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

18–55 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

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Ask Honest John

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
The DPF on my BMW 5 Series is blocked - can I add something to clean it?
"The DPF on my BMW 5 Series is blocked. Can I add something to clean it as I only do short journeys, or should I give the car a good run on the motorway?"
There are products that claim to help such as Cataclean but I have received no independent evidence. If you drive long distances regularly the DPF will passively regenerate. If you drive short distances it will try to actively regenerate and this doesn't always work, especially if you switch off mid-regen.
Answered by Honest John
Admiral are trying to unlawfully write off my car - what should I do?
"I bought a 2003 BMW 540i Touring M-Sport in February 2017 from a dealer for £6900. It is a rare model and very high spec. I insured with Admiral fully comp. April 15th 2017, I pranged the front end of the car. Still drive-able, bumper and AC fan damaged. Admiral took the car away to do an assessment. They took the car to a used Suzuki dealership in Cornwall. The Suzuki dealership decided the car would cost £4500 to repair, I could either pay that myself or the car would be written off. Admiral refused to give me a valuation on the car unless I agreed to write it off. I refused to write the car off or pay their extortionate prices and at my own cost had the car moved to a BMW Specialist garage for an assessment. The BMW specialists quoted £1900 for repairs and I gave the go ahead and cancelled my claim with Admiral as it was clear they were never going to help me. The car has now been perfectly repaired but Admiral have emailed me telling me they are writing the car off. I have complained about this and they have essentially said that as their engineers declared it a write off, it is a write off. Their engineers did not inspect the car, only saw low resolution images of the damage. I have a copy of these images and you can see it is only the bumper and fan that is damaged. Is there any way I can get them to remove the Cat C write off? The value in these BMW is in their condition and originality and a Cat C would kill the value of this car."
Yes, if your vehicle has not been subject to an insurance claim, they cannot apply a categorisation on it. Contact them and complain, advising "they have caused significant financial detriment to you by applying a categorisation on a vehicle that they have no lawful entitlement too". Advise them that you will sue the for the diminution in value as a result of their negligence, the vehicle is your vehicle and at no point have they had any lawful entitlement to it. Ask them to provide a copy of the engineers report detailing the repair work required and the market value placed. Then contact the financial ombudsman and also complain to them. Make it clear that no insurance claim was made. If you get stuck, please contact me.
Answered by Tim Kelly

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

Contract hire from £328.47 per month