Charlie’s 2002 BMW 520i SE Introduction


Hi everyone, I’m really excited to share my new vehicle with you! I have always wanted a saloon, or sedan as you guys in the states call them. I am a tall guy, 6’7″, so trying to find the right vehicle is a pain! I have to find one first, and ask to sit in the car, which is always an awkward conversation. If I fit in it, then I know what to look for. I originally wanted something classy, like a Mercedes-Benz, but then I realized the costs of repair would be astronomical, and I really didn’t think at my age, 19, it would be very sensible. I then remembered how my step dad always loved his BMW. He had a 1999 3-series, and I loved it. He actually destroyed it by putting on big tires and stupid suspension, meaning that when you went round a bend, you could smell and hear the rubber burning on the wheel arch. That car though was the birth of my strong desire to own a BMW.

DSC_0046Thisbrings me onto why I made this post.  After saving up for 6 months or so, I started looking at BMWs, which ones I could fit in, etc. I saw the E39 M5 on a game called Forza Motorsport 4. I was thrown by how simple it looked, yet so stylish. I knew then I wanted a 5 series. Of course I can’t afford an M5, although I would love one. Insurance in the UK is incredibly high for everyone under the age of 25. My quote was 16.700 UK pounds, or $27,658.54 US dollars. So, as you can imagine, that was not going to happen. Even the 525i or 523i was too costly on insurance. The 520i, however, was borderline. You can now see how I came about buying this model.


Now I knew what I wanted to buy, and after finding one nearby, I knew I could fit in it. I went about finding the right one online. I wanted a color I liked, low mileage, few owners, in near mint condition, and most importantly, it had to be a manual with full history. It was a long time before all of the boxes were ticked. The only problem now was that it was over 300 miles away, not a problem if it wasn’t all country roads, no motorways or highways that would help with the journey. Oh, and it’s the middle of January, so the weather was icy and foggy too. So, I sent a friend who happens to be a full time mechanic and coincidentally owns a 530d E39 Tourer to look at the car advertised, since he was only 70 miles away. He reported that the car was excellent, really mint condition. I put a deposit down, and three days later, I went with my grandpa to pick it up, grandpa drove it back for me so I didn’t have a problem with transporting it home.


I was overwhelmed by how perfect it was! The car looks new, and it had just had a full valet, so it was incredibly beautiful. Inside was the same story, there was one patch of wear the size of my little fingernail, on the handbrake handle. Everywhere else inside was like new. There is a M sport steering wheel, and M sport shift knob to top it off. Every single light works, there are no faults inside at all. Outside was not bad either, but not perfect. The rear light cluster has a small crack in it, and the bottom of the skirts have scratches along them. Some imperfections are to be expected for a car of almost 12 years though. The car will be going to a body shop soon to iron those mentioned problems out, and it will be truly mint. We stayed overnight in a bed and breakfast.


The following day, we took it to my friend, (the mechanic) who checked it over fully, and serviced it. I was keen and he allowed me to help, which is useful to me as I can see where bits go, etc. I looked under the car whilst he was changing the oil, and noticed the under tray that protects the sump was severely damaged, it was only being held on by a cm of plastic. So, that had to go. The windscreen wiper blades also needed replacing. Because the car had been sitting for over a year, all the pollen filters were clogged, and the windscreen washers were blocked. Nothing serious was found however, just these couple minor problems. Four discs and four shoes need replacing, and also the two rear wheel bearings are in need of replacing. No major problems, but still needs doing. I’m going to take the car back to him at the end of February to get it fixed.


The car was now ready to be taken to its new home. We arrived 8 hours later. I hope you liked reading about my car, I’m really happy with this car, and will take so much care of it. I’ve already replaced all the bulbs on the front as a precaution (and for looks!) I haven’t had the chance to clean the outside yet, but I did clean the engine bay with a friend. It was in desperate need of a clean, and I was amazed with how it turned out after 4 hours of using a toothbrush for the hard to reach places. I also have a YouTube video, embedded below. Please enjoy these pictures! ~Charlie





The following two tabs change content below.

Charlie Hambley

Latest posts by Charlie Hambley (see all)

One thought on “Charlie’s 2002 BMW 520i SE Introduction

  1. Hey Charlie,
    thanks a lot for sharing your story! Car sounds great, I wish you all the best 🙂

    M Steering wheel & shifter really makes a difference every day – you touch either of them 99% of the time while driving 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *