Perfect ride and handling balance, highly communicative steering, quiet highway ride, ample interior space, everyone-friendly front seats, peerless fit and finish.
Overly complicated iDrive interface, hefty price tag, not particularly superior to the cheaper 535i.
"This might be the perfect car," exclaimed one of our road test editors after putting the 2008 BMW 550i through its paces at our test track. "It's the perfect size, looks great, it's fast, it handles. Does everything well." You could throw in supremely comfortable, quiet on the highway, luxuriously appointed and beautifully built. We would never go so far as to declare it "the perfect car" — there are always going to be a few areas of contention — but the BMW 550i would most certainly be among the nominees with Vegas odds in its favor.
However, let's get this out of the way quickly: Our 550i test car was expensive. With $10,545 worth of options, this ultra-5 Series hit the register at a whopping $69,820. And other than the $500 HD Radio (still not sure what the point is), we'd be hard-pressed to remove anything.
So the 550i is expensive, but so are Brioni suits, a night at the Bellagio and a 65-inch plasma television. They're all pricey purchases, but they're usually worth it. Therefore, the question should be: Is this midsize luxury sedan that's oh-so-good in oh-so-many ways too expensive?
Well, it depends on how you look at it. A similarly equipped 750i costs almost $10,000 more than its supposed "lesser" cousin, but the 550i is the all-around better car, giving up little in the way of luxury and interior space while trouncing the 750i in the fun-to-drive department. On the other hand, the twin-turbo 535i offers nearly the same performance as the V8-powered 550i and, when equally equipped, costs about $7,000 less. Hmm, maybe that's a more perfect car.
So the 2008 BMW 550i may be too expensive for some, but as with the Brioni and Bellagio, it's hard not to toss out that old adage, "You get what you pay for." And in this case, you get one of the few nominees for the perfect car.
Despite its 550i designation, the engine underhood is actually a 4.8-liter V8. This strong power plant is good for 360 horsepower and 360 pound-feet of torque, and it's an ideal engine both for blasts away from traffic lights and driving out on the open road. In testing, we recorded an impressively quick 0-60-mph time of 5.1 seconds.
Though the vast majority of 5 Series models are sold with the automatic transmission, our test car was equipped with the standard six-speed manual transmission. It's one of BMW's best, with just-right throws and an easily modulated clutch that's friendly in heavy traffic. Rarely was a downshift to 5th gear needed for highway passing — just leave it in 6th and away you go to very illegal speeds, until the speedometer reminds you that you're on an interstate, not the autobahn.
The rest of the 550's performance resumé is similarly impressive, with superb braking distances (111 feet from 60 mph) and tremendous grip (0.89g on our skid pad) that put it in the same territory as smaller sport sedans or even sport coupes. The same could be said for its handling in general, which is in a league above the other sedans in its class. That would probably be true without the Sport package, but the package's active roll stabilization sets the bar even higher by increasing roll stiffness through corners, improving grip and control. The steering is sublime, with perfect weighting and a near-telepathic feel. This car does exactly what you tell it to do and reports back with equal aplomb. Unlike the steering racks used for the 1 Series and X5, which can be heavy at parking speeds, the 550i's steering is thankfully light.
However, all the superlatives heaped upon the 2008 BMW 550i can essentially be carbon copied over to the cheaper 535i. In our objective instrumented testing, braking distance, skid pad and slalom speed were all equal or pretty darn close between the two cars. From zero to 60 mph, the twin-turbo six-cylinder 535i was only 0.4 second "slower." In our subjective seat-of-the-pants testing, the outcome was more of the same. In other words, unless you have to have that beautiful V8 growl (or a high-numbered 5 Series to show off to your neighbors), it seems the choice is pretty clear regardless of how good the 550i is.
There's a good chance you're either an NBA forward or a Lollipop Guild representative if you can't find a comfortable driving position with our 550's 20-way power seats. The seat bottom's front and back rise to ridiculous heights, the extending thigh support could probably reach your ankles and the elbowlike two-tier reclining seatback is a design of pure genius. The head restraints even pop out at the sides like first-class airplane seats. Throw in the fact that these seats provide endless hours of comfort and support, and it's easy to nominate the 550i for the perfect seat award, too.
While the rear seat doesn't move about in the same contortionist ways, it, too, provides lots of comfort and support. Headroom in particular is better than what the Mercedes E-Class and Audi A6 offer, while legroom is ample even if that NBA forward's up front.
Considering the 550's sporting intent and resulting 19-inch wheels, ride comfort and road noise are surprisingly well-managed. Although it hardly offers the same serenely supple isolation of a Mercedes E550, the BMW nevertheless quietly swallows road imperfections with a reassuring, well-damped thump. Wind noise is also kept to an absolute minimum — even at 90 mph, the cabin could host a James Lipton interview.
In addition to its spacious cabin, the 550i boasts a large trunk capable of holding at least two golf bags and a decent-size suitcase. Plus, with its gaping-wide opening, no finagling is needed to make the trunk swallow those golf bags — just lift over and lower in. Interior storage is limited, however, with the center console in particular compromised by a strange bin within a bin.
The sizable backseat and large door openings make fitting a child seat a relatively easy proposition. With a rear-facing child seat, the front seats need to be pushed fairly far forward, but their 20-way adjustment at least gives the front occupants a better chance of attaining a comfortable position without touching the child seat.
Like all 5 Series cars, the 2008 BMW 550i comes with the iDrive electronics interface system that controls myriad vehicle functions, from simple radio presets to the navigation system and in-depth climate settings. BMW has streamlined this design since its introduction several years ago and added six dash-mounted preset buttons; however, iDrive is still needlessly complicated. For instance, going from a satellite radio preset to an FM preset takes two upward mouse pushes, two mouse turns, two downward mouse pulls and then a few additional turns. You get used to it, but people get used to cleaning bathrooms, too. If the 550 has an Achilles' heel, iDrive is most definitely it. (Half-way through model year 2009, BMW added a revised iDrive control knob with dedicated menu buttons, which improved access to its functionality).
Design/Fit and Finish
Fit and finish is a big reason why the BMW 550i's price can almost be justified. Materials quality is surpassed only by what you'll find in Audi's cars, and everything is put together beautifully. While iDrive may be a pain to use, it frees the dash from copious amounts of buttons to create a clean-looking design.
Our 550i came with the Sport package's aerodynamic package that includes a revised rear bumper and an M5-like front airdam that nicely complements the 5 Series' dramatic headlights. With accompanying lower-side sills and double-spoke wheels, this is the snazziest-looking regular 5 Series you can buy.
Who should consider this vehicle
Although some may buy this car because it's the highest number available on the 5 Series, that's a shortsighted way to go about it. The 2008 BMW 550i's mix of superior back-road driving dynamics, autobahn-blazing long-distance comfort and ample interior space make it the right choice for someone looking for a quintessential luxury sport sedan.
The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.
2008 BMW 5 Series Overview
The 2008 BMW 5 Series is offered in the following submodels: Wagon, Sedan. Available styles include 528i 4dr Sedan (3.0L 6cyl 6M), 535i 4dr Sedan (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 6M), and 535xi 4dr Sedan AWD (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 6M). 5 Series models are available with a 3.0 l-liter gas engine, with output up to 300 hp, depending on engine type. The 2008 5 Series comes with rear wheel drive or all wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 6-speed manual. The 2008 5 Series comes with a 4 yr./ 50000 mi. basic warranty, a 4 yr./ unlimited mi. roadside warranty, and a 4 yr./ 50000 mi. powertrain warranty.
What's a good price on a used 2008 BMW 5 Series?
Save up to $304 on one of 110 used 2008 BMW 5 Seriess for sale at dealerships within 25 miles of Ashburn, Virginia with prices as low as $5499 as of Dec 18, 2017, based on data from 18 dealers and 68 consumer-driven dealer ratings ranging from 1 to 5 out of 5 stars.
Price comparisons for used 2008 BMW 5 Series trim styles:
The 2008 BMW 5 Series 550i is priced around $11299 with average odometer reading of 89237 miles.
The 2008 BMW 5 Series 528i is priced around $6999 with average odometer reading of 132928 miles.
The 2008 BMW 5 Series 535xi is priced around $9979 with average odometer reading of 97889 miles.
The 2008 BMW 5 Series 528xi is priced around $10706 with average odometer reading of 95278 miles.
The 2008 BMW 5 Series 535i is priced around $9283 with average odometer reading of 104392 miles.
Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, Virginia. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.
Is the 2008 BMW 5 Series a good car? Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2008 BMW 5 Series and all model years in our database. Our rich content includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2008 5 Series featuring deep dives into trim levels and features, performance, mpg, safety, interior, and driving. Edmunds also offers expert ratings, road test and performance data, long-term road tests, first-drive reviews, video reviews and more.
Our Review Process All of our reviews are written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.
How do people like the 2008 BMW 5 Series? Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2008 BMW 5 Series and all its trim types. Overall, Edmunds users rate the 2008 5 Series 4.4 on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. Edmunds consumer reviews allow users to sift through aggregated consumer reviews to understand what other drivers are saying about any vehicle in our database. Detailed rating breakdowns (including performance, comfort, value, interior, exterior design, build quality, and reliability) are available as well to provide shoppers with a comprehensive understanding of why customers like the 2008 5 Series.
Vehicle 535xi 4dr Wagon AWD (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 6M)
Review I bought this car used with a clean car fax in 2010 with less than 15000 miles. I bought an extended warranty just in case. I spent 8 month researching vehicles i would like to own and keep for 10 years. I have made a very poor decision. The maintenance cost on this vehicle will exceed its worth. It's been fun to drive, a very comfortable car with decent gas mileage. However, when I've taken it in for service, it's like sleeping with the devil. Goodbye emergency fund and hello credit card debt. It's the most disappointing feeling to love a car so much and be saddled with such repair bills. Fuel injectors replaced, water pump, thermostat, numerous hoses and vacuum hoses, and now replacing turbos and catalytic converters all before 90,000 miles. Not good resale either!!!
2008 BMW 5 Series inventory listings Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2008 BMW 5 Series for sale near Ashburn VA. There are currently 168 new and 1173 used and CPO 2008 5 Seriess listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as 5499 and mileage as low as 0. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a car from our massive database to find cheap vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a vehicle you're interested in, check the Carfax and autocheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the 2008 BMW 5 Series. Then select Edmunds special offers, perks, deals, and incentives to contact the dealer of your choice and save up to 304 on a new, used, or CPO 2008 5 Series available from one of 2807 dealerships in your area.
How can Edmunds help? Edmunds has deep data on over 6 million new, used, and certified pre-owned vehicles, including rich, trim-level features and specs information like: MSRP, average price paid, warranty information (basic, drivetrain, and maintenance), features (upholstery, bluetooth, navigation, heated seating, cooled seating, cruise control, parking assistance, keyless ignition, satellite radio, folding rears seats ,run flat tires, wheel type, tire size, wheel tire, sunroof, etc.), vehicle specifications (engine cylinder count, drivetrain, engine power, engine torque, engine displacement, transmission), fuel economy (city, highway, combined, fuel capacity, range), vehicle dimensions (length, width, seating capacity, cargo space), car safety, true cost to own. Edmunds also provides tools to allow shopper to compare vehicles to similar models of their choosing by warranty, interior features, exterior features, specifications, fuel economy, vehicle dimensions, consumer rating, edmunds rating, and color
2008 bmw 5-series 528i 4dr Sedan (3.0L 6cyl 6M), 6-speed manual, premium unleaded (required) 21 combined MPG 18 city MPG/28 highway MPG
2008 bmw 5-series 535i 4dr Sedan (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 6M), 6-speed manual, premium unleaded (required) 20 combined MPG 17 city MPG/26 highway MPG
2008 bmw 5-series 535xi 4dr Sedan AWD (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 6M), 6-speed manual, premium unleaded (required) 19 combined MPG 16 city MPG/25 highway MPG
What options are available on the 2008 BMW 5 Series?
Available BMW 5 Series 2008 Submodel Types: Sedan, Diesel, Hybrid, M550i xDrive, Wagon
Exterior Colors: Dark Graphite Metallic, Imperial Blue Metallic, Glacier Silver Metallic, Mineral White Metallic, Callisto Grey Metallic, Jet Black, Monaco Blue Metallic, Platinum Gray Metallic, Titanium Silver Metallic, Bluestone Metallic, Mediterranean Blue Metallic, Cashmere Silver Metallic, Amethyst Gray Metallic, Dark Graphite Metallic II, Titanium Gray Metallic, Space Gray Metallic, Alpine White, Jatoba Brown Metallic, Orient Blue Metallic, Black Sapphire Metallic, Mineral Grey Metallic, Mojave Metallic, Tasman Green Metallic, Citrin Black Metallic, Champagne Quartz Metallic, Jatoba Metallic, Milano Beige Metallic, Platinum Bronze Metallic (Late Availability), Deep Sea Blue Metallic, Montreal Blue Metallic, Olivin Green Metallic, Oxford Green Metallic, Silver Gray Metallic, Steel Blue Metallic, Sterling Grey Metallic, Atlas Cedar Metallic, Blue Water Metallic, Carbon Black Metallic, Cashmere Beige Metallic, Deep Green Metallic, Glacier Green Metallic, Mystic Blue Metallic, Platinum Bronze Metallic, Pyrite Brown Metallic, Sterling Gray Metallic
Interior Colors: Black Dakota leather, Cinnamon Brown Dakota leather, Black Nappa premium leather, Black Dakota w/Contrast Stitching/Piping leather, Venetian Beige Dakota leather, Black SensaTec leatherette, Black leatherette, Black premium leather, Black Dakota w/Blue Contrast Stitching/Piping leather, Black Dakota w/Exclusive Stitching leather, Cognac Dakota w/Contrast Stitching/Piping leather, Beige leatherette, Amaro Brown Extended Merino premium leather, Cinnamon Brown leather, Canberra Beige/Black Dakota w/Contrast Stitching/Piping leather, Black, Mocha Nappa w/Black premium leather, Black Nappa w/Contrast Stitching/Piping premium leather, Gray premium leather, Gray, Venetian Beige leather, Ivory White/Black Nappa premium leather, Everest Gray leather, Mocha w/Black Nappa premium leather, Beige, Everest Gray Dakota leather, Venetian Beige/Black Dakota leather, Veneto Beige leatherette, Canberra Beige/Black SensaTec leatherette, Mocha Nappa w/Contrast Stitching/Piping premium leather, Oyster and Black Dakota leather, Oyster/Black leather, Cream Beige premium leather, Venetian Beige Dakota w/Exclusive Stitching leather, Black leather, Ivory White Nappa w/Black premium leather, Night Blue Dakota w/Contrast Stitching/Piping leather, Ivory White Dakota w/Contrast Stitching/Piping leather, Ivory White w/Oyster Nappa premium leather, Silk Gray/Black Extended Merino premium leather, Oyster and Black Nappa premium leather, Venetian Beige SensaTec leatherette, Ivory White Nappa w/Contrast Stitching/Piping and Dark Coffee Dashboard premium leather, Ivory White Nappa w/Contrast Stitching/Piping premium leather, Natural Brown premium leather, Venetian Beige/Black Dakota w/Exclusive Stitching leather, Venetian Beige/Black SensaTec leatherette, Auburn premium leather, Beige premium leather, Individual Platinum Extended Merino premium leather, Ivory White Dakota w/Contrast Stitching/Piping and Dark Coffee Dashboard leather, Nutmeg Extended Merino premium leather, Sand, Sand Beige
Popular Features: Back-up camera, Pre-collision safety system, Keyless Entry/Start, Alarm, Audio and cruise controls on steering wheel, Auto Climate Control, Automatic Emergency Braking, Aux Audio Inputs, Bluetooth, Multi-Zone Climate Control, Post-collision safety system, Power Driver Seat, Rear Bench Seats, Stability Control, Sunroof/Moonroof, Tire Pressure Warning, Trip Computer, Upgraded Headlights, AWD/4WD, Blind Spot Monitoring, Apple Carplay/Android Auto, Mobile Internet, Adaptive Cruise Control, Cooled Seats, Leather Seats, Parking sensors, 360-degree camera, Electronic Folding Mirrors, Fold Flat Rear Seats, Heated seats, Navigation, USB Inputs, Upgraded Stereo, Heads up display, Lane Departure Warning, Power Liftgate/Trunk, Rear Entertainment System