2006 BMW 5 Series Wagon Review | Edmunds.com

2006 BMW 5 Series Wagon

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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 All Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 255 hp @ 6600 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 17/26 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 The 545i has been replaced by the 550i, which features a 360-horsepower, 4.8-liter V8.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 The 545i has been replaced by the 550i, which features a 360-horsepower, 4.8-liter V8.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

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

A little pain for lots

by on
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

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

Great wagon

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

We recently purchased a pre-owned 530xi Sports Wagon with 70k miles on it, oh what can we say, we love it! We just took it for a long trip(800 miles round trip) to visit our family and the road trip was a joy. It is very fun to drive & seats are on the firm side and supportive and it didn't give me lower back pain for driving for such long hours! The interior is very quiet(not as quiet as Lexus cars) and it rides very smoothly. We folded the back seats down and it created a great bed for our dogs and spacious cargo area for our luggage. My husband hated the idea of owning a station wagon but he likes this one, it is beautiful, probably one of the best looking station wagons available today.

A dream come true

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

I had rented a 2005 5 series wagon while in Europe and put nearly 3,000 km - wanted one ever since! This car has a gas engine, AWD and a few more options but the same body and feel. It's clear to me that BMW builds a better vehicle than most. I have owned 37 cars in my life so far and this is indeed at the top (second only to my Boxster) when it comes to fit, finish and feel. The handling is superb, the seating position very comfortable, and power is adequate. The 255 hp is enough but, as is the case with every car, it slowly becomes insufficient as one gets to know the car well. The auto trans is very nice and the Sport mode is great. Good on gas if you don't get too aggressive ;-).

Doesn't leave much to desire

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

I've owned the BMW 530XiT for 4 yrs. and I can't think of another car that I would have preferred to own/drive regularly. By now you know that it is a great car. It exemplifies quality, athleticism, utility, and looks (IMHO). No need to rehash those traits. So, I'll move onto what I think could be improved. Power: It does great at highway speed or once you get the RPMs up. But, that performance is unmatched at the low end. Idrive: My system gets stuck at times and I have to re-select functions. No big deal, but I expect better. Panoramic Sliding Roof: Great feature, but wind noise over 30mph is out of control. Worse, BMW does not make a wind deflector that fits the model.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Fun to drive

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

I bought my 2006 530XI AWD Wagon used in August 2009. I love it, although I have had one issue regarding one of the ignition coils which broke on Christmas Eve morning. Luckily, my Greenwich CT dealer has been top-notch so far and took it in immediately and had me back on the road and home in time for the holiday. I just would like to see the Manufacturer use better coils in this car as I've heard this is a common issue for this car. Otherwise, this car is AWESOME! Acceleration is great once you are up to speed-but I find a little sluggish from 0-60 mph.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

1st time bmw owner-bad experience

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

My husband bought this car for my 40th birthday, this was a bad gift. I've had my car in the shop 23 times, multiple times for brakes and wheels/tires. The car has been in the shop 5 times in the last two and half months. I will never buy another BMW. I want to be able to get in my car and drive without wondering if my caliper will fall off.

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


  • 17
  • cty
  • 26
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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