2006 BMW 5 Series Review | Edmunds.com

2006 BMW 5 Series

Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
BMW 5 Series Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 3.0 L Inline 6-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Rear Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 215 hp @ 6250 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 18/28 mpg
  • Bluetooth Yes
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2006 BMW 5 Series

  • Controversial styling and BMW's continued use of the confounding iDrive system are the only blemishes on the 2006 BMW 5 Series, an otherwise outstanding luxury sport sedan and wagon.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    One of the most satisfying midsize sport sedans/wagons you can buy, ultrarefined engines, multiple transmissions, tastefully appointed cabin, exceptional build quality, strong resale value.

  • Cons

    Styling may not appeal to 5 Series loyalists, iDrive system still more hassle than it's worth, costs more than most competitors.

  • What's New for 2006

    The 525 and 530 models receive an all-new 3.0-liter inline-six engine this year, and BMW's xDrive all-wheel-drive system is now available to serve those who need a little more bad-weather bite. BMW is also offering a versatile 5 Series wagon to U.S. customers once more, though only in 530xi trim. The 545i has been replaced by the 550i, which features a 360-horsepower, 4.8-liter V8.

Full 2006 BMW 5 Series Review

What's New for 2006

The 525 and 530 models receive an all-new 3.0-liter inline-six engine this year, and BMW's xDrive all-wheel-drive system is now available to serve those who need a little more bad-weather bite. BMW is also offering a versatile 5 Series wagon to U.S. customers once more, though only in 530xi trim. The 545i has been replaced by the 550i, which features a 360-horsepower, 4.8-liter V8.


Originally introduced in 1972, the BMW 5 Series has spent the last three decades catering to those who desire a sedan that functions equally well as a prestigious luxury car and a thoroughbred performance sedan. The 5 Series has long been the benchmark by which other sport sedans are measured. This elevated position presents challenges when such a stellar car is due for an update.

BMW accomplished its mission with a redesign in 1997 that gave it a look and feel that remained popular right up until the latest redesign last year. Although the 2004 BMW 5 Series was considered a complete redesign, the changes to the car's basic character seemed more like subtle refinements. It was already a comfortable, capable and highly dynamic machine. The latest version is still all of these things, just a bit more so.

In terms of overall philosophy, the largest shift from the previous model came in the form of technology. Several items were pulled directly from the current-generation 7 Series, including iDrive, Active Roll Stabilization (ARS), Active Cruise Control (ACC) and a Harman Kardon Logic7 sound system. While much of the 7's technology has migrated down to the 5, several advanced technologies made their debut on BMW's midsize sport sedan. The most exciting of these is dubbed Active Front Steering (AFS), a system that is able to adjust both the steering ratio and the amount of power assist for optimum feel and control under varying driving conditions.

Along with all the technology came an aggressive new body that most people either love or hate. For 2006, BMW has fitted the 525 and 530 models with an all-new 3.0-liter inline six, and replaced the 4.4-liter V8 with a 4.8-liter unit. For 2006, BMW has fitted the 525 and 530 models with an all-new 3.0-liter inline six. The versatile wagon body style is also back in the lineup this year, as is an all-wheel-drive system dubbed xDrive. The system is electronically controlled and uses a multiplate clutch for infinite variation in the front/rear power ratio. It works with BMW's Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), using data taken from the yaw rate and steering angle sensors to adjust the distribution of power. Further, when DSC takes corrective braking action on a single wheel, xDrive automatically redirects torque to the wheel opposite it. This means the car can keep moving even if only one wheel has traction.

With excellent power and sharp handling, the 2006 BMW 5 Series further builds on its reputation as a luxury sedan of unequaled athleticism. An endless array of technology and polarizing sheet metal may distinguish the current generation in the minds of consumers, but in the end, it's the 5's continued status as a true driver's car that will make the sale.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The BMW 5 Series sedan comes in several flavors: 525i, 525xi, 530i, 530xi and 550i. The wagon is available in 530xi trim only. Standard equipment includes automatic climate control, a CD player, one-touch power windows, rain-sensing windshield wipers and heated mirrors. Ten-way power front seats are also standard, with 12-way power front sport seats and 20-way power multifunction comfort front seats available as options. The iDrive vehicle management system is integrated into all 5 Series models, while a DVD-based navigation system with voice command and adaptive cruise control are optional. On the audio side, buyers can get a glovebox-mounted CD/DVD changer, as well as a premium-grade Harman Kardon Logic 7 sound system. Other options to consider include adaptive bi-xenon headlights, and a sport package with various wheel/run-flat tire upgrades (up to 18 inches in diameter), firmer suspension tuning and Active Front Steering (AFS).

Powertrains and Performance

BMW's new 3.0-liter six-cylinder generates 215 horsepower in 525 models, and 255 hp in 530 versions thanks to an upgraded intake manifold and software. The top-of-the-line 550i sedan features a 4.8-liter V8 rated at 360 hp. All models get a six-speed manual standard with a six-speed Steptronic automatic an available option. The rear-drive 530i and 545i can also be had with BMW's sequential manual gearbox (SMG), a sophisticated transmission that combines the control of a manual gearbox with the ease of an automatic. BMW's xDrive all-wheel-drive system is available on 525 and 530 sedans, and standard on the wagon.


Standard safety equipment includes a head protection system and side-impact airbags for both the front and rear seats. Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) and four-wheel disc brakes with electronic brake proportioning, cornering and stability enhancements are standard across the model line. Active front head restraints and Advanced Safety Electronics (ASE) that govern the deployment of safety systems are optional. Both Hill-Start Assist and Hill Descent Control are standard with xDrive, in case your extra-steep driveway ever gets slippery. The BMW 5 Series was named a "Best Pick" in IIHS frontal offset crash testing.

Interior Design and Special Features

The driver-oriented 5 Series cockpit greets passengers with a dignified show of luxury. As in the 7 Series, the multifunction iDrive interface integrates the audio, climate and navigation systems, but basic functions can be accomplished without going through iDrive. Build and materials quality is outstanding. Supportive seating is provided in both the front and rear, and even adults won't mind sitting in the backseat.

Driving Impressions

The 2006 BMW 5 Series is an extremely balanced machine that can handle aggressive driving maneuvers as well as it does dilapidated highways. The active steering system hasn't dulled BMW's trademark steering feel, and even vehicles equipped with the optional run-flat tires maintain a livable ride quality. The base inline six offers adequate power, while the 255-hp version offers the best balance of performance and economy. Equipped with the V8, this is a true enthusiast's sedan that will outpace many sports cars.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

Nice luxury car (:

by on
Vehicle: 2006 BMW 5 Series 525xi 4dr Sedan AWD (3.0L 6cyl 6M)

We purchased our 525xi secondhand at a BMW dealership and it was certified used. The interior comfort is great, and road noise is minimal. The only thing I don't like about our 5 Series is the iDrive system. It can't be avoided (option up a standard radio like in the 3 Series), and it has radio presets, but there are no preset buttons (you have to use iDrive to get to them). The car also has an annoying "grab" in the transmission, a software issue. The performance is great. I love this car.

Big bucks german bad transmission

by on
Vehicle: 2006 BMW 5 Series 525i 4dr Sedan (3.0L 6cyl 6M)

Bought new. Minor problems while under warrantee. Since then, replaced rear wheel bearing at 40K. Transmission slam from second to first like getting hit from behind. BMW engineers created a computer work around for this common problem but will not fix this default and you must pay dealer whether it works or not. Many people being talked into replacing transmission for $5k. Cheap dash components like cup holders and ashtray flimsy, had to replace both two times. For the price paid, quality is severely lacking. Would not recommend buying a used one. Local dealer repair shop is horrible. Had vehicle 9 days on two occasions without fixing. BMW regional tech changed battery 2hrs.

Still love it after 3

by on
Vehicle: 2006 BMW 5 Series 525i 4dr Sedan (3.0L 6cyl 6M)

Drove Nissan products for 20 years... CVT transmission is a joke!!! Decided to test drive my 5 and fell in love... yes, service / parts are not cheap, but buy a Kia if you cannot live with it... love it and would buy it again!!!

Still lovin it

by on
Vehicle: 2006 BMW 5 Series 550i 4dr Sedan (4.8L 8cyl 6M)

i've owed this car for five years and im still loving it! It's a great car!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

A little pain for lots

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Vehicle: 2006 BMW 5 Series 530xi 4dr Wagon AWD (3.0L 6cyl 6M)

In the market for a car in 2009 and for the price of a boring Accord V6 ($39k in Canada) I got a 530xiT CPO with 60,000 km on it. Had to deal with electronic glitches here and there (tire sensors, oil level sensors, etc) and the transmission is somehow brutal when accelerating from a red light. Also experience problems at idle, irregular rpms..but all covered by CPO warranty. Driving is a blast: I put 40,000 km on it annually and wouldn't want to drive any other car @$700/month. If I could afford a '12 MB E350 4matic station, I could consider a trade but even if I need to rebuild the tranny, it will still be cheaper and more fun to drive my 530xit into the ground. 170k km heading for 400k

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

Great car and great value

by on
Vehicle: 2006 BMW 5 Series 550i 4dr Sedan (4.8L 8cyl 6M)

I purchased an '06 with 48k on it - a CPO car with some protection (and maintenance) remaining on the warranty. Sticker was $64k in 2006, and I was fortunate to purchase the car for under $22k from a BMW dealer in Houston. What can I say? The car has amazing performance and handling, with stock 18" rims and Yokahama run flats (odd, since there is a spare). Suspension is a bit stiff for an everyday driver, so says my wife, however, it allows the corners to be straightened out a bit when you get the nerve. Rear leg room is A+ and trunk space is huge. I-drive not too bad once used to it, but could have been made friendlier.

Talk About The 2006 5 Series

2006 BMW 5 Series Discussions See all Started By

Does BMW plan to keep the new "interior" in the 5 series and 2006 3 series? I have to say that in my opinion it is down right ugly. I really love the interior in my 04 3 series but looking a...

Hello everybody, I leased my 2006 530i few days ago. I guess Car man was very busy but luckily I was able to obtain residuals and money factors from another forum. This is a great forum and I want to ...

Wondering if anyone else has experienced any issues with the new body style 5 series (2004-2006). I'm hearing that this particular redesign is littered with issues. My car has 6800 miles and has bee...

Gas Mileage


  • 18
  • cty
  • 28
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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