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

My car was damaged by a hit-and-run driver - should I repair it or just sell it?

"My 2013 BMW 520d Touring has done 101,000 miles. But recently I saw that someone had driven into the side of the car and hadn’t stopped or left their details. Both near side doors are scratched and dented, and I’ve been told repairs could cost around £4,000. Other than the damage runs well. I’ve already spent over £1000 having the suspension repaired, and because of its age etc, I’m unsure whether or not I should pay for the repair, claim on my insurance, try and sell it as is, or keep it. Any advice would be welcome."
It is a common situation when running a slightly older car that the cost of repairs stay the same (or even go up) while its value goes down, so you reach a point where you have to invest a sum that is equal to a significant proportion of the car's value in order to keep it running. Ultimately it is a matter of looking at your finances and balancing this with how the car is otherwise running and whether it still suits your needs. If you are keen on keeping the car, and given it is running well and you have recently paid for mechanical repairs we can understand why you would, there may be alternative options to lower the cost of the repairs. If you are used to working on your own car you could source replacement parts and fit them yourself, or you could look for an independent BMW or bodywork specialist - we think the estimate of £4,000 seems quite high. If you can stomach it you could also ignore the damage for a few months while you gather together the money for the repairs. You can of course claim on your insurance for the repairs, but you would need to balance this against the subsequent increase in your insurance premium - it could be as much as 50% due to the value of the claim and that there is no third party to claim from. The final option would be to sell the vehicle, which will of course be less than the market value if the car was intact and still leaves you with the need to replace it, so again this would depend on your available finances. There is no incorrect option as such, it is a case of deciding which option works best for you and your circumstances.
Answered by David Ross

Trade-in price for BMW 520d?

"I’m looking at a 2016 BMW 520d Touring with 49,000 miles, with a 12-month warranty, priced at £17,695. I plan to trade in my 2014 BMW 520d Luxury with 76,000 miles. Both cars have a full service history and are in very good condition. Does the “Luxury” model attract a higher value than the SE model? Roughly, how much should I be changing for?"
If selling in part exchange, expect to receive £10,000 - £11,000. The Luxury trim makes it more desirable and adds £500 - £1000 to the price. SE models tend to start at £9000. You might get a better deal with an online buying service. I'd recommend getting a few quotes before committing to a trade-in. You can find car-buying sites here:
Answered by Dan Powell

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
More Questions

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