BMW 5 Series (2010–2017)

What's good

5-Star NCAP rating, 95% Adult Protection, 85% Child Protection, 78% Pedestrian Protection, 100% Safety Assist.

Excellent auto stop braking system holds car even when reversing up an incline.

3-1-2019: Extremely positive report of 2014 BMW 518d auto used as a taxi. Now at 150,000 miles, no faults apart from routine replacements and 67mpg on the motorway.

What to watch out for

Controls for the radio/satnav/phone system are on the wrong side of the console for RHD cars.

Steering of 520d on standard tyres is over-light and lacking in 'feel'.

A problem with the new 535i single turbo engine was not resolved by July 2010. Some cars arrived at UK dealers and could not be delivered.

If the car has Bluetooth and the owner has their mobile phone synced to the car then if the car is not locked / all electrics shut down the car will keep trying to search for the phone and drain the battery.

28-4-2011: The start volume of the navigation instructions is very low and can only be turned up when the system is speaking (which means waiting to catch the spoken instructions). The volume needs to be turned up via the steering wheel volume control. If you use the radio volume button you turn up the radio as well and the two volumes are not compatible. When you stop and switch the engine off the volume goes back to its original low setting and you need to start all over again. BMW has changed the radio/SatNav systems in cars produced from approx September 2010 so they do not have this problem, but earlier F10s cannot be upgraded.

3-2-2012: In the USA some 2011 528i models may have a loose vacuum line. In T.S.B. 110911 issued on Nov. 1, BMW said that the line controlling the turbocharger waste gate might become disconnected, leading to a loss of horsepower. Installing hose clamps on the line should keep the connection secure. The pump verifies that the fuel system is sealed and not letting vapors escape, as required by pollution-control laws. In T.S.B. 010511 issued on Dec. 1, BMW said the part would be covered on 2007-8 X5 3.0si models for 10 years or 120,000 miles. (Source: New York Times; Automobiles.)

13-3-2012: Two cases of excess front tyre wear within a week of each other requiring expensive re-alignment.

7-10-2012: Shortage of 'official' BMW windscreens with a 4-5 week wait.

9-5-2013: Seems to be a problem of some 5 Series pulling to the left. Not clear which engines and drivetrains and which tyre combinations are affected. Some F10s come on different sized tyres front to back.

30-9-2013: Warning about the 'Mobile Application Preparation (6NR)' option at £130. This is ESSENTIAL because it enables the iPhone ‘BMW Connected Drive’ app, including web radio. BMW UK officially doesn’t or won’t support a retrofit of 6NR (though 'fixes' are available via idependent specialists).

22-3-2014: Badly fitted blanking plate for LHD steering column in RHD 2012 5 Series Touring led to a water leak into the left side footwells.

9-5-2014: Seems to be a problem of a/c condensers being damaged by stones, to the extent that parts availablilty has dried up. Apparently 5,000 are on back order worldwide; 463 in the UK alone.

23-6-2014: Plague of stone damaged unprotected a/c condensers on 5 Series has led to a shortage of condensers. Need to be protected with aftermarket grilles

25-2-2015: N47 timing chain failure on 74k mile 2011 520d SE Touring. Being fixed by the dealer with modified parts.

27-6-2015: Front wishbone bushes of 2012 BMW 5 Series failed at 37 months old and 28k miles. BMW and its dealer refused to cover either under goodwill or under an extended BMW warranty without payment of a £250 excess.

2-8-2015: Timing chain failure reported on 2010 BMW 520d with the N47 engine. Quoted £6,500 for engine repairs. The reader did not supply the mileage or the service regime of the car; only that the last service was 800 miles overdue.

21-8-2015: BMW 520d N47 now being recalled for replacement of timing chain tensioner and also the belt if it has stretched. In one case, after the repaire to a 3-year old, the engine suffered pistion failure and the entire engine was replaced at a cost of £790 to the owner.

23-9-2015: Timing chain failed on 2010 BMW 520d N47 at 83k miles in France. Owner left stuck by the independent dealer who sold her the car.

30-10-2015: Corrosion of Printed Circuit Board on BMW 5 Series led to failure of a Daytime Running Light and failure of MoT.

17-2-2016: Report of 2010 520d starting to contaminate its oil when activbely regenerating its DPF.

7-5-2016: Another report of rising oil level in a 2011 BMW 520d.

8-5-2016: Report that failed a/c condensers on 5 Series is now admitted as failure of poor quality soldering of the condensers themselves, not stone damage. Reader has now suffered this failure twice. BMW TSB notice now issued to replace these a/c condensers when cars are in for a service.

22-5-2016: Report of another failed a/c condenser, this time on a 2014 5 Series with 23,000 miles. Once again a shortage of parts and owner quoted a month's wait.

5-7-2016: Report of stop/start starter motor of 2013 BMW 520d burning out at 16.350 miles. Replaced within 24 hours under warranty, but would have been £1,000 plus if not covered.

13-7-2016: Manual transmission of 2011 520d popping out of gear.

25-8-2016: Report of clutch and DMF of 2011 BMW 520d with full BMW service history failing at 63k miles.

7-9-2016: Report of problems with automatic transmission of BMW 530D Touring. Lost drive. Transmission sump had been leaking and BMW deaer told owner that BMW had supplied software upgrades for the box and that it had insufficient oil lubricate the clutch packs. New plastic oil pan fitted. But a year later started leaking again and a 2nd new plastic oil pan was prescribed.

5-12-2016: Manual transmission problems reported with 35k mile approved used BMW 520d: Two months into ownership rattling and low howl/whining noises were coming from the gearbox area and there was significant juddering when setting off (but only after urban stop start driving). The rattling noise was noticeable at 40-50 MPH but only when the engine was driving the wheels i.e. when accelerating or maintaining speed – not when the car was slowing down or “coasting” while in gear. The whine/howl was noticeable in all driving conditions for a few seconds after the throttle was released and the engine was no longer driving the wheels. The juddering is noticeable only following stop start urban driving. Only when setting off from first gear (not reverse or second) and when the car had warmed up after a period of driving. BMW replaced the gearbox at FoC due to an internal gearbox fault. BMW confirmed that the clutch was only 30% worn which is about right for the mileage. The symptoms disappeared for a few months once the gearbox was replaced. Vehicle use in the intervening period included a few long motorway trips but primarily commuting or approximately 1 hour on 40 – 50 mph roads. A few months and a few thousand miles later the same symptoms have returned. Forums apparently suggest: worn/failed engine mounts, dual mass flywheel issues, throw out bearings worn, and Clutch Delay Valve problems for the juddering. We thing Dual Mass Flywheel.

9-2-2017: Complaint of water leaking into rear footwell of BMW F10 5 Series from the lowest point of the rear doors because the waterproof membrane inside the door perforates.

6-9-2017: Report of 2016 BMW 520d Touring sooting up its EGR valve at 11,000 miles. Owner called out BMW Assist and the technicial had a vanload of replacement EGRs, one of which he fitted to the reader's engine. Probably needs to be run solely on Superdiesel and the oil changed every 10,000 miles.

24-9-2017: Another report of EGR problems with an BMW 520d, this one a 2015 at 13,000 miles. Amber drive train warning came on. Had started losing coolant due to EGR valve and cooler failure. Excellent service from BMW emergency service and their Mondial assistance. Fixed under warranty.

24-11-2017: Complaint of poor heater output from 2010 BMW 5 Series.

20-3-2018: Report of steering issue with 2016 BMW F10 5 Series. Pulls strongly to the right occasionally, reluctant to self centre at other times, and feels unstable at speed. This is not a tyre or tracking issue as thay have been checked.

13-12-2018: Report of BMW 520d Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) cooler going "into meltdown" while owner was driving, forcing him and wife "to make a rapid exit from the car as smoke poured from the engine compartment." Goes on to say, "It's been a long sorry story to get BMW to acknowledge the seriousness of this incident and I'm wondering whether there are others out there who have experienced similar 'meltdowns' and, more worringly, are there others driving around unaware of the danger beneath the bonnet of their iconic BMW 5 Series?" Subsequently, after complaining, he received the Vehicle Safety recall notice to replace the Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) cooler for exactly the problem he experienced. (This is the subject of two separate recalls and recall notices have been going out to owners in February 2019. If the car needs a new EGR Cooler, to avoid liability for car fires, it will be retained by the dealer until the relevant parts become available.)

29-12-2018: Report of coil spring failure (with a bang) on the motorway on a 2011 BMW 525d 3.0 Auto.

6-1-2019: Report of 2014 BMW F11 535d Touring needing five replacement 245/40/19 98Y Continental Excellence runflat tyres due to pothole damage. Tyres now insured with Kwik-Fot at £18.99 a tyre because replacements are £190+.

13-2-2019: Multiple system failure reported on 2011 BMW 528i: Brake system Drive Moderately ; Restraint system ; Pedestrian protection system ! ; Steering Drive moderately; Windscreen wiper ; Parking brake only partially available. Also speedo, main beam lights, horn wouldn’t work. Car was still on original battery so this was replaced and the new battery electronically registered to the car. But the faults reappeared after 5 days.

3-3-2019: Report of N47 timing chain failure in 2011 BMW 520d at 107,000 miles. Owner heard a rattle. Continued driving for 20 miles. BMW dealer says engine severely damaged as a result.

6-3-2019: Report of standard 'Connected Drive' 'Business' satnav of 50k mile 2014/64 BMW520d occasionally re-booting mid journey after which it then continues working.

13-3-2019: Rogue satnav updateseems to be circulating via an email link. Owner thinks he fell sucker to a non-BWM email. It seems to have the satnav information and they have sent an FSC code but the install does not prompt me to insert the FSC code. Now cannot re-boot the i-Drive.

22-7-2019: report of engine failure of 2015/65 BMW 520d 3 weeks after recall work for EGR valve when it also had a BMW health check. (Previous service had been independent.) BMW dealer wants £1,500 to investigate cause of engine failure before deciding if the supplier is liable under Sale of Goods. Owner asked BMW to replace the engine out of goodwill but they will not do this unless their investigztion confrms a manufacturing fault.

3-10-2019: Report of n/s adaptive headlight of 60k miles 2011/61 BMW F10 520d filling with condensation and sending fault codes: "Side/Daytime lights fault". BMW dealer quoted £2,736 to replace it: £1,400 for the light and the rest labour because the front bumper has to be removed to carry out the job. A possible option is to use an independent BMW specialist and switch to a cheaper lighting system. (Dealer later reduced the cost to £1,800.)

4-12-2019: Report of battery problems with 2011 BMW F10 520d. At 40,000miles computer indicated that the battery needed replacing. This was tested under warranty, nothing was found and the computer was reset. In 2015 at 47,000 miles the same problem occurred. Local independent BMW specialist recommended a new battery and one was fitted. In March 2019 at 65,000miles the same problem occurred yet again with the same diagnosis. Owner told told that gel batteries only last 3/4 years and this was replaced at a further cost of £300. Then in November 2019 at 69,000 miles the computer again told the owner that the battery needed replacing. The battery was tested and all was ok. The fault was being caused by an intermittent failure of a defective IBS lead to the battery which the garage says is a known problem with BMW. Confirmed a new IBS lead was required ( to be imported from Germany ) along with DDE software. Total cost £536. Not cheap.

13-2-2020: Report of failure of transmission of February 2005 BMW 520D at 90k miles. Full BMW service history. BMW dealer said they would pay 40% of cost of replacement but still left owner with a £7,000 bill. (See 5-12-2016; 35-8-2016; 13-7-2016.)

15-2-2020: Report of failure of audio amplifier of 43,000 mile 2014 BMW 5-Series. This provides the sound for the radio, park distance control and other audible warnings. Estimated cost of repair £1,500 including fitting and VAT. Out of warranty complaint to BMW UK retrieved £500 in goodwill.


17-11-2011: R/2011/147: BMW 5 Series with turbochargers (small number of cars): SHORT CIRCUIT MAY OCCUR. Due to the ingress of moisture, it is possible that a short circuit can occur in the additional coolant pump for the exhaust turbocharger. The driver will be informed of the issue by a warning message on the display in the instrument panel. If not addressed, it is possible for further heat build up in the pump, which may cause the plug connection and housing to melt and in extreme cases, a localised fire in the engine compartment or vehicle. FIX: Recall all affected vehicles for the replacement of the additional coolant pump. Total 557 BMW X6, X5, 5,6 & 7 series and BMW Alpina B5 & B7 BITURBO, Build Dates: 16-11-2007 to 02-02-2011.

15-4-2012: American National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) recall stating that the circuit board for the electric auxiliary water pump can overheat and this could lead to a smoldering of the pump or an engine compartment or vehicle fire. The recall covers 69 examples of the 2011 Rolls Royce Ghost and 2,846 BMW models equipped with 8- or 12-cylinder turbocharged engines including the 2011 5-Series sedan, 2011 5-Series Gran Turismo, 2012 6-Series Convertible, 2012 7-Series, 2012 X5 and 2012 X6.

27-4-2012: R/2012/049: BMW 5 Series (GT & Saloon), X5, X6, 7 Series, 6 Series Convertible (8 & 12 cylinder engines) and Alpina B5 Biturbo (Very Small Numbers): Repeat recall of R/2011/147 now only 21 vehicles involved in total. FIRE MAY OCCUR. Some engines are fitted with an additional water pump for the turbo charger. In some circumstances, a crack may develop, which then leads to melting of the plug connections and the housing. Further heat development may then lead to scorch damage. In exceptional cases, such overheating can lead to smouldering of the water pump. If smouldering occurs, an engine compartment fire and vehicle fire cannot be excluded. The water pump will be replaced for a new more robust version.

24-5-2012: R/2012/039: BMW 5 Series, 5 Series Touring, M5 Saloon, M5 Touring, 6-Series Coupe, 6 Series Convertible, M6 Coupe, M6 Convertible & Alpina (Total 128,701 Vehicles). RISK OF FIRE: The positive battery cable, routed from the vehicle battery to the engine bay, consists of one cable in the luggage compartment and one cable in the underbody. Both cable are connected by a screw connection and covered by a plastic cover. In single cases the plastic cover may have been fitted incorrectly during the vehicle production. Over time, an incorrectly fitted cover could cause the screw connections to come loose, leading to an increased resistance, also humidity may affect the connection and cause high resistance and drop in current. This can lead to the vehicle not starting and in extreme cases the connection could over heat leading to the possibility of a fire in the luggage area. FIX: The clips on the battery will be checked the cover replaced and sealed. BUILD DATES: 01-09-2006 to 31-07-2010.

15-4-2014: Worldwide recall of 489,000 BMW cars with six-cylinder 2.5 and 3.0 litre petrol engines of which less than 3,000 are in the UK. These are: N51 (1991-1995), N52 (from 2005) and the N55 6-cylinder petrol turbo (from 2009). The screws for the housing of the adjustment unit of the variable camshaft timing (Vanos) for the intake and exhaust camshafts could potentially become loose or break. An engine warning lamp ‘should ’ appear in such circumstances, but if drivers experience any loss of power they should contact their BMW dealer immediately.

30-4-2014: Just-Auto gives further details of BMW VANOS bolts recall in the USA: BMW of North America is recalling 156,000 cars from model years 2010 through 2012 due to Vanos bolts breaking causing petrol engines to stall. Models include 2010-2011 MY 128i Coupe, 128i Convertible, 328i Sedan, 328i xDrive Sedan, 328i Coupe, 328i Convertible, 328i Sports Wagon and Z4 sDrive 30i. And 2011-2012 MY 135i Coupe, 135i Convertible, 335i Sedan, X5 xDrive 35i, and X6 xDrive 35i, 2011 335i xDrive Sedan, 335i Coupe, 335i Convertible, 528i Sedan, 535i Sedan, 535i xDrive Sedan, X3 xDrive 28i, and X3 xDrive 35i, 2010 X3 xDrive 30i, and X5 xDrive 30i, 2012 640i Coupe, and 640i Convertible and 2010-2012 535i Gran Turismo vehicles. In the affected vehicles, the bolts that secure the housing for the variable camshaft timing adjustment (VANOS) unit can loosen over time and may possibly break. BMW notified owners, and dealers will replace the four VANOS housing bolts for both VANOS units (intake and exhaust), free of charge. The recall began in May 2014. In addition, owners of approximately 170,172 model year 2010-2012 BMWs with inline 6 cylinder petrol engines not covered by this recall receive an extended warranty to address this condition. Owners may contact BMW.

28-7-2014: R/2014/068 BMW 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, X1, X3, X5, Z4 Build Dates 1-9-2009 to 30-11-2011: Concern : ENGINE EMERGENCY MODE MAY BE ACTIVATED DURING DRIVING Description : The screws retaining the variable camshaft timing (VANOS) housing may loosen and under certain circumstances the heads may break off. This can lead to the VANOS leaking oil internally and adversely affect the valve timing adjustment. If found to deviating from targeted data the engine emergency mode will be activated. This will be indicated by a distinct change in engine running. The orange engine management warning lamp and a check message; On vehicles with N51/N52 engines this will appear at ignition recycle, on N55 engine it will display immediately. Remedial Action : Replace bolted connection of the VANOS adjustment unit.

21-8-2015: BMW 520d with N47 engines are being recalled for in-service replacement of the timing chain tensioner and the timinc chain itself it it has stretched excessively. Seems to apply irrespective of mileage.

Unknown Date: BMW TSB notice now issued to replace a/c condensers of 5 Series when cars are in for a service. They fail due to poor quality soldering of the seams.

8-8-2018: Reuters report kindly forwarded by that BMW Korea is recalling over 106,000 cars after a group of customers filed a lawsuit against it and one of its local dealers over faulty parts that allegedly led to engine fires. The recall mainly affects the 520d, and the fault is understood to lie within the exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) system. According to local reports, 28 BMWs have caught fire on the South Korean motorways since December 2017 of which 19 were 520ds. The lawyer for the owners of four of the affected 520ds has lodged a complaint with the Seoul Central District Court against BMW Korea and its dealer Deutsche Motors, seeking damages of KRW5m (US$4,470) per client for safety concerns and vehicle depreciation. Other compensation cases have also been filed, claiming twice that amount. The South Korean importer and distributer of BMW and Mini vehicles promised to complete the hour-long inspections within two weeks by keeping its service network open 24 hours per day. Any defective parts will be replaced free of charge and alternative vehicles will be made available if required, the company said. The Korean recall was then extended to 324,000 diesel vehicles in Europe. BMW is now widening the recall to Europe, with 96,300 vehicles affected in Germany, to replace the module if the fault is confirmed, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung said on Tuesday, citing BMW.

25-10-2018: Recall due to problem with exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) cooler on four-cylinder and six-cylinder diesel engines. The issue affects 268,000 BMW diesel cars in the UK, The recall notice states that a glycol-leakage from the EGR cooler may cause soot deposits to smoulder, melt the intake manifold and (in some cases) cause the car to catch fire.

5-11-2018: R/2018/258: BMW 5 Series Saloon Touring X3 X4 X5 3 series SaloonTouring Gran Turismo 4 series Gran Coupe Coupe Convertible 1 series 2 series Coupe Convertible: EXHAUST GAS RECIRCULATION COOLER COULD POTENTIALLY LEAK OVER TIME. The EGR cooler may leak,presenting a fire risk. FIX: The EGR cooler will be replaced with an im1,2,3,4,5,6,7 series, X1, X3, X4,X5, X6 proved version. VINS: WBA5E32010D787200 to WBA5E52090G721309
WBAWZ520300C23501 to WBAWZ520200T61737
WBA5L32090D788200 to WBA5L32080G540082
WBA8Y52030GV49900 to WBA8T32090G440750
WBA8H72030K508000 to WBA8J92060K784073
WBAXX120300G75029 to WBAXX120500U99954
WBA4E92050GA24001 to WBA4E92040G711998
WBAKT420X00M46500 to WBALS020600U16054
WBA1W52000P938100 to WBA1W720405A35328
WBA1S52040P809000 to WBA1S520805G80550
WBA2L72060V282201 to WBA2L52030V377125
WBA8D12080K488500 to WBA8F92050K773499
WBA2G72090V254204 to WBA2G520X0V661310
WBA4U320505A00101 to WBA4U320805A01842
WBA4P72060KW10800 to WBA4P72000K784670
WBAJC52070G579000 to WBAJC52090G579001

Build dates: 12-12-2013 to 17-8-2016

7-12-2018: R/2018/341: BMW 1,2,3,4,5,6,7 series, X1, X3, X4,X5,X6: EXHAUST GAS RECIRCULATION MODULE COOLER COULD LEAK. The EGR cooler may leak,presenting a fire risk. FIX: A visual inspection of the EGR cooler to check for leaks and excessive build-up of deposits. The EGR cooler will be replaced if required. VINS: WBALZ72050C955400 to WBA6G12070GT41585;
WBA1N32080J156802 to WBA1E72080J275800
WBAKS420900C48805 to WBAKS620600P86421
WBA1C520X0E981900 to WBA1C92000P879744
WBALX72020DL73500 to WBA6J120X0GD54982
WBAKV220600H12502 to WBAKV220000R00350
WBA3P320X0KE99000 to WBA3S92040K580945
WBA3U12020J848604 to WBA3U52090P658917
WBAWY52050LL19001 to WBAWY520400R03858
WBA3E120X0F161709 to WBA3E52090K615205
WBA3Y32040DZ26301 to WBA3Z92090D862921
WBAXX520100F90603 to WBAXX520900F90817
WBA3L52010F191503 to WBA8J72020K574090
WBA1H12030VW99902 to WBA1H32000V352393
WBA4B52030D572501 to WBA4G12000G298909
WBAVZ92010VR60201 to WBAVM72010VS55143
WBAYG42040DW89405 to WBAYG420X0D999896
WBAYC22040C999401 to WBAYC22070D255561
WBAXB72050DM70500 to WBA5J72090D222311
WBAXC62020DW87400 to WBA5N42050D287742
WBA6A62080DG65003 to WBA6E220X0GA38220
WBAFW92040C960900 to WBA5D52080GL96378

Build dates: 12-3-2011 to 25-4-2015

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