Advice for buyers
What should I look for in a used BMW M5 saloon?
This is a large car that will have been used in tight urban environments so check the bodywork carefully for dings and dents. Check the alloy wheels for any signs of kerb damage, as these can be expensive to repair.
On the whole owners of this generation of M5 seem happy with the reliability of their cars. Some have reported years of faultless ownership, other than fair wear and tear items, although others have had issues with oil sensors, unexpected engine shutdowns, a clutch slave cylinder breakdown, problems with a defect in the rear coil springs and an excessively high oil consumption. Most issues, though, seem related to engine electronics, so it’s worth checking these carefully and asking the owner if any work has been done to update the software. Of these it’s the engine powertrain warning light that seems to have caused most issues, although the problem is one that is relatively easily solvable. Also injectors and air flow meters can cease to work properly. Check the condition of the brake pads and discs as these can wear quickly and are very expensive to replace, as are the dampers.
The M5 was off sale by the time we compiled our most recent reliability survey, but BMW as a brand finished in 16th place out of 32 manufacturers. The ordinary 5 Series finished in third place in the luxury car category with an overall score of 91%.
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