Used BMW 5 Series Review
- Superb ride quality
- Good equipment levels
- Solid range of engines
- Boot slightly smaller than an A6
- Hybrid option is misleading
- Not the cheapest to insure
BMW’s undisputed class-leading executive saloon sets the benchmark
Since its first introduction in 1972, the BMW 5 Series has consistently set the standard as to what the ideal large executive saloon should be. It has routinely been voted, throughout its many generations, as the best of its kind. The latest model received a 5/5 star review from Whatcar?, and TopGear stated that it is “the undisputed class leader”. It achieves this by incorporating a luxurious interior, exquisite design, incredible practicality, whilst still managing to be a fun car to drive. Despite other brands constant attempts, there is still nothing that comes close to a BMW 5 Series.
Exemplary quality, class-leading infotainment, good standard kit
When you step inside the BMW 5 Series, you are immediately struck by just how well-designed the cabin is. It really is a beautiful dashboard to look at. Sit down, and you will feel exceptional soft-touch materials, that ooze quality. There’s also some lovely chrome finishes, that are the real thing, rather than coated plastic found in other cars. Controls are also easy-to-use, and responsive. You’ll be in awe before you even turn the key.
The 5 Series also excels when it comes to space. There’s a huge 520-litre boot, which is more than enough to fit two large suitcases in the back, or a couple of sets of golf clubs. It may not have quite as much space as an Audi A6, but it’s certainly not small, and is larger than a Mercedes C-Class. It’s also very usable, with a nice squared-off shape that will make cramming lots of items in as easy as you like.
Equipment levels are as you’d expect from a luxury saloon, quite generous. Even the entry-level SE trim comes with an exhaustive list of goodies. Among these, there’s heated leather seats, dual-zone climate control, xenon headlights, front and rear parking sensors, and alloy wheels. There’s also the exceptional iDrive infotainment centre that incorporates a sat-nav, DAB radio, and USB connectivity, all through a 6.5” screen on entry-level models, or a 10.2” screen for more expensive trims.
All in all, the interior of the 5 Series is one that you’d struggle to find better elsewhere. There’s everything you could possibly need here. And whilst optional extras do tend to be on the expensive side, with such impressive standard kit, you’re unlikely to need them.
On The Road
One of the most comfortable cars on the market
The BMW 5 Series has always been considered the best driver’s car in the executive saloon market. With tough competition from the latest Mercedes E-Class, and the Audi A5, the 5 Series still manages to retain this title. For the 5 Series to truly stand out though, you will need to find a car with the Variable Damper Control suspension system. Whilst the standard suspension is still of a high quality, the VDC system is unmistakably better. With this in tow, the 5 Series handles like a dream. You will experience a responsive, agile turn-in, and very little in the way of body roll. The 5 Series is a great car to drive.
It’s also incredibly comfortable. Again, the VDC system is recommended for the full experience, but even without this extra, it’s still as smooth as they come. It handles potholes with aplomb, and long drives become an absolute pleasure. It’s also pretty nifty around town as well, and should handle the road bumps littered around modern cities without too much trouble.
Gearbox options on the 5 Series are as you’d expect. There're four options throughout the range, starting with a 6-speed manual gearbox. For automatic drivers, there’s the standard 8-speed automatic, the same gearbox with paddles, and a sport-orientated automatic for those wanting to have a little bit more fun. They’re all built on the same platform, and it really is a fantastic transmission, whether you’re in the city, on country roads, or hurtling down the motorway.
All engine options offer a good balance
When it comes to deciding how you want to power your 5 Series, you’ve got three options: petrol, diesel, or BMW’s new ActivHybrid system. There’s an engine to meet every need here, from the pocket-conscious, to the eco-friendly, to those who want the power to challenge Ferraris.
If it is power that you want in your 5 Series, the most distinct option is undoubtedly the petrol-powered 550i M Sport. With 449bhp, it’s certainly packing a lot of punch, and it’ll slingshot you from 0-62mph in an unbelievable 4.6 seconds. For a car as big as the 5 Series, that is seriously quick, and is enough to keep up with all but the fastest of supercars.
If it’s eco-credentials that you’re after, there is the hybrid powered ActivHybrid 5. Surprisingly, its figures aren’t as good as the diesel-powered 520d SE. The diesel option is definitely the one to go for, with only 109g/km of CO2 emitted, it’s very good for the planet. This model also happens to be the cheapest to run, and cheapest to buy, so it’s also good for those wanting to save a little bit of money. Achieving 68.9mpg, this model will save you quite a bit of money on fuel, leaving you with extra pennies to spend on the summer holiday.
Whichever engine option you go for in your 5 Series, it’s been built with the expertise of BMW’s engine division, which is respected worldwide. For such a big car, emissions figures are decent, as is fuel consumption, and all but the 518d have enough oomph to put a smile on your face.
Full marks in NCAP safety tests with decent safety features as standard
As with most cars in its class, the 5 Series achieved the highest possible 5-star NCAP safety rating. It’s scores of 95% for adult protection, 83% for child occupant protection, and 78% for pedestrian protection, are also enough to better both the Mercedes E-Class, and the Audi A5. There’s also good standard safety kit. You’ll get six airbags, a plethora of electronic driving aids, and a spring loaded bonnet, that will keep you, your passengers, and pedestrians safe.
Value for money
Competitive running costs
The BMW 5 Series is a reasonably cheap car to run, considering its size. It sits roughly in the same line as its major rivals, so whilst it’s not breathtakingly cheap, it’s also not going to cost you an arm and a leg. One model that beats every car in its class however is the aforementioned 520d automatic. No car of this class can match its low C02 emissions - or incredible fuel efficiency.
Insurance wise, it depends on upon which 5 Series you go for. The range starts in insurance group 30 for the 518d SE, leading right up to group 46 for the 550i Luxury. These are pretty standard for a car in the executive saloon class, so whilst you’re not going to be saving too much, you’re not going to be shelling out more than you should be.
Depreciation after the first year is actually pretty impressive for the 5 Series. But with first-year depreciation as high as 40%, you’re better off opting for an inspected used equivalent.
The BMW 5 Series remains the best luxury executive saloon on the market today. With a fantastic interior, exceptional ride quality, and a good range of engines, the 5 Series should be an option you should seriously consider for your next purchase.
Buying a used BMW 5 Series online with Carspring
If you’re after a used BMW 5 Series for sale, it can all feel like a bit of an ordeal. What, with long days spent around gigantic car supermarkets, or time spent trawling through classified websites, looking for that ideal used 5 Series. Carspring makes it simple. Buy your next used BMW online with the touch of a button. Simply decide on the model you want and choose how you want to pay.
Looking to finance your used 5 Series? Not a problem, we work with our carefully selected finance partners to ensure that, if you’re paying monthly for your used BMW 5 Series, you know you’re getting the best rates. What’s more, with any Carspring used BMW, you also get our 14-day money-back guarantee and 6 months’ free Carspring Warranty. Plus, you don’t have to leave your home. We’ll deliver your used BMW to you at a time and place of your choice.
*This is an approximate figure based on the range of the car’s list price and the AA’s average 1st year depreciation cost of 40%.
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