=Used&model=5 SERIES&year-from=2017&sort=price-asc&include-delivery-option=on&body-type=Estate&make=BMW&advertising-location=at_cars&radius=1500&aggregatedTrim=540i&page=1
Maybe the UK used car market has finally caught up with the rest of Europe? Inflation?
TBF used car prices in the UK have always been ridiculously low. Here's a similar car to the one you've shown, for sale in Germany
https://www.autoscout24.com/offers/...ne-black-305f9bdd-853a-4b9e-8bab-f2b1ad6b8bf6
 
Soldato
Joined
22 Nov 2006
Posts
22,169
I think being RHD has a lot to do with prices being lower here. Regular stuff isn't really going up, you can still find quite good cars for peanuts.

I've noticed since lockdown some of the rarer cars have shot up in price. Either people just aren't selling or demand went up.
 
Last edited:
Soldato
Joined
18 Oct 2002
Posts
20,146
Had a quick look on AT and this one stands out as being reasonable spec and a main dealer car but... it's over 3 years old, 50k miles and still the wrong side of £30k. Seems like excessive money for a 3 year old car to me?

https://www.autotrader.co.uk/car-details/202008202721105?postcode=pl11aa&onesearchad=New&onesearchad=Nearly New&onesearchad=Used&model=5 SERIES&year-from=2017&sort=price-asc&include-delivery-option=on&body-type=Estate&make=BMW&advertising-location=at_cars&radius=1500&aggregatedTrim=540i&page=1
My old 520d Touring with no options is up for £23k : https://www.autotrader.co.uk/car-de...romSavedAds=true&advertising-location=at_cars
So around £30k seems a fair price for a 540 with a few options :)
 
Soldato
Joined
18 Oct 2002
Posts
18,271
How important is the performance and economy to you? Have you considered the plugin hybrid?

Actually forget that, just seen you want a 17/18 car and they only come in saloon shape.

Out of those two I'd have the diesel no question, the 40i is a gas guzzler and doesn't offer too much over the 30d in reality.
 
Last edited:
Soldato
OP
Joined
28 Jan 2007
Posts
2,549
Location
Wilmslow, Cheshire
I am fortunate enough to have driven significant mileage in G30/G31/G32 with every engine option except the V8 petrols and the plugin-hybrid. I am a big fan of them.

The bottom line is that all of them are absolutely excellent and won't disappoint you.

540i: Smooth and refined. Doesn't sound as amazing as you may have expected (The sound is quite muted), but very quiet at idle and around town. It's quick, obviously. It is also quite thirsty - around town I was getting as low as 16mpg and on a very long Motorway run it settled down to an average of about 35mpg. Part of this will be because it is only available as an XDrive over here.

530d: Not quite as smooth or refined of the 540i but it's amazingly not that far off. The engine is quiet and unobtrusive for a diesel. It's also quick, it isn't a million miles off the 540i really. It is however exceptionally efficient - I've averaged 50mpg on long trips under the same usage conditions as the 540i above, so it really is materially more efficient. This makes it a fantastic very long distance car as it has tremendous range, is efficient and yet is still quick and refined.

It's actually a difficult decision. In my opinion, the 530d is the better car. The engine suits the purpose of the G30 absolutely perfectly - a crushingly competent, refined long distance cruiser. However the market in the UK is turning increasingly anti diesel and your annual mileage doesn't look significant. These two factors would lead me to consider a 540i over a 530d, although when you're on a run its difficult to shake the feeling that the 540i is just doing exactly what the 530d does but chewing a lot more fuel in the process. But that is where we are now - diesel is becoming unacceptable and there is risk involved in purchasing. But with your usage most of the benefits of the 530d will be lost on you, so I think a 540i is probably a better choice.

A shame, as I think the latest 6 cylinder BMW diesels are the finest ever made. But for you, I'd probably go 540i - in theory.

Why in theory?

Because in practice, buying a 5 Series is a complete pain. The majority of the used ones you will find will have one or more glaring specification omissions. Eventually you'll get so fed up of trying to find one that has actually useful equipment like ICON LED lights and not stupid black 20 inch wheels that you may find it is the level of equipment that dictates which one you get, rather than the model. So, I'd seek out a 540i but potentially be prepared to compromise with a 530d if you need to.

I've toyed with the idea of replacing my F10 530d with a G30 540i now my mileage is much reduced but every time I look I find a whole pile of cars that are either missing important options I'd want or are crazy priced. You need about 30k for a good one (or a good 530d!) and yet this seems to buy you a 3 year old car? This seems like too much really for a 3 year old 5 Series - I appreciate it was 5 years ago now but my 11 month old 530d was rather less than that.

Which brings me to another point - have a look at the 6 Series GT. It is essentially a G31 with an even bigger boot and loads of things fitted as standard. They all have proper lights as standard, for example. Plus because the styling is a bit challenging for some, they are an absolute bargain. They are generally much cheaper than the equivalent 5 Series despite being basically a 5 Series plus. My Dad picked up a 630d GT at a year old from a main dealer for the price of a 2-3 year old 530d Touring. Bargain. They do a 630d and a 640i, so again both engine options are available to you.

For myself, I have concluded that an M340i is probably the more sensible way to go. I don't know if this would work for you given the smaller size, but they are generally better optioned and feel like better value than the G30 540i. Disappointing really as I have had 5 Series for what feels like for ever, but there we go.

Had a quick look on AT and this one stands out as being reasonable spec and a main dealer car but... it's over 3 years old, 50k miles and still the wrong side of £30k. Seems like excessive money for a 3 year old car to me?

https://www.autotrader.co.uk/car-details/202008202721105?postcode=pl11aa&onesearchad=New&onesearchad=Nearly New&onesearchad=Used&model=5 SERIES&year-from=2017&sort=price-asc&include-delivery-option=on&body-type=Estate&make=BMW&advertising-location=at_cars&radius=1500&aggregatedTrim=540i&page=1

Thanks for the detailed response fox. Ill have a look at the 6 but not a massive fan
 
Man of Honour
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158,698
My old 520d Touring with no options is up for £23k : https://www.autotrader.co.uk/car-de...romSavedAds=true&advertising-location=at_cars
So around £30k seems a fair price for a 540 with a few options :)

8k between engine variants on a 3 year old car is a significant spread usually not seen outside of proper specialist stuff like M power.

If that's what the market is saying then that's what they are selling for, but it's radically different to 5 years ago that's for sure.
 
Soldato
Joined
6 Jan 2012
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3,815
I went from F10 535d to G31 530d, both touring, both great, G31 handles a bit better, F10 was better sounding engine. No experience of 540i but its bound to be good.
I would opt for 19inch wheels next time as 20s don't help the ride.
 
Man of Honour
Joined
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Posts
158,698
went from F10 535d to G31 530d, both touring, both great, G31 handles a bit better, F10 was better sounding engine

Actually yea, the first G30 530d I drive I did think that - didn't sound as good as the F10.

Thinking about it all the ones I've driven since have had the active sound thingy pumping fake noise into the cabin which made that issue go away :D
 
Last edited:
Soldato
Joined
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Posts
3,815
Actually yea, the first G30 530d I drive I did think that - didn't sound as good as the F10.

Thinking about it all the ones I've driven sense have had the active sound thingy pumping fake noise into the cabin which made that issue go away :D
They really ought to bung the 340hp diesel in the 5 series, thats what I would have gone for.
 
Man of Honour
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They really ought to bung the 340hp diesel in the 5 series, thats what I would have gone for.

They have - and I've driven it - but it isn't available in the UK sadly.

The Europeans got the 400bhp 3 litre diesel too until the facelift :(
 
Soldato
Joined
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Posts
20,146
8k between engine variants on a 3 year old car is a significant spread usually not seen outside of proper specialist stuff like M power.

If that's what the market is saying then that's what they are selling for, but it's radically different to 5 years ago that's for sure.
The RRP difference between a base spec 520D and and a 540i with those options is £19k (520D £46k, 540i with Vis and comfort packs : £65k). Only paying £8k more for that 540i is quite a used bargain :)
 
Man of Honour
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158,698
The RRP difference between a base spec 520D and and a 540i with those options is £19k

Not relevant in the context of a 3 year old car with 50k on it.

Only paying £8k more for that 540i is quite a used bargain

You are entitled to your opinion - I do not share it. I do not think a 3 year old 50k mile 5 Series for 31k is 'quite a used bargain'.
 

Jez

Jez

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Joined
18 Oct 2002
Posts
33,073
I don’t have any experience with driving these cars relevant to the OP, but re the above car....
I have started dabbling in buying cars again on account with BCA, as a little side project more for my own interest more than anything when I have time, spurred on by a couple of guys on this forum doing the same.

Anyway, to the point, I agree with Fox, his cardar is not off, £31k for a 3 year old 540i is certainly not quite the used bargain. That car CAPs clean at £23-25k, quite a margin there at that price in theory. This is why the AT advert is so old I would think :p
 
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