Used 2008 BMW 5 Series Wagon

2008 BMW 5 Series
List price range
2008 BMW 5 Series


  • Exceptional ride and handling dynamics, smooth and vigorous engines, premium cabin furnishings, precision build quality, strong resale value.


  • More expensive than most competitors, iDrive system is still a pain in the Bangle butt.

Used 2008 BMW 5 Series Wagon for Sale

BMW 5 Series 2008 535xi 4dr Wagon AWD (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 6M)
46,945 miles
Used 2008
BMW 5 Series
BMW of Towson
53.4 mi away
ListNot Listed
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Edmunds' Expert Review

It costs more than it should and it's needlessly complicated to operate, but among midsize luxury sedans and wagons, the 2008 BMW 5 Series is by far the most satisfying to drive.

vehicle overview

There are few cars that achieve such a perfect mix of comfort and fun like the 2008 BMW 5 Series. It is a wolf in a flamboyant sheep's clothing: a comfortable midsize sedan that handles and performs like a sports car. And for a real surprise, a wagon model offers the same wolf but in utilitarian pack mule clothing. While other carmakers relentlessly pursue this automotive pinnacle, BMW consistently raises the bar to keep itself on top of the heap.

For 2008, the current-generation BMW 5 Series receives its most important update since the car's 2004 introduction. Most significantly, there are two new six-cylinder engines in the 5's lineup. Last year's 215-hp 525i model has been replaced by the 230-hp 528i. Even more significant is the mid-level 2008 535i. Replacing the 530i, the 535i comes with an all-new 300-hp, twin-turbo engine. Along with the V8-powered 550i, the new engine lineup makes the 5 Series an even more attractive performance sedan.

With new, innovative technologies coming at a mile-a-minute pace in this premium midsize luxury segment, BMW has introduced several standard and optional features for the 2008 5 Series. Six-cylinder models now offer Brake Energy Regeneration, which takes a page from hybrid powertrains by capturing excess braking energy and using it to power the car's many electronic systems.

There's also an upgraded cruise control system this year. Optional on automatic-transmission 5 Series, Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go works much like Mercedes-Benz's Distronic Plus by maintaining vehicle distance at highways speeds and in stop-and-go traffic. For safety, a new Lane Departure Warning system option alerts the driver through vibrations in the steering wheel when the car starts to drift out of its lane.

The 2008 BMW 5 Series remains one of our favorite midsize luxury cars, even if its endless technology can seem a tad reminiscent of HAL 9000. Its deep options list can also raise the 5's price tag into the ionosphere, with the 550i easily reaching $70,000. Nevertheless, for those with deep enough pockets, the 5 Series offers a level of driver involvement unmatched by its competitors.

2008 BMW 5 Series configurations

The 2008 BMW 5 Series is available in sedan and wagon body styles. There are three engines available on the sedan, which boils down to three individual rear-wheel-drive models: 528i, 535i and 550i. The 528xi and 535xi sedans come with all-wheel drive. The wagon is only available as a 535xi.

The 528i and 528xi come standard with 17-inch wheels, a sunroof, power front seats, leatherette upholstery, automatic headlights and wipers, automatic climate control, BMW Assist telematics and iDrive control interface. The 535i and 535xi add xenon headlamps and lumbar support, while the 535xi wagon adds a panoramic sunroof, fold-down rear seats and a power tailgate. The 550i throws in 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-level models.

The options list is exceptionally long on the 5 Series and it got even longer for 2008. High-tech features include Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go, a lane-departure warning system, active steering, a head-up display, infrared night vision, keyless ignition, high-definition radio, the next generation of iPod integration and a navigation system with updated iDrive and real-time traffic. Other options include ventilated front seats, heated rear seats and rear side airbags. A Cold Weather package adds heated front seats, heated steering wheel and retractable headlight jets. A Sport Package on rear-wheel-drive models includes 18- or 19-inch wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, active roll stabilization, a sport steering wheel and multicontour seats.

2008 Highlights

The 2008 BMW 5 Series receives a number of significant changes, most notably a pair of new six-cylinder engines. The base 5 Series is now the 528i and features a 230-horsepower inline-6, while the 535i is powered by the same twin-turbo 300-hp inline-6 found in the 3 Series. There are a number of high-tech standard and optional additions to the 5 Series that allow it to keep pace and, in a few instances, surpass the rapidly advancing competition. To spot the updated 5 Series, look for a barely noticeable redesigned front airdam, new headlight lenses and LED taillights.

Performance & mpg

The BMW 5 Series' engine lineup is more powerful than ever, but more confusing with model names that no longer correspond with engine displacement. The 528i comes equipped with a naturally aspirated 3.0-liter inline-6 that produces 230 hp and 200 pound-feet of torque. The 535i has BMW's impressive new twin-turbocharged, 3.0-liter inline-6, capable of 300 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque. The 550i is the lone power plant to carry over untouched, still pumping out its ample 360 hp and 360 lb-ft of torque. This engine motivates the 550i from zero to 60 mph in 5.6 seconds.

All three engines come standard with a six-speed manual, while a six-speed automatic is a no-cost option. This is good news for consumers since most 5 Series are sold with the autobox. In summer 2007, a new Sport automatic transmission with paddle shifters will be optional on Sport Package-equipped 535i and 550i sedans, replacing the previous car's SMG gearbox. BMW's xDrive all-wheel-drive system is optional on the two six-cylinder sedans (they become 528xi and 535xi), and standard on the 535xi wagon.


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 and, due to safety concerns, you must specifically request that your dealer activate the bags if you order this option. A new optional lane departure system alerts the driver via a shaking steering wheel if the car starts to veer out of its lane, while a night vision system illuminates possible hazards out of regular headlight range. Both Hill-Start Assist and Hill Descent Control are standard on AWD models, in case your extra-steep driveway ever gets slippery. In IIHS testing, the 2008 BMW 5 Series earned a top score of "Good" for its protection of occupants in frontal-offset crashes. In side-impact tests, however, the 5 Series earned a disappointing score of "Marginal," the IIHS' second-worst score.


The 2008 BMW 5 Series is an extremely balanced machine that can handle aggressive driving maneuvers on winding back roads as well as it dispatches weekday commutes on crumbling expressways. The optional active steering system hasn't dulled BMW's trademark steering feel, though driving purists will prefer the standard setup. Likewise, the standard suspension tuning gives the 5 Series plenty of capability in the corners. The new six-cylinder engines shared with the 3 Series offer more power than the outgoing units, especially the 300-hp 535i that exhibits virtually no turbo lag. Equipping the 5 Series with the V8 turns it into a seriously fast sedan that will outpace many sports cars.


Although the interior looks unchanged, there were a few key updates made. The window switches have been relocated to lower on the driver door and on Steptronic automatic-transmission models, an electronic gear selector like the one found in the X5 now resides on the center console. It's certainly interesting looking, but this odd little gizmo is largely an unnecessarily different and complex way of doing a fairly straightforward thing.

The same can be said of iDrive, the mouse and LCD screen control system standard on all 5 Series, even those without a navigation system. It now has six programmable memory buttons that can control everything from a radio preset to a frequently traveled destination. Slow and steady progress perhaps, but iDrive is still as user-friendly as a shift knob made of razor wire. Build quality and materials inside the 5 Series are still outstanding, although competitors offer more stylish and less austere environments. Supportive seating is provided in both the front and rear, and even adults won't mind sitting in the commodious backseat. The sedan has 14 cubic feet of trunk capacity, while the wagon has a 34-cubic-foot cargo bay behind its fold-down rear seats, along with standard roof rails.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2008 BMW 5 Series.

Overall Consumer Rating

Most helpful consumer reviews

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!!!
Got rid of XC90 for this wagon. I-drive is simple, can set buttons on wheel for fast control. hands free is excellent, much better than my wife's '10 MDX. Comfort seats are unbelievable - makes the purchase. I am now a cornering demon and still get better mileage then my XC90 or the MDX even though they are driven more conservative. The car is also the quietest I've ever owned. My brake pads started squealing and I did not hear until I opened the windows. Plenty of room for 4 adults and a big dog. The cargo cover also has a pet partition built in. Ride quality is superb and unexpected for such a capable sport machine. Price if too high so buy used.
Fun to drive, but unreliable
I have owned many German AWD cars, after the Audi S4, this is the most fun to drive. That being said, it is not the most fun to own. I have had numerous mechanical issues and even more electronic issues. I have heard a few complain about the battery. I have switched to an Optima battery, which is cheaper and lasts longer. I have heard that BMW knew about his battery draining issue before they release it, but decided to replace the batteries instead of fixing the issue. The VANOS system had a glitch out east, oiling system out west, sparkplug in the Midwest, and a constant brake issue. I am afraid to open the sunroof for fear that it will not close properly and I’ll have to take it apart and manually close it. The parking assist doesn’t work at all and when it had worked it was over sensitive. Our front windshield was replaced and I still can’t get the intermittent wipers to work properly. The transmission seems to be slipping and I am not willing to spend the money to replace it. If it was repaired at a BMW dealer, it would total the car. Found out the differential bearing is bad and the unit has to be replaced not the bearing (a $5,000 job). Nothing is cheap to replace on the car and local shop don’t have the tools or electronics to work on it, so I have to drive 6 hours to fix something and spend big money on labor and parts. If someone else besides BMW fixes something (like the brake pads) the dealer will not turn off the warning light, because they did not do the work, even though they say it was a good job. On the bright side, it gets good mileage for the performance. It rides well, but I feel it is too soft. The backend wiggles on slick roads when it hits a bump at speed and that can be a bit unnerving. There is a lot of room in the back with the seats folded down and have used it as a makeshift tent in bad weather (as long as the sunroof doesn’t leak). The interior has held up well and the body hasn’t rusted. Would not buy one again, because of the reliability issues.
535XI Wagon w/Dinan Stage II
Stuck with the basics (sport Package, upgraded stereo, premium package), did not get run flats - and am VERY happy with the car. Have had no mechanical issues. Added Dinan Stage II upgrade and the car is scary fast while still getting 25+mpg on the highway. I love the exclusivity (under 900 2009's sold) and the ability to fly under the radar and behind large SUVs on the highway. Now that the 2011 wagon will not be brought into the US, I am glad to be "stuck" with this beautiful car for many more years.
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Features & Specs

16 city / 23 hwy
Seats 5
6-speed manual
300 hp @ 5800 rpm
See all Used 2008 BMW 5 Series Wagon features & specs


NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver3 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated

More about the 2008 BMW 5 Series
More About This Model

"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.

Used 2008 BMW 5 Series Wagon Overview

The Used 2008 BMW 5 Series Wagon is offered in the following styles: 535xi 4dr Wagon AWD (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 6M).

What's a good price on a Used 2008 BMW 5 Series Wagon?

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Which used 2008 BMW 5 Series Wagons are available in my area?

Used 2008 BMW 5 Series Wagon Listings and Inventory

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Find a used BMW 5 Series for sale - 1 great deals out of 5 listings starting at $16,177.

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Should I lease or buy a 2008 BMW 5 Series?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out BMW lease specials
Check out BMW 5 Series lease specials