BMW 5 Series (2010 – 2017) Review

BMW 5 Series (2010 – 2017) At A Glance

Honest John Overall Rating
While many large executive cars feel like a duck out of water on a twisty road, the BMW 5 Series comes alive, making it the first choice for drivers who fancy, well, the ultimate driving machine.

+Brilliant ride and handling, powerful and efficient diesel engines, upmarket interior, very safe, lots on the used market.

-Petrol versions are rare, styling a perhaps a little sombre, limited practicality.

Insurance Groups are between 30–46
On average it achieves 73% of the official MPG figure

The BMW 5 Series was designed for Europe’s motorways. To allow a driver to while away the hours between business meetings, cocooned in a luxurious cabin and enjoying the latest tech. Launched in 2010, the 5 Series can list the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and Audi A6 as its chief rivals. For some people, there is only one. The BMW 5 Series is the five-star executive saloon.


This is the saloon car that executives dream of owning. They pray for the day when the fleet manager sends them an email to say that the BMW 5 Series is an option for their next company car. It’s the ‘have your cake and eat it’ saloon. Comfortable and composed on a motorway, but playful and agile when the road twists and turns.

Launched in 2010, this generation of 5 Series is less striking than its predecessor. It also lacks the sharpness of the current BMW 5 Series. It’s a more sombre affair, which actually means that it still looks fresh today. Stick a private plate on a 2010 or 2011 5 Series, and your neighbours will think you’re driving something much newer.

Aside from a subtle facelift in 2013, there’s little to distinguish a 2017 5 Series from a 2010 example. Even a car with 200,000 miles on the clock will look as good as new, helped in no small part by the fact that the majority of cars have led an easy life on the motorway. As former company cars, you can be sure that there will be plenty of stamps in the service book.

But why should you buy a used BMW 5 Series over rivals like the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and Audi A6? There are two main reasons: the way it drives and the quality of the cabin.

The 5 Series has always offered the best handling in its class. On a British B-road, the 5 Series will feel as agile as the 3 Series and as playful as a family hatchback.

On a motorway, it’s as comfortable and refined as the E-Class. If you’re considering a Jaguar XF or a Mercedes-Benz E-Class, we’d say the 5 Series offers the best of both worlds.

It was available with a wide range of engines, but most buyers opted for the brilliant 520d. The 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel engine offers a near-perfect blend of performance and efficiency, with enough power to make the most of the sublime chassis. The 530d is a worthy alternative, adding more power and a delightful six-cylinder soundtrack to the mix. There’s only a small penalty in terms of fuel economy.

A 518d is available if you’re on a strict budget, but we’d find it hard to look beyond the 520d. Petrol versions are rare, so you’ll stand more chance of sourcing a BMW M5.

As for spec, British buyers love the M Sport trim, so a 520d M Sport is the most common spec/engine combination. That said, the SE trim packs everything you need, especially if the original owner added a few luxuries from the options menu.

That was one of our criticisms of the car when it was new: the fact that some of the options can make the 5 Series look very expensive. That’s not a problem for you, because the majority of options add nothing to the resale value.

Prices start from £5000, but £10,000 is enough to secure a low-mileage example. That’s a small amount of cash for a car with some big selling points. Other executive saloons are available, but the chance are you fancy a 5 Series. You’re in good company.

Ask Honest John

Can you recommend a transmission specialist?
"I have an RAC warranty on a 2016 BMW 520. A seal on the transmission inlet needs replacing but the warranty only covers labour at £50 an hour not the £160 an hour my main dealer charges Do you know a transmission specialist who could do the work? I live in Maidstone Kent. "
I would expect the warranty provider to give you a list of garages it recommends. If they don't, I'd suggest taking it to a member of
Answered by Dan Powell
Audi A6 vs BMW 5 - which is the better used buy?
"I need to buy a large used car. I've narrowed my choices to a 2017 Audi A6 or a 2016 BMW 530d. Similar miles and price. Which car would you choose?"
I'd choose the BMW because it's better to drive, more comfortable, faster and still pretty good on fuel. Choose the Audi if you need more interior space or just like its design, but the BMW is the superior car in my opinion.
Answered by Russell Campbell
Are diesels a definite no for city driving?
"I'm considering getting a secondhand BMW 3 or 5 Series but the vast majority of my driving is in the city and I rarely do over 20 miles per day. There are some great deals on diesel cars but should I avoid them due to DFP issues? I don't mind taking it for a blast down the motorway once in a while but does that work?"
The feedback we get from low-mileage diesel drivers is overwhelmingly negative. Lots of DPF and EGR problems, all caused by the fact the vehicle seldom reaches its optimum operating temperature. I would advise buying a petrol, hybrid or electric vehicle. A diesel isn't designed for the usage you have described.
Answered by Dan Powell
If I change the battery in my BMW does it need to be reprogrammed?
"I have a 2012 BMW 520d. The battery is the original and would not start the car after not being used for two weeks. It's fine when I use the car regularly. Is this a job I can do myself, or does the battery need to be programmed?"
Yes, the battery will need reprogramming. This is normally done at your local BMW dealership. I have attached a link that explains the reason
Answered by Alan Ross
More Questions

What does a BMW 5 Series (2010 – 2017) cost?