The current generation BMW 5-Series codenamed F10 is about to come to an end as the redesigned 2017 BMW 5-Series (codenamed G30) starts production and hitting showroom floors. The F10 5-Series has certainly lived a successful production cycle since its initial release in 2010 as a 2011 model year. Although the 5er sedan has always been a staple in luxury mid-size sedans, within the 6 years of production of the F10, BMW has had no slump in sales figures despite steep competition from Audi and Mercedes-Benz.
When the F10 came out, it was a significant change from E60 body style made from 2003-2010. The F10 heavily shared characteristics, engines, and technology of the 7-Series minus a few flagship perks. A “same sausage different length” philosophy Audi is particularly know for by enthusiasts. With a new chiseled look similar to the now-classic E39 generation 5er, new turbocharged engine options, and a load of fancy new luxury tech that was in reach. The 5-Series was quick to sell, maintain its popularity and sporty luxury nature. The car had a lot to offer for a $45K-60K price range, a full camera package with rear & side view cameras, LED halo running lights that BMW purists have wanted for ages, a infotainment system with a much easier to use connected drive interface on a 10-inch screen, 8-speed automatic transmission, and an M-Sport package. Everything you would expect in a luxury car and then some. Of course none of these fancy options were standard, the 5-Series could be pretty bare bones without even having leather as standard.
Engine wise you have a few options. The base 528i starts out a 3.0L inline 6-cylinder engine for its first year, then upgrades (or downgrades) to a new 4-Cylinder turbocharged engine. The difference between the 2 engines is very minimal both in power and fuel economy. Step up a notch to the 535i, the most popular and desirable, is fitted with the highly respected 3.0L Turbocharged Inline-6 engine pushing about 300HP. Up at the top before stepping into M territory is the 550i, being fitted a new 4.4L Twin-Turbo V8 pushing a hefty 400HP. On the top is the king M5, which drops the beloved 5.0L V10 in favor of a turbocharged V8, also a 4.4L displacement but with more beefed up internals and more boost to push out 560HP. Transmission wise, there was a standard 8-Speed automatic that did great at reducing fuel consumption, plus a sport automatic variant of the 8-speed that delivers quick shifts for optimal performance and sporty driving. Even though the manual transmission is being phased out in most cars, the F10 was still offered with a 6-Speed manual transmission. Something competitors did not offer.
The F10 5-Series in 2016
Fast forward a few years to 2016 and the F10 is still a great looking car with a lot to offer. The technology, luxurious offerings, and performance of the 5er is very impressive and still offers what other new cars are not. Even cars within its original price range are still lacking the sportiness, unique BMW characteristics, and convenience technology that it now offers at a fraction of the price.
Driving the 5-series after a regular use for a few year, the car certainly still performs very well. Although a lot smoother than its predecessor, it still offers a sporty suspension and responsive throttle on all models across the board.
Price. The 5-series has always been known as BMW’s $50,000 sedan. In 2016, a brand new 528i is now priced at the $50,000 mark, add another $5,000 for the 535i, while the 550i starts out at about $67,000. When the F10 came out, the base 528i started around $47,000, but quickly increases as you add necessary options or go for higher trims levels with more potent engines. After about 6 years of being on the road, the 5-Series has depreciated by $30,000 to $40,000 on average from it’s original sticker price across the board for all models. Putting a used 5-series right into the $20,000 price range with some higher mileage examples going below $20,000. Making the 5-series a serious competitor towards buying something with no premium identity.
Build Quality & Reliability. Despite all the praise about the beautiful and successful luxury sedan. The 5-series has some significant flaws. Cosmetically, premature wear on the interior has been a common issues with many examples we came across, especially when equipped with the cream beige leather interior. Buttons peeling, leather textures fading, and soft touch materials looking like an eye sore was something you would not expect to see in a car of this price range. Of course, this type of wear is expected in a car. However, in comparison to a Mercedes E-class, the interior materials showed a lot more durability and too much longer to show signs of wear the 5-series was showing after only 3 years.
For model years before 2013 the 5-series has not been the most reliable car either. It has been advised by many owners to avoid 2011 models. Transmission problems for both automatic and manual configurations. Excessive battery drain is a common reported issue as well as premature fuel pump failures, and common fuel injector issues on all models. The N63 V8 found in the 550i from 2011 to 2012 has had excessive reports of engine failure occurring at around 60,000 miles from fuel injector issues to turbocharging failure. Most 550i’s we experienced were hesitant to crank and turnover. Not good. However, in 2013 the V8 was revised with increased reliability and a 40 HP increase. When the 5-series was updated in 2014 many of the reliability kinks we’re no longer an issue.
Surprisingly the electronics have managed to stay in shape and work properly. As with all BMW’s the exterior quality has been quite good with no signs of premature wear.
Previous owner care is spotty at best. Some will take care of their 5er’s, others won’t. Do your due diligence.
The F10 5-series has a lot to offer for a luxury mid-size sedan from technology to performance at a comparable price with a BMW badge and a sleek style you cannot say no to. Which is why it’s not on our No List. However, with quality and reliability issues for earlier model years. We would advise anyone in the market to buy a used 5-series to purchase newer than 2013 and look into a purchase one that is certified pre-owned. With BMW, an active CPO warranty is transferrable to the next owner. Which means you can purchase a 5-series with a great warranty without paying the CPO price hike. Of course, the M5 is a very different car and many of the topics covered today do not apply so much to the M5. But with performance of the 5-series, you still own the Ultimate Driving Machine.