BMW 5 Series Has the Worst Maintenance Costs, Consumer Reports Says

by Gabrielle DeSantis

Opulence comes at a price, so don’t expect to spend less than $50,000 for a new luxury sedan. Most consumers know luxury vehicles carry heftier price tags and above-average maintenance and repair costs. But high total ownership costs might make shoppers second-guess purchasing some luxury vehicles. That’s true for the BMW 5 Series. In fact, it has the highest long-term maintenance and repair costs, a Consumer Reports study shows.

Overview of the BMW 5 Series

Buying a BMW 5 Series right now will get you top-of-the-line luxury for a starting price of just over $54,000, Consumer Reports shows. 5 Series cars are not only well-designed, but they also handle and perform confidently whether cornering, braking, and accelerating. And the 5 Series offers plenty of options. The base model 530i and 530i xDrive pack a 2.0-liter turbo inline-four engine and an eight-speed automatic. The 530i and xDrive both produce 248 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. However, the former gets 25/33 mpg city/highway, while the latter gets 23/32 mpg. Besides the base model, there are two other, more powerful engines — a 3.0-liter turbo inline-six and 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 — and a hybrid powertrain.

There’s plenty of space inside the cabin, adorned with plush materials and trims. The 5 Series also comes equipped with a large, 12.3-inch touchscreen and intuitive infotainment system compatible with Android and Apple devices. Navigation is built-in, as is a Wi-Fi hotspot.

Each 5 Series trim also includes BMW’s Active Driving Assistance package of common safety features. They include pedestrian detection, automatic high beams, rear cross-traffic alert, and forward-collision warning. Those features have helped the 5 Series earn the highest possible ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in crashworthiness tests and headlight evaluation.

The 5 Series is doubtlessly an excellent vehicle. But all of its features come at a price — one higher than the MSRP. In general, these German-engineered vehicles are expensive to maintain thanks to their specialty components and technology. There are more switches and components in a BMW than a run-of-the-mill Camry, so owners will pay more for a 5 Series in the long run.

Long-term costs of BMW 5 Series models

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The folks at Consumer Reports recently evaluated the ownership costs of many vehicles. They specifically looked at vehicle repair and maintenance costs after their warranties were likely to end — after 10 years. Given BMWs warranty options, owners had some of the lowest repair and maintenance costs while still covered. However, after their coverage ended, those costs skyrocketed.

The consumer site assessed the annual costs of 2011 cars and SUVs, categorizing them by their average price. Though shoppers could potentially buy a 2011 5 Series for $10,000 or less, they might end up paying as much as $1,200 a year to keep it on the road every year. The BMW 3 Series is similarly pricey, costing $800 a year to maintain and repair. And even more expensive used luxury vehicles, such as the 2011 Acura MDX, would be cheaper to keep running each year at an average of $500.

In fact, it’s likely the 5 Series’ high long-term maintenance costs have depressed its resale value. The 2011 model, though equipped with now-dated tech, still provides smooth handling and performance and elegant interior styling. Its 2.0-liter four-cylinder produces 240 hp — comparable horsepower to the 2021 version. And it comes with multiple engine options and luxurious extras. It’s a worthy vehicle without significant flaws. However, it’s expensive to keep on the road.

A pricey option

Whether buying a new or used BMW 5 Series, it’s best to be prepared for its ongoing costs. Though you’ll be offered warranty coverage, keep in mind that it’s best to fuel your BMW with premium unleaded fuel. With the M550i xDrive and M5 variants providing 17/25 city/highway mpg and 15/21 mpg, respectively, you’ll be paying higher prices at the pump.

Further, BMW’s bumper-to-bumper warranty lasts four years, while its maintenance warranty coverage is three. Because many BMW models have poor reliability ratings, you might want to purchase extended warranty coverage. And if so, it’s important to review the details closely to understand what’s covered and what’s excluded.

If you’re a BMW enthusiast, you’re already likely accustomed to these costs. But if you don’t have money to burn, you should think twice before buying a 5 Series and budget carefully over the long-term to keep yours running as long as possible.

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