Advice for buyers

Used BMW 5 Series (03 - 11) review

(2003 - 2011)
BMW 5 Series (03 - 11)
Review continues below...

What should I look for in a used BMW 5 Series saloon?

The run-flat tyres which were fitted as standard to most models can leak air and are expensive to replace. Some owners swap them for conventional tyres to save hassle and improve ride comfort, but BMW advises against this, pointing out that models with bigger wheels were only tested on run flats.

There were a string of recalls on the 5 Series, covering the airbag, fuel pump, stability control system, clutch, engine and even a seat heater that can 'toast' its occupant. Check the car you’re thinking of buying against a main dealer's records, which should list any work needed.

BMW 5 Series (03 - 11)

What are the most common problems with a used BMW 5 Series saloon?

Axle and suspension problems are far from unusual, so make sure there are no clonks, bumps or strange noises from the suspension during a test drive, and that the steering is accurate.

Also, check the iDrive infotainment system, because it can malfunction and render the heating, stereo and phone controls useless, particularly in early cars. There are some reports of the system refusing to work on cold mornings until car has been driven for 20 minutes and is fully warmed. Models from 2005 onwards appear far more reliable in this area.

Is a used BMW 5 Series saloon reliable?

The 520d was by far the most popular version of this BMW 5 Series when it was new, and consequently is the most common model on the used market. Fortunately, it’s also one of the most reliable.

Data from CAP Derwent, a scheme which pools repair information from some of the UK’s biggest vehicle leasing firms, shows that the 520d can typically cover more than 100,000 miles before there are any problems with the engine, diesel particulate filter or gearbox.

It’s also easier on brakes and electrics than the average executive saloon, although you do need to replace the pollen filter relatively frequently.

You can find out how other versions of the 5 Series perform by clicking here.

 

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