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2012 BMW 5 Series

Overview
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2012 BMW 5 Series Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 8.6

Some 35 years ago BMW stretched its brand with the U.S. introduction of the 530i, marking the debut of its first "mid-size" sedan in the U.S. With more room than the iconic 2002 and more sporting than the larger 2500/2800/Bavaria, the 5 Series was arguably the first attempt by a German automaker to craft a modern sport sedan comfortable for four while still entertaining for one. In 2012, BMW grows the 5 Series by shrinking its standard powerplant, going from the traditional in-line six to a twin-turbocharged "TwinPower" 2.0-liter four. With 240 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque, acceleration is up by 5 percent, while efficiency is some 20 percent better than its predecessor. For those who want extra room for cargo, BMW recently introduced the Gran Turismo, which features a large rear hatch and, like the sedans, available all-wheel drive. And of interest to BMW M enthusiasts is the return of the M5, powered by a twin-turbo 560-horsepower V8. It arrives in the summer of 2012 as a 2013 model.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you desire a balanced approach to performance, comfort and practicality – and want all three in a reasonably sized sedan – few cars can match the menu provided by BMW's 5 Series. And if, perchance, you're one of the few capable of coordinating your left foot with your right hand, BMW is one of the very few automakers providing the above with a manual transmission – in the 535i and 550i.

You May Not Like This Car If...

With the advent of sporty crossovers, and the growing popularity of sport coupes, the sport sedan is at an interesting point in the automotive paradigm. The 5 Series remains practical and sporting, but its practicality is limited by its architecture, and its "sportiness" is limited by its 3-box profile. Also, its sensible starting point – mid-$40Ks – can quickly become nonsensical with the addition of but a few options.

What's New for 2012

BMW created an all-new 5 Series for the 2011 model year, but the hits just keep on coming. For 2012, BMW dumps the 3.0-liter six in the base 528i and substitutes a 2.0-liter turbocharged four. With a bump in horsepower, torque and efficiency, this would seem to be a win/win/win for the consumer. However, Americans have been historically reluctant to spend big bucks on small powerplants. Hopefully, the dynamic has changed with escalating gasoline prices and growing awareness of global warming. The larger Gran Turismo uses 6-cylinder and 8-cylinder engines.

Driving the 5 Series

Driving Impressions Regardless of drivetrain, the 2012 BMW 5 Series family provides a balanced approach to over-the-road performance. And when equipped with all-wheel drive, BMW's mid-size sedan and Gran Turismo are blessed...

with "all-road" performance, going tough when the going gets tough. With your choice of a turbocharged four, in-line six or V8, you can truly tailor a BMW 5 Series to your performance requirements and, of course, budget. The entry-level 528i is blessed with a surprising amount of urge (0–60 in 6.2 seconds), a modest appetite for fuel (22 mpg city/32 highway) and a throaty – almost lusty – personality on the open road. With that, the sweet spot is probably where the 5 Series began, with a healthy six (535i) propelling you at triple-digit speeds (where allowed).

6-SPEED MANUAL TRANSMISSION
BMW remains one of the few automakers fully invested in the customer's driving experience. The availability of a 6-speed manual is clear evidence of same; we only wish it were available in the 528i, where a manual connection with a turbocharged four would bring more joy to our motoring experience.

CINNAMON BROWN/BLACK DAKOTA LEATHER
We're suckers for a striking color combination, and this interior – with its warm, rich hues and heavy texture – would look ausgezeichnet (excellent) when juxtaposed against some overtly Teutonic exterior color.

2012 BMW 5 Series Details
Interior

The 5's interior space has grown slightly, while the overall impression has grown almost exponentially. Already a strong suit, BMW paid special attention to ergonomics in the new 5 Series, with all displays, knobs and buttons located in the central portion of the cabin. And while the choice of interior materials reflects a new maturity on the part of BMW management – this, of course, is where consumers spend most of their time – we'd take issue with the standard-spec leatherette upholstery on a car with a base price of over $45K, stretches. 2012 BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo models have a higher seating position for the driver, giving it the feel of a quasi-crossover. Additionally, GT models feature an innovative dual-access tailgate that can open partially like a trunk lid or fully like a hatchback to accommodate larger items.

Exterior

In assessing the new 5 Series, it's helpful to have some background. Its chassis and body development was done in conjunction with the all-new 7 Series. As a result, the "5" is more grown-up, with a wheelbase (116.9 inches) reportedly the longest in the 5 Series segment. The proportions and overall impressions (which, according to BMW, include a "charismatic front, elegant side.and muscular rear") of this new 5 Series aren't radically different, but if you liked the smaller footprint of the previous iteration you might wish to wait for the next 3 Series (coming to the U.S. in the first quarter of 2012) – it is also "more grown-up." The Gran Turismo has more, shall we say, controversial looks. Big, bulbous, and with slightly higher ground clearance than the sedan, it's not exactly anonymous. Whether the GT is a beauty or a beast will be up to how you see it.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Although the product team behind the 5 Series continues to move the sedan up-market (and its pricing upscale), we're encouraged by the high-end spec of the 5 Series chassis. Twin-tube gas-pressure shock absorbers, 4-wheel vented disc brakes (with composite front rotors) and electronic limited-slip differential speak to BMW's performance intent, while a driver-centric cockpit design will better reflect the driver's intent. On the ground, run-flat all-season tires make the spare tire (and its added weight) unnecessary, while in the 528i a standard 8-speed automatic transmission makes shifting unnecessary.

Optional Equipment

We continue to like sport sedans that are "sporty," and BMW works to differentiate its mid-size sedan from others – notably Audi, Mercedes-Benz and (to a lesser extent) Cadillac – with a range of options designed to enhance handling and performance. At the top of the performance heap is the M Sport Package. At a suggested retail of $4,800 you can equip your 2012 5 Series sedan with 18-inch double-spoke wheels with performance run-flat tires, Dynamic Damper Control, an aero kit, multi-contour seats, an M steering wheel and a limited, albeit performance-oriented, color palette. There is also a less comprehensive Sport Package, as well as the option of a 6-speed manual on the 535i and 550i.

Under the Hood

Variety, thy name is 5 Series. With the 2012 introduction of a new 4-cylinder turbo, BMW offers a "holy trinity" of powertrains. And that which is the most compelling, the 2.0-liter four is also the least expensive. It delivers 240 horsepower, 260 lb-ft of torque and 32 mpg in the EPA's highway cycle. In short, what's not to like? Perhaps the lack of an available manual transmission with the turbo four, but that absence can't last forever; the rumble for its return starts right now. The turbocharged inline-six has, of course, its fans, while the 4.0-liter turbo V8 seems – in a still-funky economy – a tad too much.

2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4
240 horsepower @ 5,000-6,000 rpm
260 lb-ft of torque @ 1,250-4,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/32 mpg (automatic)

3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6
300 horsepower @ 5,800 rpm
300 lb-ft of torque @ 1,300-5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/28 mpg (manual, RWD), 20/30 mpg (automatic, RWD), 20/29 mpg (automatic, AWD), 20/28 (Gran Turismo, RWD), 18/27 (Gran Turismo, AWD)

4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8
400 horsepower @ 5,500-6,400 rpm
450 lb-ft of torque @ 1,750-4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/22 mpg (manual, RWD), 17/25 mpg (automatic, RWD), 16/24 mpg (automatic, AWD), 15/22 mpg (Gran Turismo, RWD & AWD)

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2012 BMW 5 Series Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.2
Out of 10

Based on 98 Ratings for the 2011 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    7.9/10
    Quality
    8.6/10
  • Reliability
    8.5/10
    Performance
    8.7/10
  • Comfort
    8.8/10
    Styling
    9.0/10

A safe, comfortable riding car; I love to drive!

By on Saturday, June 13, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 34,188

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "fun to drive"

Cons: "tires are too expensive"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7

"Never buy new, preowned with low mileage is way to go. I love this car. Beautiful body style and will really move! My 3rd BMW and is the ultimate driving machine."

1 person out of 2 found this review helpful

Fantastic! 535 XDrive

By on Tuesday, June 02, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 2,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Luxurious & comfortable, great design & Technology"

Cons: "Pricey, Could use powered rear seats"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Shopped several luxury sedans for a year before buying the 535i Xdrive. Fit, finish and technology integration superb. Smartphone Bluetooth capture is excellent. Although subjective exterior/interior design is superb and is an attention grabber. Driver/passenger seats are great for short and long trips (Audi A6 had hard seats by comparison). The ride is comfortable, luxurious not the athletic 5 Series -Bimmer driving experience of yore but very good! However, watch out you'll be doing 90+ without thinking! Surround cameras are good, although the 360-degree picture isn't uniform-some sectors clearer than others will check that with the dealer. The back seats can be lowered to give you lots of pass through room from the trunk, although raising and lowering the seats is manual, should be powered. XDrive makes a difference and would recommend that no matter where you live- it does rain. Cup holders are located a bit forward, but you get used to that. The BMW maintenance plan makes this the least expensive luxury sedan to maintain across four-year period, do the math and you'll see."

7 people out of 13 found this review helpful

The best BMW I have ever owned

By on Sunday, May 17, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 30,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Gas mileage, large trunk, seats, speed"

Cons: "Rock-hard run flat tires, rear visibility"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

First day with the car: October 30th, 2013

"I have owned my 2014 535d xDrive M-Sport for a year and a half now. What a car! I always lease cars for 36 months and I have owned many BMW's before this (M3, 2 M5's, 550i, X5) and this is my favorite one by far. I got the graphite metallic color (which I don't think they offer on the 2015 M-sport models) with the mocha nappa leather multi-contour seats. My previous vehicle (2011 X5) was a great car but it had rough suspension and my wife hated the seats. The multi-cotour seats in the 535 are absolutely epic. The amount of adjustments you can make is just incredible. The optional adaptive dampers are a MUST in my opinion, especially on the M-Sport model. Those run-flat tires are HARD and the adaptive dampers make the ride a lot better. It's such a smooth car with little road noise. My 6ft son fits in the back seat no problem and the trunk is huge. The AWD system is great also with no problem in NY winters. The diesel is an absolute dream to drive. Does 0-60MPH in 5.7 seconds and though it's lacking in horsepower compared the the 535i it makes up for all of that with the enormous amounts of low-end torque. It just takes off. We did a drive from NYC to Albany for Thanksgiving doing 80MPH the whole time and we averaged 36MPG. I commute to Connecticut everyday for work and I have saved so much money on gas. The one thing this car leaves something to be desired is in rear visibility. The backup camera and parking sensors do mostly eliminate the problem, but it's a little hard to see out of the back window unless you really get up out of your seat. Otherwise, so happy with my decision. I can't wait till the lease is up so I can get another one!"

10 people out of 14 found this review helpful

First day with the car: October 30th, 2013

One of the Best I ever owned

By on Tuesday, March 31, 2015

I owned and sold this car
Reason: end of lease

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "great to drive ,classy luxury handling"

Cons: "cost of service after warranty and mpg"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"My lease just ended on my 2012 535xi . For the first time in a long long time I was sorry to let it go. The car was fantastic ,comfortable fast , luxurious had all the bells and whistles for a few years to come , more than few years. An outstanding car , no issues and whomever gets my car is getting a GEM."

23 people out of 45 found this review helpful

BMW hits it out of the park!

By on Tuesday, February 24, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 13,500

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"This M-sport 528i xDrive is my favorite BMW so far. Went with Jet Black and Ivory Nappa Leather, Cold Weather, Harmon Kardon, Black Kidney Grills, Carbon Fiber Spoiler. When you put it in sport mode you forget it is a 4 cylinder! Very quiet!"

15 people out of 39 found this review helpful

Great Car will BMW takes care of it….

By on Friday, January 30, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 30,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Great looker, comfortable ride, fun to drive"

Cons: "Not sure of long term reliability"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"I am just about 30 months into my 36 month lease. The car has been absolutely great. The only issue was a blown fuse in the 12v outlet. No big deal. The fit and finish are excellent. I really do not have any issues with the run flat tires from a ride point of view. Would much rather have a spare tire though. Because of the expense to maintain and service this car out of warranty I will not purchase it off lease. I am struggling with that decision only because I love the car. Everything I read is that they start having trouble after 4 years."

33 people out of 61 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

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