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Home » BMW 5 Series [F10/F11](2010-2017) Problems, Review, Faults and Information

BMW 5 Series [F10/F11](2010-2017) Problems, Review, Faults and Information

BMW 5 Series F10 is the sixth generation of the model and it hit the market in 2010 when it replaced the previous BMW 5 Series E60. Code F10 is used for the sedan version and code F11 for the Touring (Station Wagon) version. In 2013 it underwent a restyling that brought changes to the design and some modernizations on a technical level and in the interior. In 2017 it was replaced by the next generation BMW 5 Series G30. Let’s see the BMW 5 Series F10/F11 review with the most important information, faults and common problems.

Table of Contents

Review of the BMW 5 Series F10 F11 with all the information, defects, issues, faults, weaknesses, problems and maintenance costs.

BMW 5 Series F10

Impressions, Interior and Comfort

BMW 5 Series F10 is a high-end car that belongs to the E segment. It is a modern car, with many new technologies and all this leads to a great complexity of the car. BMW has tried to create the best car in its class and on the one hand it has succeeded but on the other hand we have to ask ourselves: how does such a complex car behave after several years of life?

In this article we will see if the maintenance costs will not be exaggerated to use a similar car. We advise not to save money during the purchase and look for a car in good condition by following our advice.

Platform and Body

The platform used for the BMW 5 Series F10 is a shortened version of the platform of the bigger sister BMW 7 Series F01/F02. This is a classic platform with a longitudinally installed engine and basic rear-wheel drive. Optionally you could have the xDrive all-wheel drive.

The xDrive all-wheel drive, according to the manufacturer’s specifications, ensures optimum driving stability, maximum wheel grip, as well as an additional dose of sporting thrills.

It must be admitted that with more powerful engines, all-wheel drive certainly comes in very handy (it ensures better acceleration dynamics). As in other BMWs, a center differential with multi-plate clutch is also used here. On cars equipped with all-wheel drive, the turning radius increases slightly.

Thanks to the fact that the BMW 5 Series F10 is based on its bigger sister BMW 7 Series F01, the car wins against its main competitor Mercedes-Benz E-Class W212 which is based on the lower model Mercedes C-Class W204.

The front suspensions are high wishbones with a semi-virtual steering axis, while the rear ones are of the multilink type with 4 and a half arms.

We can recall that the body design of the previous BMW 5 Series E60 was not liked by everyone, so the manufacturer decided to fix the situation and please everyone. The new BMW 5 Series F10 received a sporty and at the same time modern and elegant design. The designers did a great job and in addition to the features already mentioned, they managed to add the right amount of severity and brutality. The great resemblance to the larger BMW 7 Series F01/F02 is immediately noticeable.

Review of the BMW 5 Series GT F07 with all the information, defects, issues, faults, weaknesses, problems and maintenance costs.

BMW 5 Series GT F07

Aesthetically, the car is attractive, both before and after the restyling, especially in the more equipped versions.

The sixth generation BMW 5 Series is available in two body styles: sedan (F10) and Touring (station wagon F11). The German car has a length of 4899 – 5039 mm, a width of 1860 mm and a height of 1464 mm. The wheelbase is 2968 – 3108 mm. The weight of the car varies from 1595 to 1990 kg depending on the version.

For the Coupé and Cabriolet versions, the 6 Series F12/F13/F06 was created.

Comfort and Practicality

Inside the BMW 5 Series F10 there is a large amount of interior space for both front and rear passengers. The wheelbase has increased significantly compared to the past. Even 5 adults will be comfortable, but for long journeys it will be better to leave in 4.

The trunk/boot has a volume of 520 liters in the sedan and 560 liters in the station wagon. By folding down the rear seats, a volume of 1670 l can be reached. On the BMW 5 Series GT (Gran Turismo F07) the boot volume varies from 440 l to 1700 l.

The strong points of the model are handling and driving pleasure, but it does not lose even in the quality of the interior and comfort. These features are typical for all premium models of the German brand. The pleasure is increased on the sportier versions, with powerful engines and M Sport trims. The weight distribution is perfectly balanced.

The suspension of the BMW 5 Series F10/F11 is soft and comfortable. Even on the destroyed roads, potholes and bumps are not felt too much. At the same time they manage to maintain good stability and in curves there will be no exaggerated inclinations of the body. The adaptive suspension can change its behavior and become harder in “Sport” mode or softer in “Comfort” mode.

All together it makes the BMW 5 Series F10/F11 an enjoyable car both in and out of town.

Interior and Equipment

in this photo you can see the interior compartment of the BMW 5 Series F10 F11 with the steering wheel, the stereo radio, idrive multimedia, the seats and the dashboard central panel cockpit

The interior of the BMW 5 Series F10/F11 presents itself very well. It is welcoming and luxurious, the quality of the materials is high, the leather is pleasant to the touch. All this is normal for a car of this class. The design is also very beautiful, the ergonomics are well thought out, everything is comfortable.

The soundproofing is very good and the interior remains silent in any situation.

Quality disputes

Not all BMW 5 Series F10 demonstrate the same resistance results over time. On the one hand there is undoubtedly an excellent quality of the materials used and a very high quality of assembly, but on the other hand ugly signs of wear appear on some elements already at low mileage.

This is due to the fact that the leather can be of different types. The most pleasant to the touch will be “Nappa” leather, but unfortunately this is the least resistant to wear. It can start showing annoying signs of wear after 50,000 km (30 k miles), especially if it is light in colour.

worn nappa leather in the interior of a bmw 5 series f10 f11

Also on other elements, serious signs of wear may appear at high mileage. First of all, of course, the most used elements wear out: the steering wheel trim, the gear knob, the climate control buttons and more. At high mileages, wear and tear on the seat upholstery is also unavoidable.

The good part is that all traces of wear and tear present in the cabin can be eliminated if desired. Some pieces can be replaced, others can be repainted or restored.

A lot of features

In terms of equipment, the situation is very good. Owners of the BMW 5 Series F10 often don’t even know all the functions that their car offers. For example, in the settings you can choose the time that the lights will remain on after the engine is switched off. This option is called follow-me-home and is used to light the way home at night. This is just one of the many possible configurations available in the iDrive system.

Among the most useful options that could be installed we have: head-up display, adaptive bi-xenon headlights, electric leather seats with heating, adaptive cruise control and much more. Some cars also have a thermal imaging camera that can see people in the dark thanks to the heat they give off.

After the restyling you can have a completely digital cockpit. It is an interesting system that allows you to customize the cockpit. This can significantly increase the enjoyment of use.

The iDrive multimedia system is very good even in the poorest version (although with this one the audio quality is not exactly excellent). It is one of the best multimedia systems that can be found on modern cars. BMW has worked hard and created probably the most comfortable system. Obviously it depends on the set-up: on the poorer versions there will be reduced functionality and a small display, on the top versions there are more services and a larger display. The top versions will give a lot of satisfaction. The audio quality of the Hi-Fi system is already quite good, but you can find the optional Harman Kardon or even Bang & Olufsen system which will sound great.


In the EuroNCAP safety test, the BMW 5 Series F10/F11 got 5 out of 5 stars. Crash safety is quite good, but to decrease the risk you need good tyres. Tires are almost the most important thing for safety on the road.

Reliability and Issues

As we have already said, BMW 5 Series F10/F11 is very complex and has many systems that always need to be taken care of. Despite everything, BMW was quite reliable in its first years of life. Only after 4-5 years small problems may begin to appear. After several years of life, the most costly problems can begin to appear.

Gearbox and Transmission

On the BMW 5 Series F10/F11 you can find the manual gearbox and the 8-speed automatic gearbox. Only the BMW M5 sports version was equipped with the 7-speed dual clutch transmission.

Manual transmission

The manual transmission is the Getrag GS6-53BZ. This 6-speed gearbox is from the German manufacturer Getrag and has been installed in many BMW cars with different engines.

To reduce noise during operation, the GS6-53BZ uses special gears with a modified bevel angle. In addition, sealed bearings were introduced into the gearbox, which can serve for a long time due to their structure: oil gets into them, but dirt deposits do not.

At a certain point, various operating problems may also appear: wear of the bearings, failure of the gears, the appearance of play in the shafts and more.

The occurrence of these breakdowns is usually associated with insufficient maintenance and infrequent oil changes. To avoid these problems, it is necessary to change the oil regularly.

If the symptoms of wear are still not very evident, it is worthwhile to intervene immediately in order to not make the situation worse. Intervening at the beginning will solve it with a lower cost.

The dual mass flywheel should live at least 100 – 150 thousand km (60 – 95 k miles). Its replacement will unfortunately be expensive. Obviously the duration of the flywheel and the clutch depend a lot on the driving style.

ZF 8HP automatic gearbox

The mounted automatic gearbox is an 8-speed ZF in its 8HP45 and 8HP70 versions. The only difference between the two is the resistance. The first version is designed to withstand a maximum of 450 Nm of torque and the second to a maximum of 700 Nm of torque. The gearbox can be adapted very well to the driving style of the driver and offers smooth, pleasant and fast operation. All of this is only valid if the gearbox is in good condition.

Its durability and reliability greatly depend on driving style. It works well and should last a long time if used and maintained correctly. It is important not to forget periodic oil replacement and not to overheat the gearbox.

Mechatronics do not like overheating and dirty oil and in some cases it can fail. On poorly treated gearboxes from the first production period, it could already give way at 80,000 km (50 k miles). Around 100 – 120,000 km (60 – 75 k miles) it may be necessary to replace the torque converter lockup clutches if you have an aggressive driving style. The planetary gears suffer from aggressive starts.

There have been cases of torque converter and hydraulic block failures.

After the restyling, the automatic transmission has become slightly more durable and manages to reach at least 140 – 180,000 km (85 – 110 k miles) without problems, even without changing the oil. If you change the oil, the service life increases significantly.

To have fewer problems with the ZF 8HP automatic transmission, it would be good to change the oil every 40 – 50,000 km (25 – 30 k miles) on pre-facelift gearboxes and at least every 50 – 70,000 km (30 – 45 k miles) on facelifts. Together with the oil, it is also necessary to change the plastic plate that contains the oil filter. Very often on BMW 5 Series F10 the gearbox plate is damaged and there are leaks. This is why it is important to be careful of any leaks from under the car.

In addition to frequent oil changes, lowering the operating temperature to 85 – 90 degrees (celsius) also helps to lengthen the life of the gearbox.

Drivetrain and Transmission System

Rear-wheel drive BMW 5 Series generally have no problems with the transmission for at least 200 thousand km (125 k miles). This obviously applies to cars used normally, without exaggerated stress. The silent blocks that support the rear differential suffer a lot on powerful versions and sooner or later they give way. This will cause a lean which in turn will lead to breakage of the cardan shaft (drive shaft). It is advisable to check it periodically.

At high mileage the rear differential can start to leak, its seals are not very good. The constant velocity joints and the cardan shaft are quite robust under normal conditions of use, but if drifting is practiced, these and other elements could show serious signs of wear (in the worst cases, they fail already at 50,000 km or 30 k miles). It is advisable to check the elements at risk periodically to avoid more serious problems and dangerous situations.

The all-wheel drive system is sturdy enough, but not without its problems. There are cases of problems with the front cardan shaft (drive shaft): the splines are damaged at the intersection with the transfer case (with aggressive use this can happen even before 100,000 km or 60 k miles). Thankfully this is all fixable.

On BMW 5 Series F10 with powerful engines, the life of the front axle shafts is short. Obviously it depends on the driving style, but in the worst cases they can give out already at 50,000 km (30 k miles).

Transfer cases may have problems with clutch packs and bearings. This unit does not like dirty oil or a decrease in its level. Even if the manufacturer has not provided for an oil change, the mechanics recommend doing it in parallel with changing the fluid in the gearbox. It can’t handle aggressive driving well either. With calm driving it lasts a long time, but under stress it can wear out even before 100,000 km (60 k miles). If you feel knocking, play and uneven traction, it will be best to take action to repair it. If you intervene early, the costs will be lower.

Suspensions, Steering and Brakes

The suspension is very well tuned, but isn’t terribly strong. There are cases when already at 50,000 km (30 k miles) the lower arms of the front suspension have to be replaced and also some rear suspension arms. So soon it usually happens on cars traveling on bad roads.

On cars that are used on good roads, the life of the suspension is slightly longer. Shock absorbers often do not even last 100,000 km (60 k miles). Original spare parts are very expensive (especially EDC shock absorbers and DD active stabilizers), as, indeed, for all cars of the premium segment. Furthermore, there is a direct relationship: the bigger the rims, the shorter the suspension life.

The BMW 5 Series GT has rear air suspension. These appear to be quite reliable.

In defense of the suspension it can be said that they are so comfortable that they don’t feel any discomfort to the owners and consequently they don’t pay too much attention to avoid the potholes in the road. Almost always they don’t even notice the efforts and blows that the suspensions undergo.

There have been complaints about the Run-Flat tires being loud and expensive.

Steering system

The steering system is very sophisticated and is overgrown with electronics. The rear axle is also steerable. In general everything is quite reliable, but when the time comes to repair something, between mechanical elements, various sensors and work, you spend a lot.

Among the relatively fragile elements we can mention the steering column. Over time it may start to play and make noise. On BMW 5 Series F10 with wide tires and driving on bad roads, the problems could start as early as 50,000 km or 30 k miles (generally the tie rods and tie rod ends need to be replaced).

Some owners of BMWs with adaptive steering complain that the car tends to pull to the right.

Brakes system

The brakes are effective and pleasant. Their main problem is the short life of discs and pads, even on versions with the weakest engines. It is mainly the fault of the stabilization system that actively uses it.

Electronics and Electrical System

Electronics are very complex. The cause are the numerous comfort, multimedia and safety systems. As long as it’s new, it offers only satisfaction because it works so well. Serious problems usually arise from external factors. Among these we can mention: penetration of water which comes into contact with cables and control units, accidents that damage the system and interventions by unqualified people on the electronic system.

On some cars of the first years of production, some problems are already beginning to appear. In some cases large investments may be necessary.

For now, the components that require the most investment are the alternator, various sensors and cables under the hood (especially on cars with engines that work at high temperatures).

There may also be battery problems. Due to the complicated electronics there could be energy losses which cause the battery to run down completely.

Malfunctions of the multimedia system can occur. In some moments, the navigator or the display may stop working. This is usually solved by turning the car off and on again. To minimize the possibility of encountering this defect, it is advisable to update the management software.

Also due to the electronics, there can also be problems with engines and transmissions. Even these fields of the car are invaded by electronics. We will talk about it in more detail in the appropriate sections of this article.

There are cases of premature wear of the headlights, the electronic part of the locks in the doors, the electric motor of the trunk and even the controls on the steering wheel. Of course, it is unlikely that all electronics problems occur on the same car. On cars of the first years of production, there may also be problems with automatic dimming of the mirrors.


The body has good corrosion resistance. Small traces of rust are acceptable if the car is used in places with a severe climate. If, on the other hand, the traces of rust are large, the car probably suffered some accidents and then was badly repaired.

The paint is also of quite good quality. If treated correctly, it retains its beauty even after many years. Chrome elements, on the other hand, can lose their shine after only a few years of life.

Also on the BMW 5 Series F10, as on the previous BMW 5 Series E60 many aluminum elements are used, especially in the front of the car. This is a positive factor in terms of weight distribution, but can be a bad joke in the event of an accident. The aluminum will be an obstacle to repairing the car and it will be almost impossible to restore everything to a perfect state. For this reason it is better to avoid cars that have suffered accidents.

The plastics used in the exterior have proved to be quite resistant (especially those of the bumpers). In the warm periods of the year, they are able to withstand even quite strong shocks without even leaving scratches on the paint. On the other hand, in cold periods of the year, there is a risk of cracks appearing in the event of a blow. The price of the original plastics is high, so before any purchase it is important to check their integrity (even from under the car).

The headlight washer covers and parking sensor fixings can come off and fly off.

A common problem is a broken air conditioner condenser. On some older cars there may be problems with the operation of the door locks.

You can find cracks on the headlights. A new original headlight doesn’t come cheap. If it comes to bi-xenon headlights, the price can be very large.

Engines and their Problems

Diesel engines list :

Version Engine Power Top Speed Acceleration Fuel Consumption
518d 2.0 l N47D20 143 hp 214 km/h or 132 mph 9.7 s 4,5 l/100 km

US: 52,2 mpg

UK: 62,7 mpg

518d 2.0 l B47D20 150 hp 218 km/h or 135 mph 9.5 s 4,3 l/100 km

US: 54,7 mpg

UK: 65,7 mpg

520d Efficient Dynamics 2.0 l N47D20 184 hp 231 km/h or 143 mph 8.2 s 4,5 l/100 km

US: 52,2 mpg

UK: 62,7 mpg

520d 2.0 l N47D20 184 hp 227 km/h or 141 mph 8.1 s 4,9 l/100 km

US: 48 mpg

UK: 57,6 mpg

520d 2.0 l B47D20 190 hp 236 km/h or 146 mph 7.9 s 4,3 l/100 km

US: 54,7 mpg

UK: 65,7 mpg

520d xDrive 2.0 l N47D20 184 hp 227 km/h or 141 mph 8.1 s 4,9 l/100 km

US: 48 mpg

UK: 57,6 mpg

520d xDrive 2.0 l B47D20 190 hp 230 km/h or 142 mph 7.9 s 5,1 l/100 km

US: 46,1 mpg

UK: 55,3 mpg

525d 3.0 l N57D30UL 204 hp 236 km/h or 146 mph 7.2 s 6,2 l/100 km

US: 37,9 mpg

UK: 45,5 mpg

525d 2.0 l N47D20 218 hp 243 km/h or 150 mph 7 s 5 l/100 km

US: 47 mpg

UK: 56,5 mpg

525d xDrive 2.0 l N47D20 218 hp 234 km/h or 145 mph 7 s 5,1 l/100 km

US: 46,1 mpg

UK: 55,3 mpg

530d 3.0 l N57D30OL 245 hp 250 km/h or 155 mph 6.3 s 6,3 l/100 km

US: 37,3 mpg

UK: 44,8 mpg

530d 3.0 l N57D30OL 249 hp 250 km/h or 155 mph 5.8 s 5,1 l/100 km

US: 46,1 mpg

UK: 55,3 mpg

530d 3.0 l N57D30OL 258 hp 250 km/h or 155 mph 5.8 s 5,7 l/100 km

US: 41,2 mpg

UK: 49,5 mpg

530d xDrive 3.0 l N57D30OL 249 hp 250 km/h or 155 mph 5.7 s 5,4 l/100 km

US: 43,5 mpg

UK: 52,3 mpg

530d xDrive 3.0 l N57D30OL 258 hp 250 km/h or 155 mph 5.7 s 5,4 l/100 km

US: 43,5 mpg

UK: 52,3 mpg

535d 3.0 l N57D30T0 299 hp 250 km/h or 155 mph 5.7 s 6,1 l/100 km

US: 38,5 mpg

UK: 46,3 mpg

535d 3.0 l N57D30T0 313 hp 250 km/h or 155 mph 5.5 s 5,4 l/100 km

US: 43,5 mpg

UK: 52,3 mpg

535d xDrive 3.0 l N57D30T0 313 hp 250 km/h or 155 mph 5.5 s 5,9 l/100 km

US: 39,8 mpg

UK: 47,8 mpg

M550d xDrive 3.0 l N57S 381 hp 250 km/h or 155 mph 4.7 s 6,3 l/100 km

US: 37,3 mpg

UK: 44,8 mpg

Petrol/Gasoline engines list :

Version Engine Power Top Speed Acceleration Fuel Consumption
520i 2.0 l N20B20 184 hp 227 km/h or 141 mph 7.9 s 6,8 l/100 km

US: 34,6 mpg

UK: 41,5 mpg

523i 3.0 l N53B30 204 hp 238 km/h or 147 mph 7.9 s 7,6 l/100 km

US: 31 mpg

UK: 37,1 mpg

528i 3.0 l N53B30 258 hp 250 km/h or 155 mph 6.6 s 8,4 l/100 km

US: 28 mpg

UK: 33,6 mpg

528i 2.0 l N20B20 245 hp 250 km/h or 155 mph 6.2 s 6,8 l/100 km

US: 34,6 mpg

UK: 41,5 mpg

528i xDrive 3.0 l N53B30 258 hp 250 km/h or 155 mph 6.6 s 8,4 l/100 km

US: 28 mpg

UK: 33,6 mpg

528i xDrive 2.0 l N20B20 245 hp 250 km/h or 155 mph 6.5 s 7 l/100 km

US: 33,6 mpg

UK: 40,3 mpg

530i 3.0 l N53B30 272 hp 250 km/h or 155 mph 6.5 s 7,6 l/100 km

US: 31 mpg

UK: 37,1 mpg

535i 3.0 l N55B30 306 hp 250 km/h or 155 mph 6 s 8,5 l/100 km

US: 27,6 mpg

UK: 33,2 mpg

535i xDrive 3.0 l N55B30 306 hp 250 km/h or 155 mph 5.9 s 8,2 l/100 km

US: 28,6 mpg

UK: 34,4 mpg

550i 4.4 l N63B44 407 hp 250 km/h or 155 mph 5 s 10,5 l/100 km

US: 22,4 mpg

UK: 26,9 mpg

550i 4.4 l N63B44 450 hp 250 km/h or 155 mph 4.6 s 8,7 l/100 km

US: 27 mpg

UK: 32,4 mpg

550i xDrive 4.4 l N63B44 407 hp 250 km/h or 155 mph 4.8 s 11 l/100 km

US: 21,3 mpg

UK: 25,6 mpg

550i xDrive 4.4 l N63B44 450 hp 250 km/h or 155 mph 4.4 s 9,3 l/100 km

US: 25,2 mpg

UK: 30,3 mpg

M5 4.4 l S63B44 560 hp 250 km/h or 155 mph 4.4 s 9,9 l/100 km

US: 23,7 mpg

UK: 28,5 mpg

Hybrid engines list :

Version Engine Power Top Speed Acceleration Fuel Consumption
ActiveHybrid 5 3.0 l N55B30 + electric engine 340 hp 250 km/h or 155 mph 5.9 s 6,4 l/100 km

US: 36,7 mpg

UK: 44,1 mpg

problems and issues with petrol, gasoline, LPG, CNG, methane and diesel engines mounted on BMW 5 Series F10 F11 F07

The range of engines is very large. You can find petrol engines with 4, 6 and 8 cylinders in different power versions. Diesel engines are 4 or 6 cylinders, but are present in different power versions (with one, two or even three turbines).

Diesel Engines

2.0 l N47 diesel Engine

The 2.0 l diesel engine fitted at the start is from the N47 series. Here it is present both in the Monoturbo version (one turbine) and in the Bi-Turbo version (two turbines).

N47 series 2-litre diesel engines have the problem of premature wear of the timing chain. In most cases, the defect still occurred within the warranty period. Before buying a BMW 5 Series F10 with a diesel engine out of warranty, strange noises or irregularities in the operation of the engine at idle speed should not be underestimated.

The already short life of the timing kit gets worse if the service interval is long (every 12 – 18,000 miles or more). In these cases the chain could already fail at 100 – 120,000 km (60 – 75 k miles). Better to have the services done more often (at least every 6 – 9,000 miles or once a year). After 2011 the timing kit has been modernized and the life of the chain has increased, but it is still not infinite.

Even though the chain life was increased, the second problem remained – the position of the chain (this is located on the flywheel side). When the time comes to replace it, the cost of the works is high due to their complexity. There are 3 replacement methods: in the first case the engine must be completely disconnected, in the second it can be removed only partially, in the third case the engine can remain fixed. Obviously the cheapest variant is the last one, but not all mechanics are able to do the work without disconnecting the engine (you need experience and special tools).

Be that as it may, this procedure is not cheap.

Problems with the fuel system and more particularly with the high pressure pump also occur on N47 engines. This wears out, begins to produce metal fragments which then go to ruin the injectors. The symptoms of wear on the injection system are: difficulty starting the engine, irregularities in operation and the Check Engine light on the dashboard.

After 100,000 km (60 k miles) the intake manifold and the EGR valve get dirty. At about the same mileage, the crankshaft pulley may need to be replaced. At high mileage, problems with the exhaust manifold (it cracks) and with the turbine are possible.

2.0 l B47 diesel Engine

The new 2.0 l B47 diesel engine arrived after 2014 and is based on the previous N47. It introduced some new features, fixed some problems, but not all weaknesses disappeared.

The B47 engines are part of a large family of modular engines which includes both petrol and diesel engines. All these engines are technically similar. This family also includes: B38 (3-cylinder turbo petrol), B48 (4-cylinder turbo petrol), B58 (6-cylinder turbo petrol), B37 (3-cylinder turbo diesel), B57 (6-cylinder turbo diesel).

In addition to the monoturbo version, there is also a biturbo version. Since 2017, the engine has received various modernizations aimed at lowering the level of pollution and thus the AdBlue system and mild hybrid technology have appeared.

Among the remaining weak points is that of the not too long-lived and poorly positioned timing chain (replacement is inconvenient and expensive), the complex injection system that does not tolerate low-quality diesel, the not too long-lived crankshaft pulley. There are also possible problems with the swirl flaps in the intake manifold and it remains to be seen how the complex systems designed to reduce pollution will behave over the years.

3.0 l N57 diesel Engines

The 3.0 L N57 6-cylinder diesel engine can be called outstanding. In addition to being quite reliable, it has low fuel consumption and is able to offer great performance. In addition to the simple Monoturbo (one turbine) version, there are Biturbo (two turbines) and Triturbo (three turbines) versions.

On the BMW 5 Series F10/F11, the N57D30 engine is available in all versions: with one turbine on 530d versions, with 2 turbines on 535d versions and with 3 turbines on M550d versions.

The 3-litre 6-cylinder N57 engine is very reliable and you rarely run into problems with it. On a well treated engine, only after 250 – 300,000 km (155 – 185 k miles) will there be major investments to be made.

If the services have been done infrequently (every 20 – 30,000 km or 12 – 18 k miles), then you risk problems with the timing chain already at relatively low mileage (especially critical on engines with 2 or 3 turbines). If, on the other hand, the services are done every 10 – 15,000 km (6 – 9 k miles) at the most, you can rest assured until at least 200 – 250 thousand km (125 – 155 k miles). The chain is positioned in the rear part of the engine and to change it it is necessary to extract the engine (even if some mechanics manage to change it without extracting).

After 150 – 200,000 km (95 – 125 k miles) there may be problems with the throttle valve (due to some plastic elements that wear out) and with the crankshaft pulley. Around 250,000 km (155 k miles) the high pressure pump which costs a lot could fail. Injectors aren’t immortal either. When they fail, it turns out that they are difficult to repair and cost a lot.

It’s better not to joke with the injection system. A high pressure pump in bad condition can produce metal shavings which spread throughout the system, damaging the injectors and other components. The final costs will be great for cleaning and replacing the spoiled pieces. To minimize the risk of having such problems, you need to use high quality fuel and change the diesel filter at every service.

The turbines are long-lived, generally lasting at least 150 – 200 thousand km (95 – 125 k miles). However, malfunctions could occur due to the vacuum transducers or because of the vacuum tubes.

Some diesel engines have selective catalytic converter, which need AdBlue liquid for correct operation. The liquid does not cost much and the computer will inform you of the need to add the latter.

Common problems of diesel Engines

All diesel engines can have problems with the injection system at high mileage. Even the anti-pollution systems are not too reliable: the EGR valve gets dirty and stops working, the DPF filter clogs up and starts to hinder engine operation (especially if the car is mainly used in town).

Petrol/Gasoline Engines

3.0 l N53 series Engine

The 3.0 l N53 engine is a naturally aspirated 6-cylinder with direct injection. It’s an engine that looks pretty good, it has both positive and negative points, it’s not without its weak points.

The N53 series engines have problems with fragile high-pressure pumps (very sensitive to the quality of the petrol) and not very resistant injectors. Due to the direct injection, spark plugs and ignition coils do not have a too long service life either.

Better not to mess with the worn injection system. Bad injectors can leak and in the worst case can ruin the pistons.

If the cooling system is not cleaned regularly, overheating is possible. Vanos are not immortal and their lifespan decreases with improper maintenance.

Otherwise, if maintained properly, the engine shouldn’t disappoint.

3.0 l N55 series Engine

The 3.0 l N55 engine is powerful, pleasant, widespread and interesting.

This is a modern high-tech BMW 6-cylinder engine. It is equipped with Vanos, Valvetronic and Twin-Scroll turbine technologies. It also has direct injection with complex injectors and many other technical choices that make it performing and pleasant. However, all of this can cause problems if not maintained properly.

The injectors and high-pressure pump can fail due to low-quality petrol. Due to the rare oil changes and the high operating temperatures (which can rise considerably if the cooling system is not cleaned) the turbine, Vanos, Valvetronic, various rubber and plastic elements can also fail. Accumulations of dirt can form in the intake which must be cleaned.

The ignition system (spark plugs and coils) must be monitored and kept in good condition. Over time, some sensors may fail which will not have very low costs.

A well treated engine shouldn’t disappoint.

2.0 l N20B20 Engine

The 2.0 l N20B20 engine is also very popular and interesting. It mounts on many models of the German manufacturer, it has its pros and cons to know to understand if it’s worth buying.

The 2-litre petrol engine of the N20 series until 2013 had a major problem: premature wear of the oil pump chain. When the problem begins to occur, extraneous noises are heard. In these cases it is important to go to the workshop immediately to avoid bigger problems (serious engine damage and expensive repairs).

The oil pump chain could initially fail even at 60 – 80 thousand km (35 – 50 k miles). Even the timing chain didn’t live that long, it already gave way at 80-100 thousand km (50 – 60 k miles). It is necessary to intervene in advance and replace both chains with modernized ones which will be more reliable. In 2013 the engine was updated and the problem occurs much less frequently.

After the modernization, the life of the chains has increased, but these are not eternal and must be replaced on average at 120,000 km (75 k miles). Lifetime can vary and depends on many factors including usage style and maintenance.

The turbine that suddenly breaks down could be an obvious symptom that there are problems with the lubrication.

On some engines there are problems with the direct injection system, oil consumption, failure of the Vanos and Valvetronic systems, the cooling system and the management electronics. Engines in bad condition can cause exaggerated fuel consumption, noise and vibrations.

Sooner or later the injectors will have to be replaced (generally if one fails, after a short time the others will fail as well). A new injector it’s not too expensive. An injection system in poor condition can damage the catalytic converter. The catalytic converter can be damaged even at high mileage.

Over time, there are problems with the thermostat and with the fuel pump. After 100,000 km (60 k miles), the time comes to replace the valve cover and its gasket. Shortly thereafter, the radiator may also need to be replaced. The entire cooling system is quite fragile and is sensitive to dirt. Better to check the coolant level from time to time and clean the radiators.

On 528i versions with the N20 series engine there may be problems with the high pressure pump. A new pump is expensive. Around 200,000 km (125 k miles) there are cases of problems with the pistons, but it usually happens on badly treated engines.

The engine is not as bad as it may seem. It is a modern and complex engine that offers great performance while maintaining low fuel consumption. In most cases the large amount of problems that can appear are due to poor engine maintenance. The owners don’t know the weaknesses and therefore don’t pay enough attention, they don’t know that they have to keep the cooling system in good order and they don’t know that they have to shorten the oil change intervals.

With high quality petrol, with regular operating temperatures and with always fresh oil (replaced every 10,000 km or 6000 miles maximum), the engine manages to live a long time without too many problems.

4.4 l N63 Engine

The N63 engine series contains the first V8-type turbo-petrol engines from the German manufacturer. During the production period, the engines have undergone several modernizations and therefore the various versions can differ in terms of performance and reliability.

A new aluminum cylinder block with a lightweight crank mechanism was developed for the 4.4 l N63. The cylinder heads feature Bi-VANOS / Dual-VANOS variable valve timing system on the intake and exhaust shafts.

The supercharging system uses two Garrett MGT22S turbochargers operating in parallel and located in the central part of the block together with the exhaust.

In 2012, the engine was modernized and received the designation N63TU. Here are new pistons with modified bottoms, new connecting rods and an adapted crankshaft. The cylinder head was redesigned to use the Valvetronic III valve lift system (as on the N55), the direct fuel injection system was modified (now as TVDI).

There have also been modernizations for the VANOS system. The cooling system and the lubrication system have been improved, the intake has been improved, the exhaust has remained the same. The management system is Bosch MEVD17.2.8.

A further modernization took place in 2015 when the engine took the name N63TU2. This update also brought major changes: new pistons, new oil scraper rings, new oil injectors and oil pump, new intake and exhaust manifolds, adapted high pressure pump, new cooling system and much more. The turbines became twin-scroll MGT2256DSL. The control unit is a Bosch DME 8.8.0.

The N63TU3 version arrived in 2018, but this no longer applies to the BMW 5 Series F10.

Even after a simple description of these engines, it is clear that they are very complex. As a result they are capricious and troublesome. The amount of possible problems is really great.

The most famous problem is large oil consumption caused by worn valve stem seals and oil scraper rings. In the worst cases (use of low-quality fuel, infrequent oil changes, overheating), this problem can be pronounced already at 50 thousand km (30 k miles). At higher mileages the problem can also be caused by wear on the cylinder block which in this case will have to be replaced.

Due to the “soft” aluminum cylinder block, the cylinder head mountings can become weak and the cylinder head can lift slightly. Simple spark plugs here fail very quickly and misfire may appear. To solve this, you need to fit the spark plugs used on the M versions.

After a long stop it is possible to get a destruction of the pistons due to leaking piezo injectors. The injectors have been modernized several times and only the latest revisions have solved the problem.

The oil pipes going to the turbines gradually become clogged, so over time they are lubricated worse and fail. The problem is accentuated by the fact that the turbines get very hot due to their position and therefore also heat up the oil pipes. Precisely for this reason it is important to use only high quality oil, replace it often and let the turbines cool down after aggressive use.

Due to the high engine temperatures, the pipes of the cooling system also suffer. The timing mechanism and the dual-VANOS and Valvetronic systems do not last too long.

Only newer production (hence modernized) engines that have been treated very well will have relatively good reliability.

4.4 l S63 Engine

The S63 4.4 l V8 turbo petrol sports engine is installed in models of the M series. Here it is encountered in the BMW M5 respectively. The unit is based on the weaker brother N63 we talked about above, but it also introduces many innovations necessary to support the greater power and the greater efforts.

Despite the fact that the S63 engine has been modified and strengthened, it has the same problems as its N63 sibling. In addition, it is much more often abused and overloaded, so the probability of finding it in bad condition is greater.

With such an engine you have to be careful and check it down to the smallest detail before a possible purchase.

Conclusions and Advice & Tips for buying used

The BMW 5 Series F10 is still a recent and modern car. It’s a complex car that will almost certainly cost a lot to maintain. But, this is normal for a premium German brand.

We recommend avoiding cars from the early years of production, or at least be aware of any weaknesses they may have. A newer, modernized production car shouldn’t give you too much unforeseen trouble. An example in good condition will only give you a lot of satisfaction.

The main competitors of the BMW 5 Series F10/F11 are: sister BMW 6 Series F12/F13/F06, Audi A7, Audi A6 C7, Mercedes-Benz E-Class W212, Mercedes-Benz CLS, Volvo V80 II, Volvo XC70 and other similar cars.

The most important thing is to find a car in good general condition.

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