BMW 5 Series Touring (2010–2017)

What's good

BMW 520d Touring SE auto voted Practical Caravan and 'What Car' 1,725kg-1,899kg 2011 Towcar of the Year.

F11 525d SE auto offers a big car with relatively low CO2 emissions and consequently low £135pa tax (2017/2018). 530d SE is significantly quicker and annual tax of £150 is only £15pa more.

What to watch out for

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

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 2012 5 Series Touring led to a water leak into the left side footwells.

22-7-2014: Rear air suspension collapsed on 75k mile 2011 BMW 5 Series Touring. Both BMW dealer and its used car warranty insurer refused to pay citing 'wear and tear'.

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

8-9-2015: Another rear air suspension collapse, this on a 2011 5 Series Touring at 63,000 miles. Also broke the left rear damper. Olympic Warranties refused to pay citing 'wear and tear'.

15-10-2015: Further report of failed rear suspension on a 5 Series Touring, this one a 34k mile 2012 520d. Several weeks wait for the parts.

8-11-2015: Yet another rear airbag failure reported, this time on a 2011 BMW 520d Touring. More than 5 week's wait for the replacement part.

20-11-2015: Complaint of ride quality firming up on 18,500 mile 2012 BMW 520d Touring. Probably rear airbag failure.

25-11-2015: Complaint of failure of rear airbag of 2012 BMW 5 Series Touring. New one has been on order for 7 weeks now and despite repeated chasing, the reader cannot get a date from BMW on when they will be available for fitting.

21-2-2016: Rear air suspension of Used Approved BMW 5 Series Touring failed in October 2015 and took BMW dealer 4 months to get the parts replace it. However, this indicates that the suspension parts are now available.

20-8-2016: Rear suspension airbag deterioration reported on 15k mile 2012 BMW 520d Touring by BMW dealer to customer; cost of replacement quoted at £600.

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.

9-7-2017: Report of two failed a/c condensers and also failed rear suspenson on BMW F11 520d Touring.

6-4-2018: More rear air suspension failure reported, all on the same 2012 BMW F11 520d Touring, purchased used in 2015 and now at 58,352 miles. NSR airbag replaced 19/04/2016 @ 34,100 miles under warranty. OSR airbag replaced 11/01/2018 @ 55,314 miles under warranty. Then on 02/04/2018 both the NSR and OSR rear suspension failed because the air pump which supplies both air bags had failed. NSR airbag also showing signs of degradation and should also be replaced. £1,900 quoted.

10-9-2018: Report of a fatal flaw developing after a year and 12,000 miles in the electronically controlled suspension (Adaptive Drive = Dynamic Drive + Adaptive Damping) of a very highly optioned £65,000 BMW 535d Touring purchased new in late 2014. This caused the car to shake vigorously and collapse on one side. A local dealer pursued the problem ineffectively in conjunction with BMW over many months. BMW had no solution and owner stopped using the car which was totally unfit for purpose. Ultimately, Sytner Coventry agreed that the car would be replaced, so ordered a new car with a £6,000 contributioin from BMW. This was delivered on October 2016, but, after only a few weeks and with just 1200 miles on the clock the car exhibited the same problem, in the first instance shaking violently throughout one 500 mile journey, same as the previous car. Supplying dealer said that there was nothing wrong. Owner insisted and they involved BMW’s regional technical manager who also declared that the car was fine. So owner approached another local BMW dealer and asked them to help, if necessary, at his cost. They responded enthusiastically but were warned-off any further investigation by same BMW regional technical manager who continued to maintain that the car was fine. An appeal to BMW’s customer complaint line was deeply unsatisfactory. Owner then turned to an independent BMW specialist in Derby: Hughes Brothers who evaluated the car thoroughly and confirmed the vibration and ride faults. They then pursued the complex problem in a very determined and systematic way (replacing failed suspension components with parts supplied new by BMW) with some success. But eventually it became clear that the root cause was likely deep in the control system. They advised against throwing further money at replacing expensive control boxes and recommended that we return to the charge with the supplying dealer and BMW. Hughes provided a detailed written report on their assessment of the problem and the work done on the car – and retained all of the failed parts for further examination as necessary. Owner wrote to the supplying dealer and provided the technical report from Hughes late in December 2017. The supplying dealer didn’t respond so owner wrote to the Managing Director who also failed to reply. He wrote again and in parallel put a letter to the dealer chain CEO. All of the letters were signed for on delivery and in each case we enclosed the previous correspondence. The MD finally replied and promised a response from the dealer. The letter that followed falsely denied that we had offered any new information on the problem with the car (the technical report was not acknowledged), attempted to discredit the customer, and rejected any further correspondence except through the motor ombudsman. The letter was evidently intended to cover the dealer’s tracks within the dealer chain and BMW and to taint perceptions of the customer. As the motor industry ombudsman route requires a declaration that no more than a year has passed since first flagging a problem to the dealer, this channel was never feasible and we were suspicious of Sytner’s motives in trying to force this approach. Owner stopped using car at all in Dec 2017 and it has sat unused and unusable since that time – with much its 3-year warranty remaining. Having wasted two years and much money chasing problems with both BMWs, owner bought another new car early in 2018.

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+.

16-4-2019: Despite some EGR coolers coming through and being fitted as part of the massive recall, there are still some gaps not only in supply of the part but also of courtesy and hire cars. Reader with 520d Touring was told (verbally) that the replacement part was in stock, and that an X2 was available for loan (so he could load his fishing tackle). On taking the car in he was informed that it could be 8 weeks as the part was not in stock, then told he coudn;t have an X2, juat an ordinary hiore car that could not carry his fishing gear.

14-6-2019: Report that December 2016 BMW F11 520d Touring needed new front brake discs at 27,000 miles and also new front discs because they had become lipped.

27-6-2019: Report of failure of iDrive of 2016 BMW F11 5-Series Touring 6 weeks out of warranty. it just keeps on rebooting so there's no radio, satnav, reversing camera, etc.


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.

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.

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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