2009 BMW 5 Series Review | Edmunds.com

2009 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 All Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 300 hp @ 5800 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 16/23 mpg
  • Bluetooth Yes
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2009 BMW 5 Series

  • It costs a lot and it makes simple tasks needlessly complicated, but the 2009 BMW 5 Series is quite simply one of the best cars on the road.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Exceptional ride and handling dynamics, smooth and vigorous engines, premium cabin furnishings, sublime "multicontour" seats, strong resale value.

  • Cons

    Subpar crash-test scores, pricier than most competitors, iDrive is still a pain.

  • What's New for 2009

    After significant updates last year, the 2009 BMW 5 Series is mostly unchanged. A midyear change brings welcome revisions to iDrive.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

My bmw 535xi nightmare

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Vehicle: 2008 BMW 5 Series

I purchsed my 08 BMW XI used 60k miles on it, for the first 6 mos it was all good, while driving out of town the veh completely shut down (water pump), and since this happened there has been one repair after the other, I've always wanted a BMW, after repeated breakdowns and countless repairs, uless the veh is leased, do not waste your money you will end up spending more than anticipated. I've often heard you can drive a BMW for 100k miles with no issues....absolutely not true, and the worse part is you do not know there is a problem until the incator shows up on the dash or the vehicle shuts completely down. VERY FRUSTRATING EXPERIENCE!!!!!!

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

Fun to drive, poor reliability

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Vehicle: 2008 BMW 5 Series

This was my 1st and last BMW. Bought the car new, in the 6 years and 34K miles I've owned the car, I had a faulty battery, bad fuel pump, dead oxygen sensor, and a failed water pump. I was stranded 3 times (car completely died) and almost stranded twice. So, multiple trips to the shops and over 2 grand of repair bills later, I have finally gave up on this "ultimate driving machine". It was a fun car to drive while it worked. But, for a $60K car, I'd expect BMW to deliver something better. The worst part is that I totally lost my confidence in it and can no longer feel comfortable taking this car on any extended trips. This will be the LAST BMW I ever spend my money on.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Fun to drive

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Vehicle: 2008 BMW 5 Series

I was looking for an AWD sport sedan with a 6 speed manual transmission. The BMW 535xi is the only option in the luxury market. The car is outstanding. It handles extremely well at high speeds and tight corners. The brakes are fantastic and can stop reliably. I wanted a 6 speed manual and the transmission is superb. Shifting is smooth but can be done quickly if accelerating -- merging on the highway is no trouble at all. The AWD is great and I just took the car out for its first test in a New England blizzard. The plow trucks were all out and I only saw a few Audis and Subarus on the road. The BMW climbed icy hills with no trouble at all. Did some donuts too - good times.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

Overcomplicated & unreliable

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Vehicle: 2008 BMW 5 Series

My 2008 535xi has 50,000 miles on it. There always seems to be something going wrong with it every few months. It has been one of the most unreliable cars I've ever owned, but when it is working it is a blast to drive. Even the simplest repairs are ridiculously expensive, and you are often forced to going to the dealer as most independent shops cannot work with the BMW computer system. I don't know what they were thinking when they designed idrive. It takes an engineering degree to change radio stations through idrive. I guess over engineering is the BMW way. This will probably be my 1st and last BMW...

1 of 4 people found this review helpful

Bullet proof reliability in my

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Vehicle: 2008 BMW 5 Series

I bought mine used with 40000 miles and with 65000 miles now. I am very happy with the performance and reliability. Nothing has gone wrong with it. I recently put brakes on at an independent BMW shop for $1200, complete. When I punch the accelerator the car is a rocket. It looks great (deep sea blue with natural brown leather seats and tints windows). The seven spoke alloys with the sport package are perfect.

Major disappointment

by on
Vehicle: 2008 BMW 5 Series

This was my first BMW and I was really excited about buying it. It worked fine for about 6 months and then the trouble started. First it was the "reduced engine power" message related to the turbo system. The result of multiple trips to the dealer consisted of: engine reprogramming, replacing the high pressure fuel pump, replacing injectors, replacing a fuel pressure sensor, and reconnecting a vacuum hose that the mechanic "forgot" to connect. The car has had three water pumps installed. I've also had the battery replaced two years after I bought the car (new), the auxiliary jack replaced (it only played through one channel when I got the car. And a couple of other minor items.

Full 2009 BMW 5 Series Review

What's New for 2009

After significant updates last year, the 2009 BMW 5 Series is mostly unchanged. A midyear change brings welcome revisions to iDrive.


We'd likely never go so far as to declare any model "the perfect car." There are always going to be a few bones of contention, especially if price is a factor. But if we had to pick one car to wear the mantle of perfection, the 2009 BMW 5 Series would certainly be a nominee with good Vegas odds. It's a premium sedan (and wagon) with an arguably just-right size that looks good and is beautifully built. It's quiet and comfortable, yet handles better than just about anything else with four doors, and its engines are potent but utterly refined. In other words, if you have the money to spend, it's hard to pass up the 5 Series.

The 5 undergoes no major changes for 2009, although the iDrive electronics interface gets a slight overhaul as a midyear change. We strongly suggest waiting to get one of these cars. You'll be able to tell the difference between the two systems by the new design's menu buttons for frequently used functions (stereo, navigation, telephone) that are now adjacent to the control knob. Unfortunately, the same old menu structure remains -- unlike the 3 and 7 Series, which get the latest, greatly improved system.

Other than all-wheel-drive models getting "xDrive" attached to their name/number, the 5 Series range continues to consist of 528i, 535i and 550i for sedans and 535i xDrive for the wagon. Of all these, the 535i is certainly our pick of the litter. The primary reason is BMW's now-familiar twin-turbocharged inline-6, which endows the 535i with a near-ideal blend of seamless power and respectable fuel efficiency. This torque-rich engine pulls hard from low in its rev range, effortlessly piling on speed whether merging on the highway or embarrassing Camaro-wielding wannabe street racers. In fact, the 535i is just 0.4 second slower from zero to 60 mph than the V8-powered 550i, yet it returns only 1 combined mpg less than the 528i, which has 70 fewer horses. Additionally, this power plant weighs less than the 550i's V8, and that makes the 535i feel better balanced and more responsive in corners.

That being said, any 5 Series model would be a commendable choice in the midsize luxury sedan segment. It is certainly on the pricey side, and if getting more goodies per dollar is important, the Audi A6, Cadillac CTS, Infiniti M series and even the Hyundai Genesis are worth consideration. Meanwhile, for about the same price as the 5, there are the stylish Jaguar XF and the prestigious Mercedes-Benz E-Class to think about. However, none of these gets mentioned in the same sentence as "the perfect car" in their reviews. Although we'll probably never crown that particular champion, the stellar 2009 BMW 5 Series is one of the few cars that make us wonder if we should.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2009 BMW 5 Series is available in sedan and wagon body styles. Three engines are available on the sedan that correspond to the three trim levels (528i, 535i and 550i), with xDrive all-wheel drive available on the 528i and 535i sedans. The wagon comes in 535i xDrive trim only.

The 528i comes standard with 17-inch wheels, a sunroof, automatic headlights and wipers, power front seats with driver memory and power headrests, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering column, leatherette vinyl upholstery, automatic climate control, BMW Assist telematics, the iDrive electronics interface and a 10-speaker stereo with a CD player and an auxiliary input jack. The 535i adds adaptive xenon headlights and lumbar support and the 535i xDrive wagon adds a panoramic sunroof, fold-down rear seats and a power liftgate. The 550i adds parking assist, leather upholstery and auto-dimming mirrors.

Most of the features that are standard on upper-level 5 Series models are optional on the lower trim levels, as are numerous additional features. These include larger wheels, active steering, a lane-departure warning system, front and rear parking assist, an infrared night vision display, active cruise control, shift paddles for the automatic transmission, fold-down rear seats, rear sunshades, heated front and rear seats, a heated steering wheel (package only), multicontour power seats, keyless ignition/entry, a navigation system, a head-up display (which requires navigation), satellite radio, HD radio, an iPod interface and a 13-speaker Logic7 surround-sound audio system. The Sport package adds bigger wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, active roll stabilization, multicontour seats and a sport steering wheel. An aerodynamic body kit is included with the 550i's sport package, and on the M Sport Package available as a late model-year addition, which is otherwise identical to the regular Sport package.

Powertrains and Performance

BMW's model names and engine displacement used to correspond to each other, but not anymore. The 528i comes with a 3.0-liter inline-6 that produces 230 horsepower and 200 pound-feet of torque. The 535i gets a different 3.0-liter inline-6, this one twin-turbocharged to pump out 300 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque. The 550i gets a 4.8-liter V8 good for 360 hp and 360 lb-ft of torque. The sedans are rear-wheel drive by default, but the 528i and 535i sedans can be equipped with all-wheel drive. All three engines come standard with a six-speed manual; a six-speed automatic is optional.

Performance is adequate even in the base 528i, but for those who care about moving swiftly, an upgrade to at least the 535i is in order. We clocked a 535i with the manual transmission at 5.8 seconds from zero to 60 mph. The 550i is fleeter still, completing the same sprint in 5.4 seconds with the stick shift. Fuel economy is very good in the 528i (18 mpg city/27 mpg highway and 21 mpg combined with the automatic) and almost the same in the 535i sedan (17/26/20 mpg), with only a minimal penalty if xDrive is added. However, the 535i xDrive wagon drops to 16/24/19 with the automatic, and the 550 clocks in at 15/23/18 mpg.


Standard safety equipment includes stability control, antilock disc brakes, front-seat side airbags and front and rear side curtain airbags. Rear-seat side airbags are optional. The available lane-departure warning system alerts the driver via vibrations in the steering wheel if the car starts to veer out of its lane, and a night vision system warns of possible hazards out of regular headlight range. Both hill start assist and hill descent control are standard on AWD models.

In government crash tests, the 2009 BMW 5 Series earned only three out of five stars for driver protection in a frontal crash, although it did receive a full five stars for front passenger protection and front and rear side protection. In crash testing performed by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the 5 Series achieved the top score of "Good" in the frontal-offset test. However, the IIHS gave it the second-lowest rating of "Marginal" for side safety because of potential torso injury risk for front occupants.

Interior Design and Special Features

The 2009 5 Series boasts one of the most spacious and comfortable cabins in its class, particularly when optioned with the fantastic multicontour front seats, which adjust in seemingly infinite ways. Rear-seat head- and legroom are also satisfactory. In addition to the accommodating cabin, the 14-cubic-foot trunk can hold a fair amount of stuff, and its opening is wide. The wagon has a maximum cargo volume of more than 58 cubic feet.

The overall look of the interior is on the austere side, even though materials quality is beyond reproach. Early-year 5 Series feature the old iDrive electronics interface, which is needlessly complicated, particularly for ordinarily simple tasks like going from one stereo mode to another, and its display screen is responsible for the unsightly hump in the center of the dashboard. A midyear change adds a series of physical menu buttons that orbit the main control knob. This hastens access to those menus, but their submenus are still irritatingly laid out. The automatic transmission's joystick-like gear selector is also on the Rube Goldberg side -- an unnecessarily different and complex way of doing a fairly straightforward thing.

Driving Impressions

The 2009 BMW 5 Series is a well-balanced machine that can handle aggressive driving on winding back roads just as easily as it dispatches weekday commutes on crumbling expressways. The 5's adeptness at both ride comfort and handling prowess borders on the amazing. The steering is equally sublime, with perfect weighting and a near-telepathic feel. Opting for the sport package nets a sport-tuned suspension, bigger wheels and active roll stabilization, which enables the 5 to tackle tight corners as skillfully as some dedicated sports cars.

Talk About The 2009 5 Series

Read more about the 2009 BMW 5 Series

Gas Mileage


  • 16
  • cty
  • 23
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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