11 Best & Worst BMW 5-Series Years (With Facts & Stats)

The BMW 5-Series is a midsize executive sedan that has played a significant role in bolstering BMW’s reputation as the ‘Ultimate Driving Machine.’

Throughout its many generations, it always offers a spacious and opulent interior that is equipped with cutting-edge automotive tech, in addition to class-leading performance and handling.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the best and worst years of the 5-Series from the last two decades.

Here’s The Short Answer To What The Best And Worst Years For The BMW 5-Series Are:

The best BMW 5-Series model years are 2021, 2020, 2019, 2015 and 2007. The worst model years of the 5-Series are 2008, 2012, 2013, 2011, 2006, and 2004. This is based on auto industry reviews, NHTSA statistics, reported problems, and consumer feedback.

What Are The Best Years For The BMW 5-Series?

2021 BMW 5-Series

The 2021 BMW 5-Series was the first year of the seventh generation (G30) 5-Series facelift.

This updated model features new headlights, taillights, and front grille. It also got a larger 12.3-inch screen and the mid-level 540i was upgraded with a 48V mild hybrid system. 

Newer model years only updated some of the options and features, but they’re essentially the same vehicle as the 2021 model.

In addition to its elegant design, luxurious interiors, and comfortable ride, the seventh generation 5-Series has a good reputation for reliability.

  • Edmunds: 4.3 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.6 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 78 / 100

2021 M550i, Edmunds review:

“I have a 2021 M550i.  Extraordinary car.  The comfort factor in this car is the very best I’ve experienced. The variability of seat adjustments is incredible. I have had 13 herniated discs and never have I found a more variable adjustable seat, nor massage modes.  The power (523hp) is insane for a car in this sector. Acceleration is phenomenal and curves are super smooth.” 

“Driving this car is a sublime experience – power, acceleration, solid stance cornering, comfort (the seat adjustability is endless), audio (the Bowers and Wilkens audio is the best I have heard in a car), and pure luxurious fun of driving is incredible.”

2020 BMW 5-Series

Although the 2020 BMW 5-Series doesn’t have the LCI styling updates, it’s often sold several thousand dollars cheaper compared to the facelifted 2021 model.

2020 was also the year the 530e plug-in hybrid got an upgraded 12 kWh battery pack, giving it up to 21 miles of electric range. Older models only got around 15 miles with their 9 kWh battery. 

The 2020 M550i also received a bump in power from 456 to 513 hp. 

New standard features also include a digital gauge display, in-dash navigation, and keyless passive entry.

  • Edmunds: 4.3 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.6 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 78 / 100

2020 530i xDrive, Edmunds review:

“The car is awesome. Very stylish interior and design. The features are awesome. The ride is very nice. I highly recommend this vehicle if you are used to other vehicles in this same class.” 

2019 BMW 5-Series

The 2019 BMW 5-Series lacks many of the important updates of the newer models but it was the first year that Apple CarPlay became standard on all trim levels.

Lots of driver aids also became standard equipment such as:

  • Blind spot monitoring
  • Lane departure warning
  • Forward-collision warning
  • Pedestrian detection
  • Parking sensors
  • Rear cross-traffic alert

Both the B48 engine of the 530i and the B58 of the 540i also have great track records for reliability, unlike some of the powertrains in the older E60 and F10 models.   

  • Edmunds: 4.3 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.6 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 78 / 100

2019 540i, Edmunds review:

“I purchased my 2019 540I in June. The power and handling is amazing. I had a 2017 Mercedes E 300 which only barely had adequate power. The ride is very comfortable.” 

2015 BMW 5-Series

2015 was the year that the F10 5-Series N20 engine got updated timing chain guides which significantly reduced the number of reported engine problems.

BMW only addressed the N20’s timing chain issues in January 2015, so early builds of the 2015 528i might still end up with timing chain problems down the road.

Nonetheless, BMW had also addressed many issues in the N55 powered 535i and the turbo V8 powered 550i by the 2015 model year.

The 2015 BMW 5-Series also has the updated styling and the new diesel variant introduced for the 2014 model year.

  • Edmunds: 4.4 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.4 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 85 / 100

2015 535i, Edmunds review:

“I bought a 2015 535i in 2019 with 30,000 miles, I’ve had it for three years and have had no mechanical or electrical issues. It is manufactured with very good quality, the design is spectacular, the car is spacious, beautiful and very good in the city and on the highway. I have had several cars from other brands and from the same segment or category, but I had many problems with the others.” 

2007 BMW 5-Series

In 2007, the BMW 5-Series still used naturally aspirated inline-6 engines for the 525i and 530i models.

By the 2008 model year, the 5-Series had undergone a facelift and the 530i was replaced by the 535i which was the first year the more complicated turbocharged N54 engine was used.

The 2007 model year also entirely removed the MPM (Micro Power Module) from the trunk and integrated it with another computer behind the glove compartment. This led to less electrical problems overall. 

Though cars of this age will still have lots of BMW issues like electrical faults, oil leaks and coolant system problems, the 2007 models of the 5-Series are going to be easier on the wallet to maintain. 

  • Edmunds: 4.7 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.6 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 84 / 100

2007 530xi, Edmunds review: 

“I purchased my 2007 BMW 530XI, Sport package in March of 2019 with 99,000 miles on it for $5,000.  I now have 119,000 fun filled enjoyable miles.  The styling is still fresh, and I disagree with the terrible E60 Bangle comments all over the internet.  The sedan is perfect for a family jaunt to dinner, but most enjoyable as a single driver and how the car handles on the highway at interstate speeds.  The engine is beautiful, and sounds amazing, no need for sound effect exhaust systems.  The interior is classic, and the I Drive is much simpler than made out to be. Overall, the car is fun and sport driving personified.”

Consumer Scores For Best BMW 3-Series Years

Model YearEdmunds
Consumer Rating
Kelley Blue Book
Consumer Rating
JD Power
Consumer Rating
2021 BMW 5-Series4.3 / 5.04.6 / 5.078 / 100
2020 BMW 5-Series4.3 / 5.04.6 / 5.078 / 100
2019 BMW 5-Series4.3 / 5.04.6 / 5.078 / 100
2015 BMW 5-Series4.4 / 5.04.4 / 5.085 / 100
2007 BMW 5-Series4.7 / 5.04.6 / 5.084 / 100

Related: 17 Best & Worst BMW 6 Series Years (Facts & Stats)

What Are The Worst Years For The BMW 5-Series?

2008 BMW 5-Series

The BMW 535i with the N54 turbocharged inline-6 engine debuted for the 2008 model year. Although it’s very powerful and tunable, the N54 has lots of known issues that can be expensive to fix.

Common problems associated with the BMW N54 include:

  • Turbo failure
  • Leaky fuel injectors
  • High pressure fuel pump issues
  • Carbon buildup
  • Boost leaks
  • Electric water pump failure
  • Oil leaks
  • Coolant leaks
  • Serpentine belt problems

Here’s what one owner on BimmerForums.com had to say 

“I had a 2008 535i which I sold 2 years ago after I was forced into limp home mode twice. Had HPFP replaced twice and 5 injectors replaced. Luckily everything was on warranty. Good car when it ran.”

The 2008 535i had a total of 15 complaints on CarComplaints.com and 150 complaints on CarProblemZoo.com.

Despite these issues, the naturally aspirated N52 engine of the 2008 528i is far more reliable and is easier to maintain. 

2012 and 2013 BMW 5-Series

For the 2012 model year, the 528i switched to the turbocharged 4-cylinder N20 engine which had lots of engine failures in its early years due to premature timing chain problems.

Here’s how one owner described their timing chain problems on CarProblemZoo.com:

“I own BMW 528i 2012. These engines are straight up bad. Timing chain failed at 149k miles with no signs of failure. Just driving down the road when suddenly the car just turns off and goes into neutral on its own. I simply pulled over restarted the car to cylinder misfires, car struggling to accelerate, smoke out the exhaust, and a loud rattling sound.” 

“I pulled over had the car towed. I had my car taken to a independent shop for repairs and diagnostics and what I got told was absolutely crazy. The timing chain guides broke off the timing chain, went down into the oil pump and those pieces settled into the pump restricting oil from going to the top of the motor causing the timing chain to start slacking and breaking from the top.”

Reports of early timing chain problems continued into the next model years.

BMW eventually updated the plastic timing chain guide in 2015, so there should be less failures in the newer cars. Older cars can also get their timing chain guides updated to prevent future issues.

BMW also extended the warranty of the timing chain parts to 7 years/70,000 miles.

The 2012 528i had a total of 12 complaints on CarComplaints.com, 8 of which were engine related, and 181 complaints on CarProblemZoo.com.

The 2013 528i had a total of 11 complaints on CarComplaints.com, 7 of which were engine related, and 144 complaints on CarProblemZoo.com.

On the other hand, 2012 was the year the F10 535i’s N55 engine started using a more reliable water pump, resulting in better expected reliability over the older N54 engine.

Common problems of the 2012 and 2013 528i:

  • Timing chain guide
  • Low oil pressure
  • Oil leaks

2006 BMW 5-Series

The E60 had lots of advanced tech when it was first released, but as parts and wires wear out over time, it’s been  known to have lots of electrical issues.

2006 and older model years of the E60 5-Series had a critical part called the Micro Power Module 

(MPM) in the trunk which had a tendency to get flooded and cause lots of electrical problems in the car.

BMW removed the MPM from the trunk and integrated it with another computer module behind the glove compartment midway through the 2006 model year production run. This means that all 2007 and  newer model years of the E60 5-Series are less likely to have tons of random electrical issues.

It’s also not uncommon to see random warnings on the dash or accessories like the doors, windows and lights not working due to a weak battery or a wiring issue. These kinds of electrical issues will sometimes require a lot of time and patience to properly diagnose.

The 2006 530i only has 2 complaints on CarComplaints.com, but there are over 255 complaints on CarProblemZoo.com.

The 2006 525i has 4 complaints on CarComplaints.com and 137 complaints on CarProblemZoo.com.

Common problems:

  • Weak battery issues
  • Headlight wiring problems 
  • Starter issues
  • Alternator or battery charging problems
  • Random warnings on the dash
  • Door and window issues
  • Wiring issues
  • Ground wire problems
  • Plastic cooling system parts

2011 BMW 5-Series

2011 was the first model year of the F10 generation BMW 5-Series in the U.S. market. Although it got the updated N55 engine, early examples still had many of the issues that plagued its predecessor, the N54.

For example, upon its release, the N55 used the same high-pressure fuel pump as the N54, which consequently led to the same issues of the earlier generation, such as limp mode and hard starting problems.

BMW updated the fuel pump design for the N55 during the 2012 model year, leading to a notable decrease in the number of reported powertrain and engine failures.

The 2011 550i also used the turbocharged N63 V8 engine which had lots of reported problems such as turbo failures, oil consumption, fuel injector issues until it was updated in later builds of the 2014 model year. 

Here’s how one owner described their experience on BimmerPost.com:

“I have a 2011 535i (bought in Aug 2010, N55 engine, no mods etc) with barely 42k miles of which maybe 100 miles were driven “hard”. 

“Around February of this year (2015) I starting having the violent shakes soon after starting and the turbos wouldn’t kick in. 90% of the time, a simple restart would set things back to normal.”

“Then in May, the car overheated (drivetrain malfunction) and turns out the coolant pump and thermostat needed to be replaced for*$1,573.”

“Then, earlier this month (Dec) the shakes started again more frequently and the car felt like it was on a 900cc engine. It just had no oomph.” .

“Dealer diagnoses it and says the HPFP has taken a dive and it’ll be $1,800-ish for that + a new fuel rail. Of course, Turns out there’s a CA-specific recall/warranty on the HPFP for 7 years/70k miles and my new bill will be some $250 for a new low pressure sensor.”

The 2011 535i has 8 total complaints on CarComplaints.com and 141 complaints on CarProblemZoo.com.

The 2011 550i has 12 total complaints on CarComplaints.com and 128 complaints on CarProblemZoo.com.

Common Problems:

  • Fuel pump failure
  • Water pump
  • Turbo failure
  • Oil leaks
  • Valve cover
  • Plastic cooling system parts
  • Timing chain 
  • Valve stem seals (V8)

2004 BMW 5-Series

2004 was the first model year of the E60 generation BMW 5-Series in the U.S. market.

Although base and mid-level models had fairly reliable engines carried over from the previous generation, the 2004 model year of the BMW 545i used the N62 which has a track record for being expensive to maintain and prone to issues.

These early model years of the E60 also had the Micro Power Module (MPM) in the trunk which easily got flooded and caused lots of electrical problems.

Here’s how one owner described their ownership experience on BimmerFest.com:

“Love my 545i sport. I’m at 191k and the car drives like new. I, like other members have mentioned, have had overhauls done to fix valve stems, valley pan, changed out the various seals that leak after 100k.”

The 2004 530i had 163 complaints on CarProblemZoo, many of which were electrical issues. The 2004 525i had 111 complaints while the 545i had 75 complaints.

Common problems:

  • Oil consumption
  • Valve stem seals
  • Coolant leak
  • Alternator bracket
  • Electrical issues
  • Oil leaks

Related: 11 Most Common BMW 5-Series Problems (Explained)

What Years Have The Most Complaints?

Model YearComplaints
2023 BMW 5-Series0
2022 BMW 5-Series6
2021 BMW 5-Series11
2020 BMW 5-Series1
2019 BMW 5-Series18
2018 BMW 5-Series235
2017 BMW 5-Series033
2016 BMW 5-Series216
2015 BMW 5-Series243
2014 BMW 5-Series971
2013 BMW 5-Series16235
2012 BMW 5-Series23304
2011 BMW 5-Series23389
2010 BMW 5-Series2168
2009 BMW 5-Series5130
2008 BMW 5-Series18381
2007 BMW 5-Series5357
2006 BMW 5-Series6468
2005 BMW 5-Series1128
2004 BMW 5-Series7274
2003 BMW 5-Series4117
2002 BMW 5-Series13103
2001 BMW 5-Series6111
2000 BMW 5-Series698
1999 BMW 5-Series293
1998 BMW 5-Series177

What Problems Do BMW 5-Series Have?

  • Cooling system plastics
  • Oil leaks
  • Timing chain issues
  • Serpentine belt failure
  • Electrical problems
  • Fuel injector failures
  • Carbon buildup
  • VANOS issues
  • Fuel pump failure
  • Electric Water pump failure
  • Oil consumption
  • Valve stem seals

What Are The Best Alternatives To The BMW 5-Series?

Make & ModelScoreMSRPFuel Economy (MPG)
Acura TLX7.6$39,650 – $62,000City: 19 – 22 / Highway: 25 -31
Audi A68.3$55,900 – $59,800City: 21 – 24 / Highway: 30 -31
Audi A79$70,200 – $80,500City: 21 / Highway: 30
BMW 5-Series8.5$56,000 – $81,500City: 17 – 25 / Highway: 25 -33
Cadillac CT56.9$38,195 – $90,995City: 13 – 23 / Highway: 21 -33
Genesis G808.4$50,000 – $65,750City: 16 – 22 / Highway: 25 -32
Jaguar XF7.5$47,000 – $52,700City: 22 – 25 / Highway: 30 -33
Lexus ES8.2$41,440 – $50,230City: 19 – 22 / Highway: 25 -31
Maserati GhibliNA$76,200 – $110,600City: 18 / Highway: 25
Mercedes Benz E-Cass8.8$56,750 – $121,100City: 16 – 23 / Highway: 24 -31
Volvo S908.2$57,000 – $70,500City: 23 / Highway: 32

Source: cars.usnews.com, edmunds.com

Related: 19 Best & Worst BMW 7 Series Years (Explained)










  • Ian Sawyer

    Growing up with a father who was a mechanic I had an appreciation for cars and motorcycles from an early age. I shared my first bike with my brother that had little more than a 40cc engine but it opened up a world of excitement for me, I was hooked. As I grew older I progressed onto bigger bikes and...