An In-Depth Guide to Buying a Used BMW 5 Series

An In-Depth Guide to Buying a Used BMW 5 Series in 2024

Are you in the market for a used BMW 5 Series and want great value for your money?

If so, you may have noticed how challenging it can be to find a good quality car that fits your budget.

Luckily, it is possible; you just need to know where and how to look.

In this guide, we’ll help you find that perfect used BMW 5 Series at the lowest price possible — no stress included!

4 Things to consider when buying a used BMW 5 Series

So, how do you know which specific 5 Series is the best choice?

To find out, here are four of the most important factors to consider:

1. Generation and model year

When buying a used BMW 5 Series, it’s essential to pay attention to the generation and model year of the vehicle.

The 5 Series has undergone several transformations, each bringing new features, technologies, and design elements.

As a result, two cars of the same make and model (BMW 5 Series) can look and feel vastly different depending on their respective generations.

For example, the E39 5 Series unveiled in 1995 had a crisper, more angular body for a timeless aesthetic.

BMW E39 5 Series blue

By contrast, the E60 5 Series, first released in 2003, boasted impressive interior and technological enhancements, such as the iDrive infotainment system.

Here is a complete list of BMW 5 Series generations:

  • E12 (1972-1981). Known for its sleek design and advanced technology for its time.
  • E28 (1982-1988). Known for its spacious interior and improved handling.
  • E34 (1989-1995). Known for its advanced suspension system and performance.
  • E39 (1995-2003). Known for its dynamic handling and sporty driving experience.
  • E60 (2003-2010). Known for its bold design, powerful engines, and features.
  • F10 (2010-2016). Known for its sleek design and luxurious comfort.
  • G30 (2017-onwards). Known for its futuristic design and cutting-edge technology.

By considering the generation in your search, you can ensure that you like the look of the 5 Series and that it’s up-to-date with the latest features!

2. Vehicle history

When buying a car, there’s no surefire way to ensure you’re getting the best of the bunch.

This is why many car buyers seek out vehicle history reports for extra reassurance.

For example, if you’re looking to buy a BMW 5 Series, purchasing a vehicle history report from CarVertical is an absolute must.

CarVertical homepage - Where to get a vehicle history report

Not only is it easy to use, but it also provides accurate information on the vehicle’s history, such as accident history, service records, and odometer readings!

A complete vehicle history report may be the best investment you can make before buying your 5 Series!

If you’re interested, enter your vehicle’s registration below:

If you’re not from the UK, you may also require a VIN number. You can find the VIN in several places on the car. The most obvious location is on the dashboard, just below the windscreen on the driver’s side:

Where to find the VIN of your car?

With CarVertical, you can have confidence that you’re making a wise purchase when getting a used BMW 5 Series. Click here to get your CarVertical report now!

3. Service history

The service history can provide valuable information about the vehicle’s past maintenance and repairs.

In simple terms, it gives you a sense of how well the vehicle has been cared for.

When reviewing the service history, there are a few specific things to look out for.

Firstly, check for regular oil changes and filter replacements. This will indicate if the previous owner was keeping up with regular maintenance, which is essential for the vehicle’s longevity.

Also, try to find any records of significant repairs, such as a new timing chain or even a new engine. These repairs are costly, so it’s important to know if they have been done and if there is any warranty remaining.

Tip: You can find more information about the replacement interval and failure symptoms of the BMW 5 Series timing chain here.

Sometimes, you will also find recall or technical service bulletins that have been performed on the vehicle. These are important safety and performance-related updates that the previous owner should have done.

BMW 5 Series service history in infotainment system

Another important factor that goes together with service history is mileage.

Obviously, a lower mileage vehicle will generally have less wear and tear than a higher mileage vehicle.

However, a higher mileage vehicle that is well-maintained and serviced regularly can still be an excellent option. It’s likely even better than a low-mileage vehicle that was trashed all its life!

4. Optional extras

When buying a used BMW 5 Series, it’s essential to look at the list of optional extras that the vehicle is equipped with. These optional extras can greatly enhance the vehicle’s performance, comfort, and overall driving experience.

BMW 5 Series M Sport interior

Features that are highly sought-after with used BMW 5 Series include:

  • An automatic transmission.
  • The upgraded and bigger iDrive infotainment screen.
  • Leather seats.
  • An M-Sport interior and exterior package.
  • A Harman Kardon sound system.
  • A rearview camera.
  • A panoramic roof.
  • Seat heating.

A BMW 5 Series with many options is worth more than one without them!

Taking the extra step to research these options will ensure that when you commit to a used BMW 5 Series, it is an optimal match for your needs.

And if you’re not happy with the optional extras on your car, you can always get some new mods or accessories for it!

3 Picks for used BMW 5 Series that offer the best value

Here are our top three picks for the BMW 5 Series that currently provide the best value on the second-hand market!

1. F10 BMW 520d (2010 – 2016)

BMW F10 520d 5 Series
Engine2.0-liter turbocharged diesel
Power184 hp
Used price range£4,000 – £20,000
Price when new+- £40,000
Maximum saving90%
Real-world fuel economy42 UK MPG (6.7 L/100km) (Source)

If you’re looking for a used BMW 5 Series, the F10 generation BMW 520d is one of the best deals you will find.

High-mileage 520d’s start around £4,000, which offers you a whopping 90% saving over their new price!

Yet, for that price, you will still get a high-quality luxury vehicle with amazing features and performance.

Under the hood, the 520d is powered by a turbocharged diesel engine that delivers a potent combination of power and efficiency.

The engine produces 184 horsepower and 380 Nm of torque, allowing for a smooth and responsive driving experience. Additionally, the 520d is equipped with an 8-speed automatic transmission, which provides quick and smooth gear changes.

And with a fuel tank capacity of 15.4 UK gallons (70 liters), you could theoretically enjoy that comfort for 906 miles (1458 Km) before filling up again!

Note: Remember that the minimum gas type for the BMW 5 Series is mid-grade (89 octane) gas.

2. G30 BMW 530e (2017 – 2019)

BMW G30 530e 5 Series
Engine size2.0-liter turbocharged petrol & electric motor
Power252 hp
Used price range£14,000 – £35,000
Price when new+- £55,000
Maximum saving75%
Real-world fuel economy50 UK MPG (5.7 L/100km) (Source)

For those looking for a newer and even more efficient used 5 Series, the BMW 530e is an excellent choice.

As part of BMW’s G30 generation of 5 Series, this plug-in hybrid packs a punch with its twin-turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that delivers power through the automatic 8-speed transmission.

With up to 22 miles of all-electric range and 50 UK MPG combined, the 530e misses nothing when it comes to providing efficiency.

You can be sure that you are getting a vehicle with modern features such as an intuitive infotainment system, multiple driver aids, and more. It makes the G30 520i a great value buy today!

3. G30 LCI BMW 520i (2020 – onwards)

BMW G30 LCI 520i 5 Series
Engine size2.0-liter turbocharged petrol
Power184 hp
Used price range£25,000 – £50,000
Price when new+- £55,000
Maximum saving55%
Real-world fuel economy40 UK MPG (7.0 L/100km) (Source)

The BMW 5 series is known for its luxury and performance, but it comes with a hefty price tag.

That’s why the G30 LCI BMW 520i makes such an attractive option as a used car today.

For less than half of the new price, you can already get a low-mileage, facelifted BMW 520i from the G30 generation. That means you will get that new car feel but without the new car costs!

This version of the vehicle sports a powerful 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbo engine, producing 184 horsepower and 290 NM of torque – more than enough to provide a lively drive no matter the road conditions.

Despite ably performing in any situation, the 520i is fuel efficient too, and you get plenty of great features such as adaptive cruise control – so you can sit back and enjoy the ride even more.

All these attributes combined make the G30 LCI BMW 520i an excellent value buy as a used BMW 5 Series today.

Which year BMW 5 Series is the most reliable?

When buying a used BMW 5 Series, reliability is always a factor that comes into mind.

Unfortunately, it’s complicated to determine a single year of the BMW 5 Series as the most reliable, as a specific model’s reliability can depend on various factors such as maintenance and usage.

Perhaps the most reliable BMW 5 Series is the 2010/2011 F10 528i.

BMW F10 528i with the 3.0-liter inline six engine

In these two model years, the 528i was equipped with the N52 or N53 inline-six petrol engines.

These engines might not get you the best fuel efficiency, but they are very reliable.

With regular maintenance and a close eye on potential issues, this engine can easily last hundreds of thousands of miles without forcing owners to break out their wallets for major repairs.

For instance, they don’t have direct injection, which prevents the common carbon build-up issues that appeared when the 528i got the four-cylinder turbocharged engine starting in 2012.

Tip: You can learn more about BMW’s reliability in general here!


There is a lot to consider when searching for the perfect used BMW 5 Series.

From the vehicle’s model year to its service history, vehicle history, and optional extras.

Out of all the used BMW 5 Series picks available, our three recommendations for the best value include the F10 BMW 520d (2010 – 2016), G30 BMW 530e (2017 – 2019), and G30 LCI BMW 520i (2020 – onwards).

So, don’t waste any more time – it’s time to head out in search of your dream pre-owned ride!

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