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Used BMW 5 Series review: 2003-2010

EXPERT RATING
8
Graham Smith reviews the BMW 5 Series from 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 as a used buy.

Graham Smith reviews the BMW 5 Series between 2003 and 2010 as a used buy.

BMW’s mid-sizer was the perfect combination of performance, comfort and uber luxury

New

The BMW 5 Series has long been the mid-size benchmark.

Holden even used it as a key marker when developing the original Commodore in the late 1970s.

Back then it didn’t have too many rivals but today the 5 Series has to contend with several competitors in a much more crowded marketplace.

Even so, it retains its appeal. For some that appeal begins and ends with the blue-and-white spinner badge on the bonnet but most 5 Series buyers appreciate its silky-smooth blend of performance, road holding, comfort and luxury.

Open the door and you found an attractive and welcoming interior: neat and simple, ergonomically efficient and characterised by premium materials and quality finishes.

The E60 5 Series, born in the middle of BMW’s experimentation with styling, managed to avoid much of the design excess and arrived as an attractive model with elegant proportions and finely defined lines.

The first E60s rolled into local showrooms in 2003 and many sedan and wagon models were added and revised over its seven-year lifespan.

Open the door and you found an attractive and welcoming interior: neat and simple, ergonomically efficient and characterised by premium materials and quality finishes.

There was good leg and headroom for four, five at a squeeze, and the boot was a decent size.

Under the bonnet you could find one of the numerous engine options, from a modest turbo diesel to a thundering V8.

There were trademark in-line petrol sixes of the sort that BMW is renowned for, in 2.5-litre and 3.0-litre capacity, and the V8s ranged from 4.0-litre to 4.8-litre displacement over the model’s life.

The turbo diesels were a 2.0-litre four-cylinder and a 3.0-litre six.

All delivered good performance for their purpose, even the small six, which had a strong mid-range and a willingness to rev if needed. All were linked to six-speed auto transmissions and drove through the rear wheels. On the road the E60 was smooth, refined and well-balanced.

Roadholding was fine and there was little noise for occupants.

Now

The earliest E60s are getting up towards 200,000km, which should signal the need for caution on the part of anyone buying a used example.

BMWs have massive showroom appeal, the driving experience rewarding but, particularly as the kays climb, they are liable to breakdown like any other car.

The good news is that owners are generally happy with their cars and report few if any problems.

Lift the 5 Series bonnet and check that the engine is clean and free of oil leaks. Look especially around oil filters, rocker covers and front timing chain covers.

Also check for leaks from water pumps, radiators and plastic fittings used in the cooling system.

The 5 Series is loaded with sophisticated tech, such as the iDrive, and it’s important to run through all of the functions to make sure they work.

Make sure you check the head-up display, as this is known to be troublesome, and is expensive to repair.

Also take note of the interior, which should be clean, tidy and free of rips or tears, or cracked leather. Check the headlining to make sure it’s not sagging, as they are prone to do.

The good news is that owners are generally happy with their cars and report few if any problems.

The allure of the badge can sometimes blind buyers who choose to ignore the cost of running a car like the BMW.

Parts are expensive, as are brakes and tyres, which need replacing relatively regularly.

BMWs are expensive to service at a dealer. It’s highly recommended you find a specialist mechanic, who will almost certainly service your car for much less than a dealer and supply more affordable parts.

Pricing

Year Price From Price To
2010 $13,750 $40,480
2009 $13,750 $35,750
2008 $12,210 $34,870
2007 $10,560 $32,890
2006 $11,990 $28,050
2005 $10,780 $32,890
2004 $8,470 $17,050
2003 $6,600 $17,050

View all BMW 5 Series pricing and specifications

Pricing Guides

$8,995
Based on 3 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$8,990
Highest Price
$12,990

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
525i 2.5L, PULP, 6 SP AUTO $10,780 – 14,740 2003 BMW 5 Series 2003 525i Pricing and Specs
540i Executive 4.4L, PULP, 5 SP AUTO $12,760 – 17,050 2003 BMW 5 Series 2003 540i Executive Pricing and Specs
540i Sport 4.4L, PULP, 5 SP AUTO $12,760 – 16,940 2003 BMW 5 Series 2003 540i Sport Pricing and Specs
530i Touring Executive 3.0L, PULP, 5 SP AUTO $8,470 – 11,880 2003 BMW 5 Series 2003 530i Touring Executive Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
8
Graham Smith
Contributing Journalist

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