Here Are the Worst BMW 5 Series Years to Avoid for Used Models

Patrick Oziegbe
Updated On:

When considering a BMW 5 Series, it’s crucial to be aware of certain model years that might be problematic.

As a revered luxury sedan, you may be excited to drive one, but some versions have earned spots on Consumer Reports’ “Used Cars to Avoid Buying” list.

The questionable years are 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2018 models. By paying attention to these warnings, you can choose the most reliable BMW 5 series year and enjoy the luxury and performance BMW has to offer.

BMW 5 Series

Notable Years to Avoid

2011-2013 Issues

During the 2011-2013 period, BMW 5 Series models saw multiple issues worth noting before considering purchasing one in the used car market.

The 2011 BMW 535i and 550i, especially, faced complaints of engine issues as early as 65,000 miles. It includes failures in the water pump that could lead to overheating and engine seizure.

The interior parts and plastic trim pieces are known to be brittle and prone to snapping. These issues are aesthetically displeasing and can impact your safety and driving experience.

2012-2014 Engine Problems

For BMW 5 Series models from 2012-2014, the engine problems persist. A common fault linked to these model years is the timing chain guide and chain, which may break and result in catastrophic engine damage.

Replacing the guides and chain with updated parts typically costs around $2,000 and can help you avoid more expensive repairs in the long run.

In addition to the timing chain issue, these years also saw issues with fuel injector leaks, which might cause poor performance and rough idling.

In summary, if you’re in the market for a used BMW 5 Series, it’s best to avoid the 2011 to 2014 model years due to their various issues and complaints.

Knowing these problematic years allows you to make a more informed decision when settling on your next pre-owned BMW.

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Common Issues

Engine Problems

Early 6th generation BMW 5 Series (F10 model) from 2011 to 2014 experienced timing chain failures that led to catastrophic engine damage, primarily affecting 528i models with the 4-cylinder N20 engine.

Be cautious of oil leaks from the valve cover gasket and oil filter housing gasket, which are also prevalent.

Transmission Issues

For a smooth driving experience, keep an eye on potential transmission problems, especially in models equipped with V8 engines. Don’t overlook any gear-shifting issues or performance dips.

Cooling System Failures

Cooling system issues may arise, including water pump failure and trouble with the thermostat. Regular maintenance of your BMW 5 Series will help prevent costly repairs and prolong its reliability for those additional miles.

Models Overview

5 Series Sedans

The BMW 5 Series offers a variety of sedans to fit your needs, like the 528i530i530i xDrive540i, and 540i xDrive.

Each model has its strengths, but it’s crucial to be aware of potentially problematic years like 2008, 2012, and 2013.

With a focus on fuel economy and powerful engines, your 5 Series might become your go-to daily driver. Just be prepared for repairs and parts replacements, like valve covers or spark plugs, to ensure the best mileage.

M Performance Models

For those considering the high-performance side of BMW, the M Performance Models like the 550i and M5 are worth checking out.

They provide exhilarating performance and driving experiences. However, remember that used 5 Series vehicles may have higher long-term repair costs and be gentle on your wallet.

Always verify warranty coverage and airbag safety when purchasing, and negotiate to secure an MSRP that ensures a good deal.

Reliability Ratings

Consumer Reports

According to Consumer Reports, the 2023 BMW 5 Series offers a range of comfortluxury, and advanced features.

You’ll enjoy lane departure warningblind spot monitoring, and Apple CarPlay integration in this luxury sedan.

J.D. Power Predicted Reliability

However, it’s crucial to consider reliability. J.D. Power gives the 2018 BMW 5 Series a 4.5 out of 5.0 for predicted reliability, an above-average rating. Consider this when evaluating the maintenance and comfort of your potential BMW 5 Series purchase.


BMW Models Comparison

When looking at BMW models, you must consider the years you should pay attention to. In terms of reliability, the BMW 535i has an average rating.

Remember that proper care and preventative maintenance can significantly impact the longevity of your BMW.

For more reliable options, consider the BMW 3 Series or 4 Series. However, if you are interested in luxury sedans, your best bet is a used BMW 5 Series from the sixth generation (2015-2020).

Remember, BMW’s rear-wheel drive system enhances the driving experience and style.

Comparing with Audi Models

Audi models like the Audi A6 and Q5 are worth comparing with the BMW 5 Series. While both brands offer luxury sedans, Audi’s models stand out due to their reliability ratings.

In conclusion, surveying different models like the BMW X1, X3, and X5 is crucial in making an informed decision about your next vehicle.

BMW 5 Series Competitors

In your search for a luxury sedan, it’s essential to consider other options to make an informed decision. Let’s look at three main competitors of the BMW 5 Series: the Cadillac CTS, Infiniti Q70, and Volvo S90.

Cadillac CTS

The best-used Cadillac CTS offers powerful engine options and agile handling that can rival the BMW 5 Series. However, you may find that its interior isn’t as refined or luxurious as its German competitors.

Additionally, the CTS has different styling and design elements, which can be a deciding factor depending on your taste.

Check my side by comparing Cadillac XTS vs CTS models and key CTS vs ATS differences!

Infiniti Q70

When comparing the Infiniti Q70 to the BMW 5 Series, you’ll notice that the Q70 offers a more affordable price point but still packs a strong engine performance.

However, features like advanced technology and interior build quality may not be as polished as those in the 5 Series.

Remember that both sedans offer a comfortable ride and ample space, giving you similar levels of practicality.

Volvo S90

Lastly, the Volvo S90 stands out for its innovative safety features and striking Scandinavian design. At the same time, its powertrains might not be as performance-oriented as the BMW 5 Series, but the S90 provides a smooth, comfortable ride focusing on luxury and safety.

Both sedans come well-equipped with technology and infotainment, but your preferences lean towards one over the other.

Frequently Asked Questions

Best used 5 Series to buy?

The 2016 BMW 5 Series is a great option, offering good value for money. However, it may need more modern features compared to later models.

Most reliable 5 Series engine?

BMW is known for building long-lasting engines, with properly cared-for models reaching over 200,000 miles. Always maintain regularly to ensure reliability and choose a model with positive owner feedback.

What to look for in a used 5 Series?

When buying a used 5 Series, check for regular maintenance and avoid models like the 2011-2013 E70 X5 xDrive50i, which faced a class-action lawsuit over the engine. Feel free to ask for service records and consult forums or mechanics for additional advice.


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