BMW 5-Series (2002-2009)

It's a BMW, so the assumption is made that it's pretty much unbeatable. Don't be fooled though; you pay a premium for the 5-Series and some other cars - cheaper ones - do the job just as well in the real world. If you can afford the cost, the 5-Series is well worth a look, but engine, transmission, wheel and tyre choices all affect the car more than you might think.

Key Dates

6/03: The fifth-generation 5-Series debuts.

8/03: The 545i arrives.

5/04: The Touring (estate) appears.

1/05: The 525i and 530i get new engines and the 523i supersedes the 520i.

9/05: The 540i debuts, and the 550i supersedes the 545i.

3/07: A facelift brings restyled nose and tail, extra equipment and extra power for all petrol engines.

BMW 5-Series (2002-2009) Checklist

  • Steering racks can leak fluid; check the fluid level and look to see if the gaiters have split or perished.
  • Windscreens are thin and damaged easily by flying debris.
  • The run-flat tyres can perish, and replacements are costly so check how much tread is left.
  • Automatic gearboxes are 'sealed for life', so dealers don't replace the fluid. This should be done every 60,000 miles though; if it isn't, the transmission typically fails after 120-150,000 miles.
  • The ZF automatic gearbox on 231bhp 530ds can fail; listen for clunks when moving from P to R or N.
  • Six-cylinder cars with Efficient Dynamics engines can suffer from failed injectors; it's costly to fix.

We Like

  • Image
  • Build quality
  • Engines
  • Dynamics

We Don't Like

  • High purchase costs
  • High running costs
  • Ugly dash