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

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
What's the best car for private hire work?
"I have about £20k including trade in and am looking for a vehicle for private hire work. What do you think about the Mercedes E-Class?"
Funnily enough I was talking about this with a private hire driver recently. He'd gone for a 2014 BMW 518d auto instead. Bought at 20k miles and now at 150k miles. No trouble apart from routine replacements and he said 67mpg. Reckoned better than the W212 E-Class that most private hire drivers choose.
Answered by Honest John
My 2012 car failed its MoT due to a faulty DRL - is this right?
"A couple of days ago my 2012 BMW 520d failed its MoT due to O/S DRL not working. The dipped and high beams worked fine. It cost me almost £800 to change the whole headlight and the DRL module to pass the MoT. Are they right to do that as my understanding is that DRL rule has changed just last month and only apply on new cars and effectively applicable from 2021. As my car is from 2012, I'm not sure if it applied on my car?"
According to the Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) MoT guidance notes, the new failure category for daytime running lights (DLRs) only applies to vehicles first used from 1 March 2018. Any vehicles built before this date are exempt. For more information, see: You can make a complaint to the DVSA about your car failing the MoT (when it clearly shouldn’t have) here:
Answered by Dan Powell

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