• (4.7) 10 reviews
  • MSRP: $1,465–$10,837
  • Body Style: Sedan
  • Combined MPG: 18-19
  • Engine: 290-hp, 4.4-liter V-8 (premium)
  • Drivetrain: Rear-wheel Drive
  • Transmission: 5-speed automatic w/OD
2002 BMW 540

Our Take on the Latest Model 2002 BMW 540

2002 BMW 540 Reviews

Vehicle Overview
It’s been said that designers are at work on the next generation of BMW’s midlevel sedan and wagon, but the launch of those models is a couple years down the line. For 2002, the Sport Premium and Convenience option packages are gone, and an in-dash CD player is newly standard. The 5 Series fits between BMW’s smaller 3 Series and its flagship 7 Series sedan.

The 5 Series’ appearance was freshened for 2001. Base models equipped with a 2.5-liter inline-six-cylinder engine are called 525i, while those fitted with a larger 3.0-liter inline-six are designated 530i. The 4.4-liter V-8 that powers the 540i sedan and wagon was given a boost this year to 290 horsepower. All 5 Series models are rear-drive, have side-impact airbags for the front seats and come with a curtain-type Head Protection System. Side-impact airbags for the rear seats are optional.

The high-performance M5 sedan, which is fitted with a 394-hp, 5.0-liter V-8 engine and a six-speed-manual gearbox, also is available. Other 5 Series models may be equipped with either a manual or automatic transmission.

With a 111.4-inch wheelbase, the 5 Series fits into the full-size category by cars.com standards, though some observers consider it a midsize model. At 188 inches long overall, the 5 Series is slightly shorter than the Mercedes-Benz E-Class sedan and nearly 9 inches shorter than the Lexus LS 430. In appearance, the 5 Series closely resembles its smaller and larger mates, all of which sport BMW’s familiar twin-kidney grille.

Seating is provided for five occupants. Front bucket seats have 10-way power adjustment for the driver. Standard equipment on all models includes remote keyless entry, a 10-speaker audio system, a power tilt/telescoping steering column, heated power mirrors and an alarm. The 540i sedan adds such extras as a moonroof, dual-mode automatic air conditioning and xenon high-intensity-discharge headlights.

Leather upholstery is standard in the 540i and optional in the 525i and 530i, which otherwise come with standard imitation-leather seating. All models can be equipped with an optional split, folding rear seatback and BMW’s navigation system.

Under the Hood
The 525i uses a 184-hp, 2.5-liter inline-six-cylinder engine, while a 225-hp, 3.0-liter inline-six goes into the 530i. Topping the regular lineup, the 540i gets a 4.4-liter V-8 that now produces 290 hp — 8 hp more than last year’s engine. Six-cylinder models are available with either a five-speed-automatic or five-speed-manual transmission. The 540i comes with a five-speed-automatic or six-speed-manual transmission.

The 540i actually costs more when fitted with a manual shift than with the automatic, but stick-shift versions come with a Sport Package that includes 17-inch tires and a tauter suspension. All 5 Series models are rear-drive only, unlike the smaller 3 Series, which offers all-wheel drive as an option.

Dual-stage front airbags deploy according to crash severity and whether occupants are buckled up. Side-impact airbags for the front seats and BMW’s Head Protection System — which consists of curtain-type airbags that deploy to protect front-seat occupants — are standard. Side-impact airbags and head-protection curtains are optional for the rear seats. Standard safety features include antilock brakes, traction control and an electronic stability system that BMW calls Dynamic Stability Control. The optional Park Distance Control detects obstacles to the front and rear of the car while parking it.

Driving Impressions
BMW manages to mix big doses of both sport and luxury in the 5 Series models. Drivers can expect the precise maneuverability and control of a 3 Series, coupled with quite a few luxuries near the level of the big 7 Series. Although suspensions are undeniably firm, especially if the sedan is fitted with a Sport Package, ride comfort remains pleasant over most pavement surfaces.

Performance is reasonably energetic even with the smallest six-cylinder engine, but the V-8 unleashes a veritable torrent of strength for supremely confident highway operation. BMW appears to strive for symmetry in each of its models, so the dashboard and its easy-to-read gauges look about the same, regardless of the size of the sedan.


Reported by Jim Flammang  for cars.com;
From the cars.com 2002 Buying Guide;
Posted on 11/28/01

Consumer Reviews


Average based on 10 reviews

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What is a Dream car Worth to You ?

by Musicman9 from Laguna Beach California-USA on October 25, 2017

Well, Like the Kenny Loggins song Says "THIS IS IT" , but you must know what "it" is. this car has Personal Quality & Performance not everyone can Understand. it is not Cheap to have and Maintain a "... Read Full Review

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2 Trims Available

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Wondering which configuration is right for you?
Our 2002 BMW 540 trim comparison will help you decide.

BMW 540 Articles

2002 BMW 540 Safety Ratings

Crash-Test Reports


There are currently 4 recalls for this car.

Safety defects and recalls are relatively common. Stay informed and know what to do ahead of time.

Safety defects and recalls explained

Service & Repair

Estimated Service & Repair cost: $5,000 per year.

Save on maintenance costs and do your own repairs.

Warranty Coverage

What you should get in your warranty can be confusing. Make sure you are informed.

Learn More About Warranties

Warranties Explained


Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.


Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

Roadside Assistance

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

Free Scheduled Maintenance

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

Other Years