Indy Auto Man
Indy Auto Man
Open today 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM
Open today from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM

Used BMW 5-Series Overview

BMW 5-series:  generation overview in Indianapolis

BMW 5-Series is a premium business-class car produced by the Bavarian concern since 1972. Over almost 50 years, the manufacturer has released seven generations, and the requirements for this model range have always been the highest.

Used BMWs are in consistently high demand in the US market, and today, we prepared an overview of the 5-Series generations and their success story.

First-Generation BMW 5-Series (E12)

first-generation used bmw

In 1972, the first car created for BMW by the legendary designer Paul Braque entered the market. The BMW 5-Series received everything that later became the characteristic distinguishing features of this business-class sedan: 

  • a spectacular radiator grille,
  • twin headlights, 
  • an elongated silhouette, 
  • rear-wheel drive typical of BMW. 

A sporty suspension complemented the overall impression and added performance, safety, and comfort. The cockpit was strictly functional, devoid of any playful details. The interior equipment was captivated by materials with excellent tactile properties and a variety of comfort systems.

The following year, more powerful variants appeared on the market: the BMW 525 with 145 hp and then the BMW 528 with 165 hp.

Beginning with the 1977 model year, as part of the update, all cars received a hood slightly raised from the grille to the windshield and larger taillights. The 6-cylinder BMW 525 and 528 models were equipped with twin carburetors, increasing the power of cars.

Second-Generation BMW 5-Series (E28)

The successor to the first BMW 5 Series was characterized by further technical improvements compared to the first generation. The design has become more precise with improved aerodynamic qualities due to the raised rear end. The typical front end with twin headlights in the grille remains unchanged. Technical innovations such as ABS, airbags, engine control electronics, catalytic converters, and an onboard computer became available for the first time. Almost all engines were equipped with injection into the intake manifold.

In 1983, the BMW 5 Series received a diesel engine: the BMW 524td developed 115 hp and was the fastest diesel sedan in the world.

In 1985, the first BMW M5 appeared with the BMW M535i, becoming the ancestor of a line of sports sedans that demonstrated outstanding performance. The BMW M5, assembled entirely by hand, was equipped with the same 6-cylinder engine with a displacement of 3.5 liters as the BMW M635Csi and developed a power of 286 hp. 

Since 1974, BMW M GmbH has offered a small number of E12 models in the M version. The culmination of this development was the BMW M535i. Equipped with a large front spoiler and a 218-hp 6-cylinder engine, this car has always attracted attention with its appearance and sporting qualities.

Third-Generation BMW 5-Series (E34)

third-generation used bmw in Indianapolis

Despite the increase in size, the body weight of the BMW 5 Series remained unchanged. This was possible due to the increased proportion of aluminum, from which most of the suspension was made. The torsional rigidity of the body has also augmented significantly. In addition, the BMW 5-Series, which appeared in dealer showrooms in 1995, had excellent corrosion protection - more than three-quarters of the body parts were protected by hot-dip galvanizing. The elegant design with many striking details provided a record drag coefficient - the best in its class. Ten airbags ensured a high level of safety.

Since 1997, the BMW 5 Series Touring entered the market. In 1998, new technology for diesel engines made its debut: With its first in-line 6-cylinder unit with common rail, BMW set new standards in the dynamics and efficiency of diesel engines for many years to come. Modern units impressed with their technical characteristics and smooth operation - from the 4-cylinder diesel to the exceptionally powerful V8, which developed 400 hp and was offered for the BMW M5.

As a result of the BMW 5 Series update in 2000, the cars received the rings around the headlights that are still used today, and the fog lights took on a round shape. 

Fifth-Generation BMW 5-Series (E60, E61)

The design of the 5th-generation 5 Series Sedan, which appeared in 2003, had distinctive shapes and was developed under the direction of Chris Bangle. Alternating concave and convex surfaces created a unique play of light and shadow, making it powerful and dynamic. The operating concept was borrowed from the top-class BMW sedans. It allowed the driver to control various systems of the vehicle using iDrive. A head-up display was an option, which showed all important information while driving in the immediate field of vision.

The new BMW 5 Series Sedan became larger and more spacious than its predecessor. At the same time, it turned out to be no heavier. This fact was explained, in particular, by aluminum for the front end in combination with a steel body - this solution represented a real technological breakthrough.

Adaptive cornering headlights and taillights were offered as an option. The BMW 5 Series also featured the Dynamic Drive roll control system and Active Cruise Control for the first time. Together with the sports suspension, this ensured driving dynamics that were unique in this class. In-line 6-cylinder engines were equipped with Common Rail (diesel) and Bi-VANOS (petrol) systems.

From the beginning of 2005, the BMW M5 went on sale with an incredible 5-liter V10 engine that developed 507 hp. The dynamic sports car was offered in Sedan and Touring versions, the latter being one of the fastest station wagons in the world.

In 2007, the appearance of the cars received slight updates, accompanied by changes to lighting and bumpers, as well as improvements to the iDrive system.

BMW Gran Turismo (F07)

used bmw gran turismo Indiana

In addition to the 5-Series, BMW introduced a completely new vehicle segment: the Gran Turismo which combined the properties of a sedan, the versatility of a Sports Activity Vehicle, and the classic features of a Gran Turismo. It was characterized by elegance, the comfort of a spacious interior, and typical BMW driving dynamics.

The coupe-like roofline and elongated profile harmonized with the large BMW kidney grille and wide rear end with L-shaped taillights and emphatically horizontal lines. Various engine options and the standard Dynamic Driving Control system and 8-speed automatic transmission provide the BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo with the highest dynamics and efficiency. The chassis impressed with its technical innovations, such as the double-wishbone front axle, and optional integral active steering.

The interior amazed the driver and passengers with its possibilities for transformation, raised seats, and large windows. Thanks to BMW iDrive, you are always in control of the varied functions of the vehicle, which are offered as part of BMW Connected Drive with assistance systems such as BMW Night Vision, Lane Keeping Assist, and High Beam Assist. In addition, the system made BMW Online and BMW Teleservices functionalities available to the driver.

Sixth-Generation BMW 5-Series (F10, F11)

The most successful generation of the 5-Series, which were sold in more than two million copies, entered the market in 2010. The sporty and elegant design, the typical BMW feeling of driving pleasure, and a host of innovative technologies allow the car to occupy a leading position in the business class in the USA market.

Indiana customers can find used BMW for sale with xDrive intelligent all-wheel drive system, which redistributes torque between the wheels depending on the situation. The V8 engine with Twin Power Turbo technology developed 407 hp, making it the most powerful petrol unit. The in-line 6-cylinder unit with a power of 300 hp occupies the leading place among diesel engines. 

In September 2010, the BMW 5 Series became available with the M package. The car received an even sportier character in appearance and technical content. The M Sport suspension, aerodynamics package, and light alloy wheels made the model more powerful. In the interior, highlights included sports seats in M design and a leather steering wheel, as well as the M gear lever knob and M trim strips. The M engines produced a power output of up to 600 hp.

An upgrade in 2013 changed the design and added more engine options. As standard, these cars were equipped with xenon headlights and a hands-free device with Bluetooth.

A hybrid version of the BMW 5 Series has been available since 2016: the BMW 530e iPerformance features a plug-in hybrid drive that offers emission-free driving without compromising the driving dynamics, comfort, and efficiency for which BMWs have always been renowned.

Seventh-Generation BMW 5-Series (G30, G31)

seventh-generation bmw 5 series

Since 2017, the BMW 5 Series has taken the concept of a sports business sedan to new heights. The design is defined by typical BMW proportions, evident in the long wheelbase, elongated bonnet, and flowing roofline. Clear surfaces and precise contours combine perfectly with the shape of the kidney grille, which is linked to the headlights and emphasizes the car's width.

Modern, efficient engines and an optional hybrid drive provide driving dynamics unmatched in its class, supported by the optional adaptive suspension and Integral Active Steering.

High-tech assistance systems ensure safety in dangerous driving situations. The optional Driving Assistant Professional helps, for example, to keep the vehicle within its lane or provide an emergency stop.

As a result of the 2020 update, clear accents were placed in the appearance - the BMW 5 car received a redesigned radiator grille, narrower headlights with optional laser light, and new paintwork. New comfortable seats are used in the cabin, and the list of assistance systems has been supplemented with a braking function at city speeds.

Is a BMW 5 Series a Good Car?

Over half a century of existence on the market, the 5-Series has firmly secured its business-class status. Reliability, safety, comfort, and unprecedented driving pleasure are the key characteristics for which this model is valued. When choosing a BMW in the used car market, consider the following:

  • E39 and E60 are the most reliable bodies of the model.
  • Choose in-line sixes, ideally the M series. The 3.0 M57 is the best option - it has a reliable and unpretentious design.
  • Gasoline engines on E39 can cause problems due to age, so it is better to opt for newer models.
  • The engine range of the E60 model, except the M-series, is considered unsuccessful due to the Nikasil coating of the cylinder walls, the Double-VANOS, and Valvetronic systems that are difficult to maintain and expensive to replace.
  • Among the engines in the F-body, it is better to pick the 3.0 N57 diesel and the turbocharged 3.5 N63 among the gasoline ones
  • When deciding on a gearbox, it is vital to evaluate the service – for an automatic, it must be confirmed by a service book every 40-60 thousand miles to avoid concerns.

Of course, when purchasing a used BMW on the secondary market, you should carefully inspect it and never skip a test drive. Repair costs are higher than average, but regular maintenance can help you avoid considerable expenses. 

It is always best to choose a BMW from the used options available for sale at a reliable dealership. Visit Indy Auto Man in Indianapolis and become an owner of a used BMW 5-Series in good condition.