BMW 5-Series F10 (2010-on): review, problems, specs

The 5-Series is a top player in the executive saloons segment and one of the few BMWs that you refer at when you’re talking comfort first – all that while remaining the most spirited example among cars of its type. With a broad engine offer and equipment deli, it’s suitable both for families and for middle-management representatives in search for a good office ride. The 5-Series model range has received a mid-life facelift in 2013, increasing its engine and equipment offer.


Pros & Cons
Strong Points

Pros


Strong Points
  • Impressively refined
  • Provides high levels of comfort
  • The most agile in its class

Recommended Versions
Strong Points

Cons


Weak Points
  • Not as practical as you'd expect

Stay Away From
  • 518d
  • The optional equipment list
Strong Points

Attention


Known Problems & Recalls
  • Loss of power brake assist (2012-2013 528i/xDrive)
  • Child seat anchor issue, voluntarily recalled and fixed
Car Details
Powertrain

In the US, BMW offers three petrol engines and one diesel — the 3.0-liter inline six 535d. The petrols are a 2.0-liter four-pot 528i with 242 hp, a 3.0-liter inline six 535i (302 hp) and a 4.4-liter V8 550i with 444 hp. There’s also an ActiveHybrid 5 in the offers list.
Any of these units can also come with the xDrive all-wheel-drive system and with an eight-speed automatic ‘box. Although many of its rivals now have Start/Stop system equipped, the 5-Series was the first in its segment to feature that as standard.
The power unit lineup continues (outside the US) with entry-level 520i gas 181 hp and 518d diesel (147 hp) engines, followed by 520d, 525d and 530d. Besides the 518d, any model can act as an all-wheel-drive also.
You won’t get the feeling that the car is underpowered, regardless your engine choice. There are two range-topping versions so doped that they get an own file — the M5 and the M550d.


Handling

The sixth generation may not get upgraded handling attributes, but evolved instead from the comfort point of view. Still, it’s one of the best proposals in this segment when it comes to having fun in corners.
Its pushed-out axles (with short front and back overhangs) assures a well-composed ride even at high speed, and the grip level and agility are nothing but impressive. It may lack steering feedback — compared to its smaller siblings — but it’s barely noticeable in daily driving.


Safety

BMW 5-Series managed to score five stars in the European Euro NCAP crash testing.
It comes with a suite of airbags for all four side seats — front and head airbags for all four passengers, side airbags for the driver and front passenger — along with electronic safety assistants.
The safety level can be raised with optional features such as front and rear parking sensors (and a self-parking system also), head-up display or adaptive cruise control.

Comfort

The fifth generation dropped out the comfort for the sake of handling and sportiness, being criticized for its stiffness.
The successor learned a lesson and found a perfect way to blend stability and 7-series-alike ride comfort. And that is not even an exaggeration: with its optional rear-axle air suspension, it boasts an outstanding ride comfort.
A longer wheelbase (over the previous model) means a boost of space for the passengers — although, compared to a 3-Series, you could say there’s room for improvement.


Quality

Nothing to mention here, other than 5-Series bears the Bavarian quality marque. Perfectly fitted interior panels, durable materials, and posh finishes. Among its rivals, only the Audi’s A6 can top that, regarding haptic delicatessen.


Practicality

The extended cabin space is accompanied by a fair number of storage spaces and with a boot capacity of 520 liters — a smaller figure than its main premium rivals from Audi and Mercedes, but a decent one nonetheless.
When it comes to modularity, the 5-Series suffers for its non-splittable (yet foldable) rear bench. So if you have longer objects to transport, look after a roof storage accessory.


Infotainment

The latest generation iDrive infotainment system comes with a 6.5-inch display as standard (optionally, you can upgrade it to iDrive Touch, with a 10.2-inch split-screen display), fitted with USB and Bluetooth connectivity and a stereo sound system, naturally.
The tech part can be augmented, optionally, with Head-Up Display, BMW ConnectedDrive Services, rear-seats entertainment and TV function and more blasting sound systems — both Harman/Kardon and Bang & Olufsen.

Efficiency

Although the ActiveHybrid 5 — available from 2013 on — is a good proposal, asking for 36.7 mpg while delivering 340 hp, the best power-fuel efficiency compromise is offered by the four-pot 520d: 52.2 mpg and a total output of 181 hp.


Equipment

On most markets, the 5-Series comes as standard equipment with 17” alloy wheels, Xenon headlights, cruise control, fabric covered seats, multi-function leather-covered steering wheel, automatic air conditioning, along with safety and infotainment features.
It’s comprehensive, of course, but the standard equipment list is well short of the optional features one: you can upgrade your family saloon to a full luxurious executive limo, with 19” wheels, leather/Alcantara holstering and a suite of electronic gems.


Acquisition

If you’re planning to buy one for a three-year period, one of the most successful options would be, naturally, the 520d, whose slow depreciation will put you in advantage when it comes to selling.

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