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BMW 5 Series (2010-2017) Buying Guide

BMW 5 Series (2010-2017)
BMW 5 Series (2010-2017)BMW 5 Series (2010-2017)BMW 5 Series (2010-2017)BMW 5 Series (2010-2017)BMW 5 Series (2010-2017)BMW 5 Series (2010-2017)BMW 5 Series (2010-2017)BMW 5 Series (2010-2017)Pictures shown may not represent exact model specified

by Richard Dredge

Few cars are more complete than the multi-talented BMW 5 Series. Fast, refined, great to drive, with a spacious and beautifully built cabin, the BMW 5 Series is one of the most accomplished executive cars available. A wide range of great engines plus a choice of ultra-practical saloon or estate bodystyles means the 5 Series is incredibly usable and whether you want ultimate performance, outright economy or something in between, there's a 5 Series to suit. The 5 Series isn't the cheapest car around, but running costs can be surprisingly low, all cars are well equipped and none of the engines are weak. So even if you can afford only an entry-level model, you'll never feel short changed.

We LikeWe Don't Like
Great to drive
Lots to choose from
Built quality
Well equipped
Efficient engines
Strong performance
Wide model range
Spacious cabin
High purchase prices
No longer exclusive
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Key Dates 
6/10The sixth-generation 5 Series saloon, codenamed F10, arrives with 523i, 528i, 530i and 535i petrol engines; diesel fans got the 520d, 525d or 530d.8/10
9/10There's a new 5-Series Touring (estate).
9/11The 520d EfficientDynamics is rated at 119g/km; the 520i replaces the 523i, the 528i and 525d get 2.0-litre four-cylinder engines and Drive Performance Control becomes standard range-wide.
5/13A 518d debuts as the range is subtly facelifted with recalibrated suspension, a cleaner 520d and a new twin-turbo 4.4-litre V8 for the 550i.
5/14The 518d and 520d get all-new engines which are cleaner and more efficient than before.
  • Four-cylinder cars ride better with the optional Variable Damper Control; six-cylinder models are better if they have Adaptive Drive.
  • CO2 emissions vary depending on trim level as well as whether there's a manual or automatic gearbox.
  • The pedals are offset to the right so if you're buying a manual you might find the skewed driving position is uncomfortable.
  • Wheels shouldn't be any bigger than 18 inches in diameter; 19-inch rims lead to a crashy ride, tramlining and poor grip in the wet.
  • Some find the standard seats don't offer enough support, so the optional lumbar support or Sport seats are worthwhile.
  • A reversing camera doesn't come as standard on most editions, but due to poor rear visibility it's worth buying a car with one.
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