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2012 BMW 5 Series

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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
8.3
Out of 10

Based on 113 Ratings for the 2011 - 2016 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.0/10
    Quality
    8.7/10
  • Reliability
    8.6/10
    Performance
    8.7/10
  • Comfort
    8.8/10
    Styling
    9.0/10

2015 535xi disappoints

By on Saturday, April 23, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 63,000

10 4.0
overall rating 4 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
4/10
Value
3/10
Reliability
4/10
Quality
4/10
Performance
2/10
Styling
5/10
Comfort
5/10

Pros: "Beautiful Car"

Cons: "Hesitation in acceleration from a complete stop"

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

"This is my first dive into the BMW market and will be my last. The car hesitates when accelerated from a complete stop. I thought there was a problem with the car so I took it back 3 times. They said it was a bad fuel injector and replaced it 3 times (thankfully under warranty) but the hesitation continues. I am nervous about crossing traffic at time because of this hesitation. Very disappointed with this purchase."

Excellent Vehicle, Fun to Drive

By on Thursday, February 11, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 46,900

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
5/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Handling is excellent, build is wonderful"

Cons: "No Eyeglass holders AND engine issues"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"Overall, this vehicle is fantastic. Great power and phenomenal handling (w/Dynamic suspension package). It's a bit of a gas guzzler but if you're looking at this vehicle, that shouldn't be a concern. One word of caution however... The vehicle has what BMW calls a "customer care package" on this model years engine. In my mind it should be a recall. The failure rate of the fuel injectors is quite high. I've had mine in the shop on four occasions for this reason. For a buyer, the good news is that this knocked the value of the vehicle down a bit so as long as the car got the updated fuel injectors, you would be getting even more car for your money. Be sure and ask if the N63 customer care package was applied to the vehicle or check the BMW history before purchasing."

13 people out of 17 found this review helpful

Gorgeous car in excellent condition. Fun to drive

By on Saturday, January 30, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 59,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
Not Rated
Reliability
Not Rated
Quality
Not Rated
Performance
Not Rated
Styling
Not Rated
Comfort
Not Rated

Pros: "fun to drive"

Cons: "I wish it had more power,next time, will get an m4"

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

"Best handling vehicle I ever owned. This vehicle is fully loaded, power everything with sport package run flat 19' wheels,white exterior with black nappa leather interior, 8 speed automatic paddle shifter, navigation, not a ding or scratch, extending warranty that I never used, very reliable, gorgeous car, it's a must see vehicle in excellent condition, i wish it had a little more power, next time i'll get an m4."

4 people out of 4 found this review helpful

I love my car! 2012 525i Xdrive

By on Thursday, December 31, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 59,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Great handling, fast, comfortable"

Cons: "little leg room in rear"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"I purchased the vehicle as CPO in November. At this time I do not have to worry when it comes to maintenance since it's covered until 1/17/2018. The driving experience is without question the best. The vehicle handles like a dream. The multiple driving options (ECO, Comfort, and Sports) was a pleasant surprise. I normally drive the car in Comfort mode but I'm glad to have the Sports mode, which turns the vehicle into a monster. Thanks to the Xdrive during a recent down pour I had complete confidence. No more worrying about hydroplaning. Other vehicles were pulling over and I was able to muscle right through the storm with ease. The Stop/Start option is nice but can be annoying so for the most part I disengage it. The interior is beautiful and very comfortable."

3 people out of 4 found this review helpful

2011 Bmw 550xi

By on Wednesday, December 23, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 43,000

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
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Performance Handling Luxury Comfort Styling"

Cons: "Run-Flat Tires"

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

"Bought this car cpo it was 2 years old with only 18k miles. All i have to say is this car is amazing.I am amazed by the way to car performs and handles its does not feel like a 5thousand lb vehicle. There's nothing quicker off the line then this vehicle with the x-drive. Car is so much fun to drive in sport mode with the m adaptive suspension. I recommend anybody that buys this car to spring for the upgraded suspension its worth every penny. The vehicle hugs the road with no body roll at all. The technology in this car is superb nothing is better IMHO. The only complaint is the run-flat tires they give the vehicle a very harsh ride and a lot of road noise. But once you swap them out for non run-flats the ride is a million times better.This vehicle truly is the Ultimate Driving Machine. Nothing compares to the power performance and luxury this vehicle has. I would recommend this vehicle to everyone!!"

12 people out of 16 found this review helpful

Awesome Vehicle

By on Thursday, November 12, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 40,000

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
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Powerful Ride, unlike any other Hybrid out there."

Cons: "Non yet."

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

"This car has all the bells and whistles. I enjoy driving this car. It has a comfortable ride. I don't usually drive long distance, however, the first time I drove long distance by myself, I had no issues with this car. I was able to drive comfortably without any back or neck issues. The sports mode is amazing. When you need the car to go faster, switching it is simple and then you fly. BMW has gone a long way. The features are priceless.. The support from the local dealership is amazing."

23 people out of 44 found this review helpful

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