BMW 5 Series (2003 – 2010) Review

BMW 5 Series (2003 – 2010) At A Glance


+Nicely balanced and enjoyable handling, sharp styling, modern-looking interior, great range of engines including impressively efficient diesels.

-Firm ride particularly on M Sport models. Swirl flap failures in 530d. Injector problems in N53 6 cylinder engine.

Insurance Groups are between 33–45
On average it achieves 81% of the official MPG figure

BMW is known for building high quality cars that are great to drive and this is perfectly evident in the BMW 5 Series. It really is superb on the road with keen handling and great composure in bends, making it the really involving to drive. But the BMW 5 Series isn't just about handling, it also has good green credentials and thanks to Efficient Dynamics (the programme of efficiency technology introduced in 2007), offers some very economical engines.

The most popular is the 520d - and engine which belies its small size to provide impressive performance but with great economy of 47.8mpg. Of course if you want performance there's no shortage of choice either with the punchy 535d and sublime 535i the stand-out choices in the range.

And this sporty feel is always evident behind the wheel with an agile and composed feel, especially evident on twisting roads. Of course there is a downside to this - the firm ride. Standard models are acceptable, but those with stiffer and lower suspension, such as the M Sport cars with their larger wheels, can be crashy over rough roads and bumps.

But this doesn't detract from the superb build quality, spacious cabin and modern interior of the BMW 5 Series which is why it's such a popular upmarket saloon and one that's very highly rated by its owners.

Real MPG average for a BMW 5 Series (2003 – 2010)


Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance


Real MPG

17–55 mpg

MPGs submitted


Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

Satisfaction Index

Satisfaction Index What is your car like to live with?

We need your help with our latest Satisfaction Index, so that we can help others make a smarter car buying decision. What's it like to live with your car? Love it? Loath it? We want to know. Let us know about your car - it will only take a few minutes and you could be helping thousands of others.

Help us with the Honest John Satisfaction Index now

Ask Honest John

BMW passenger restraint system malfunction warning - what does it mean?

"The following message has appeared on the dashboard of my 2008 BMW 530d: "Passenger restraint system malfunction". The seat belt and airbag warning lights are also illuminated - what should I do?"
This error message indicates a fault with the airbag system. It may be a faulty module, sensor or part of the wiring. The car will not pass the MoT in its current condition. You will need to have a diagnostics check carried out to identify the relevant fault code(s).
Answered by Dan Powell

I'm buying a high mileage BMW, do you have any advice?

"I'm about to buy a high mileage but very well maintained 2008 BMW 520d. It looks really nice and clean. The car is in pristine condition but there is no way to get into the engine and understand what is going on in there. The owner is a BMW specialist with his own garage and high tech staff servicing BMWs. Do you have any advice for me?"
A diesel BMW of this age could prove to be quite expensive to run. High mileage is a good thing, though – it means it's likely to have been used for lots of motorway journeys and the diesel particulate filter (DPF) will have been kept clear. Problems occur when diesels are used for regular short journeys and the DPFs become clogged. That aside, I'd want to see evidence of regular servicing (receipts as well as a fully stamped service book). You'll have to accept that running costs will be more than a Ford Focus, too. This should give you an idea of common issues:
Answered by Andrew Brady

Why is there no acceleration from my BMW 5 Series?

"I have a 2006 BMW 525i and there's a problem with the acceleration. The car idles fine with no noticeable odd noises coming from the engine. When I press on the accelerator the revs very slowly climb to around 3-4000 rpm. There is virtually no power in acceleration and it seems like it is in "limp mode". There are no warning lights and no error codes from the ODB."
Without any warning lights and no fault code, this is difficult to identify, so we would check the following. Air filter - blocked/dirty Fuel filter - has it been changed in accordance with service schedule Check for any air /vacuum leaks Spark Plugs - have they ever been checked /changed Also if you have the N52 engine then it could be the CMP ( camshaft position ) oil pressure valve stuck/sticking (a known fault) This valve can be removed and cleaned.
Answered by Alan Ross

Is it worth replacing the blown turbo on my 2009 BMW 520d?

"My 2009 BMW 520d exploded with a sudden loss of power after a brief period of a strange tiny whining noise when pressing the accelerator pedal (driving at 65-75mph). Subsequent repatriation to a franchised BMW dealership has resulted in the diagnosis of a blown turbo, air cooler for the turbo and diesel particulate filter. They suggest replacement of these parts will cost £1650 (turbo), £690 (DPF), £350 (cooler) with total labour of £400 plus VAT results in a total of £3700. Is this a fair price? Is this worth doing for a car that might be worth only £5000? And will there be any other consequences of a blown turbo once they start replacing elements?"
The most likely reason for this is that the turbo bearing oil feed and oil return pipes became blocked with carbon from shutting off the engine too often when the turbo was red hot. The effect increases exponentially as the pipes become more restricted with carbon, cutting off the oil supply to the turbo bearing that then gets red hot because it isn't being cooled by oil flow. So the first thing to be absolutely sure about is that the turbo oil feed and oil return pipes are replaced at the same time as everything else. A cheap job that cuts corners could prove to be very expensive.
Answered by Honest John
More Questions

What does a BMW 5 Series (2003 – 2010) cost?