Smallish trunk; feels a bit big and unwieldy on tight roads.
Permanent heartburn. That's pretty much what the BMW 5 Series has been giving the executives at other luxury automakers. This midsize luxury sport sedan has been the best-selling car in its class the past five years, an automobile that can make the morning slog in commute traffic perfectly comfortable and yet hustle down a scenic road and make you feel alive again.
For the 2011 BMW 5 Series, the competition will have even more to worry about. This seventh-generation 5 Series boasts more power, better fuel economy, a roomier interior and more comfort and convenience features. But there are some mild surprises here, too. For one, the BMW 5 Series has abandoned avant-garde styling, and it trades in its former Lady Gaga costume for the equivalent of a three-piece business suit. Actually BMW has made the 5 Series more like the 7 Series, with the two cars sharing not only the same personality but also the same hardware and the same features.
How does it all come together? Well, after our initial drive we have to say that BMW has indeed created another car for Goldilocks, a "just right" combination of luxury and sport. This 2011 BMW 550i has proven so impressive that we are left with precious little in terms of negative commentary. The new 5 Series is simply a brilliant sedan that should perfectly suit the luxury sedan buyer. Those auto executives better start stocking up on more Tums.
This 2011 BMW 550i is the top dog of the current 5 Series product line. It features the same twin-turbo, direct-injection 4.4-liter V8 that's also found in the 7 Series sedan. Rated at 400 horsepower and 450 pound-feet of torque, the engine delivers a rush of power when you stomp on the throttle pedal. BMW claims the 2011 BMW 550i will accelerate to 60 mph from a standstill in 5.0 seconds, notably quicker than the last Mercedes-Benz E550 we tested, which took 5.3 seconds to reach 60. You're also going to get respectable fuel economy, as the 550i with its automatic transmission is rated by the EPA at 20 mpg combined.
This new eight-speed automatic transmission is also part of the reason the new BMW 5 Series drives so well. At first you might think that eight gears are just too many to choose from, like a 7-Eleven coffee drinker face to face with a Starbucks menu for the first time. After all, even BMW's former six-speed automatic seemed alternately obstinate and arbitrary in its shift patterns. Yet the new ZF-built eight-speed makes the transitions from gear to gear without a hint of shift shock, and the gear selection is wonderfully intuitive, effectively balancing performance with fuel economy.
This example of the 2011 BMW 550i features the Dynamic Handling option package, which offers driver-adjustable settings for suspension firmness, throttle action, steering assist and transmission responsiveness. There is a noticeable difference between the car's four progressive tuning modes, which include Comfort, Normal, Sport and Sport +. We found Normal to be a good pick for, well, normal driving, with Sport being best for drives on winding roads. Some of our editors felt that Comfort mode made the car a little slow to respond to throttle inputs for their tastes.
The 5 Series has grown 2.3 inches longer and gained about 375 pounds with this new platform based on the 7 Series, yet the car still feels agile on the road thanks to a new front suspension design and a wider track, while the Dynamic Handling package's adaptive dampers and adaptive antiroll bars are more responsive than before. With a handling balance as neutral as Switzerland, this is a sedan you can hustle down the road without reservations.
The 5 Series now has electric-assist power steering this year, yet it still communicates a respectable amount of feedback where the front tires meet the road. Also new is optional active four-wheel steering, which quickens the car's responses on the highway and makes this new, longer 5 Series a bit more maneuverable at parking-lot speed.
If there's a downside to the new 5 Series, it's that the car drives a lot more like a 7 Series than a slightly bigger 3 Series. On tight roads in particular, this 2011 BMW 550i felt a little unwieldy compared to previous generations of the 5 Series. If the car is equipped with the various electronic helpers available (as this car has been), the 2-ton curb weight isn't really an issue. But this is now a big car in terms of personality as well as dimensions.
Planning on driving from Las Vegas to Cleveland without stopping? No? OK, good, we wouldn't either. But you could hardly ask for a better car for the task than this 2011 BMW 550i. While the new 5 Series can't quite match the refined ride of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, the 550i's adaptive suspension lets you dial in the car to the pavement under the tires, and the Comfort setting beats back even broken concrete until you sense nothing more than a gentle whump. As expected, road and wind noise are subdued, though our test car seemed to produce a bit more highway wind noise around the front doors than expected.
Our test car came with the upscale "multicontour" front seats, which are very impressive in terms of comfort and adjustability. Up front, we had no issues with headroom or legroom and indeed found it quite easy to get an ideal driver position. Are these the best front seats in the midsize sedan segment? Quite possibly.
In back, there's a bit more legroom than before, and two normal-size adults should find the backseat comfortable enough should you actually make that drive to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. As expected, though, the center seating position of the rear seat is for small children only, as it's like sitting on a camel's hump.
BMW now offers an optional automated parallel-parking system, and the 5 Series is the first car to get it. In operation it's similar to the system that Ford uses for a variety of its vehicles. Sensors mounted on the side of the car measure the length and width of available parking spaces as you drive by them at speeds up to 22 mph. Once the system has found a likely spot, you're only responsible for working the throttle and brake, because the car will handle the steering. In action, it works pretty well (it takes about 30 seconds from start to completed park).
In its younger days, iDrive was largely reviled for its confusing software and clumsy controller. But just like Neil Patrick Harris, iDrive has matured and improved. The 2011 5 Series finally gets the fully updated version this year, which includes a new menu structure for the information displayed on the view screen and a full allotment of shortcut buttons around the rotary control knob on the center console. Overall the new iDrive works quite well, and nearly all functions (including iPod integration) are easy to either use or learn. Every BMW 550i comes with a hard-drive-based navigation system as standard equipment, and the 10.2-inch display screen is bright and clear.
In terms of practicality, the 550i's trunk measures 14 cubic feet. The opening is wide, but this is less capacity than what's offered by the BMW's competitors. Within the passenger cabin, interior storage is about average for this class of car, with an adequate-size center console bin and two cupholders both front and rear. Should you have children, the 550i's backseat will easily manage front- or rear-facing child safety seats.
Design/Fit and Finish
Fit and finish has always been a big part of the appeal of a BMW 5 Series. The quality of the materials is very high and everything is put together beautifully. Thanks to iDrive, the dash has a clean, modern design that's free of confusing buttons. We also like this year's revised interior design, as it's now a bit more driver-centric than before.
As for exterior styling, the 2011 5 Series certainly looks more conservative. Visually it has much in common with the 7 Series, and at first glance you may just have a bit of trouble figuring out which car you're looking at. But on the whole we like the new look, as the car is still handsome and undeniably a BMW.
Who should consider this vehicle
While just about any luxury sedan shopper will be quite happy with a 2011 BMW 550i, it will likely appeal most to those who prioritize performance or sporty driving dynamics. The strong V8 and athletic handling are the car's standout attributes.
The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.
2011 BMW 5 Series Overview
The 2011 BMW 5 Series is offered in the following submodels: Sedan. Available styles include 528i 4dr Sedan (3.0L 6cyl 8A), 535i 4dr Sedan (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 6M), and 535i xDrive 4dr Sedan AWD (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 8A). 5 Series models are available with a 3.0 l-liter gas engine, with output up to 300 hp, depending on engine type. The 2011 5 Series comes with rear wheel drive or all wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 8-speed shiftable automatic, 6-speed manual. The 2011 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 2011 BMW 5 Series?
Save up to $300 on one of 127 used 2011 BMW 5 Seriess for sale at dealerships within 25 miles of Ashburn, Virginia with prices as low as $11999 as of Nov 19, 2017, based on data from 18 dealers and 210 consumer-driven dealer ratings ranging from 1 to 5 out of 5 stars.
Price comparisons for used 2011 BMW 5 Series trim styles:
The 2011 BMW 5 Series 528i is priced around $13972 with average odometer reading of 92315 miles.
The 2011 BMW 5 Series 535i xDrive is priced around $18338 with average odometer reading of 69269 miles.
The 2011 BMW 5 Series 550i xDrive is priced around $18000 with average odometer reading of 92327 miles.
The 2011 BMW 5 Series 535i is priced around $18026 with average odometer reading of 72245 miles.
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Is the 2011 BMW 5 Series a good car? Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2011 BMW 5 Series and all model years in our database. Our rich content includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2011 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 2011 BMW 5 Series? Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2011 BMW 5 Series and all its trim types. Overall, Edmunds users rate the 2011 5 Series 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 2011 5 Series.
Review I bought a 2011 550i Xdrive in late 2010, within the last six weeks I have had; 4 runflat tires (on 19inch wheels) go bust over fairly minor pot holes. they were 4 unrelated incidents. Cost to replace, just shy of $2000. Last week my car with about 10,500 miles on the clock, broke down on the highway, message 'transmission malfunction'. One tow and 5 days, later I got it back with the rear differential replaced. One day after I got it back from the local BMW dealer, new warning '4 by 4 chassis stabilisation malfunction contact your BMW dealer , do not brake hard' Given that this fully loaded, nearly $70,000 car is completely unreliabe, I am seriouly thinking of getting rid of it.
2011 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) 2011 BMW 5 Series for sale near Ashburn VA. There are currently 180 new and 1144 used and CPO 2011 5 Seriess listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as 10996 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 2011 BMW 5 Series. Then select Edmunds special offers, perks, deals, and incentives to contact the dealer of your choice and save up to 300 on a new, used, or CPO 2011 5 Series available from one of 2796 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
Is the 2011 Bmw 5-series safe? The 2011 Bmw 5-series earned a 5-star overall safety rating from NHTSA and "GOOD" ratings from the IIHS in the following caregories: Side Impact Test, Roof Strength Test, Rear Crash Protection/Head Restraint, Moderate Overlap Front Test Results, and a JD POWER overall quality rating of 3.0 out of 5. Among Edmunds' many tools and resources for finding your perfect car are detailed safety ratings and analysis from NHTSA, IIHS, and JD Power, including overall ratings, frontal barrier crash ratings, side impact tests and crash ratings, rollover test results, roof strength tests, rear crash protection and head restraint ratings, side barrier ratings, combined side barrier and pole ratings, and more.
2011 bmw 5-series 528i 4dr Sedan (3.0L 6cyl 8A), 8-speed shiftable automatic, premium unleaded (required) 25 combined MPG 22 city MPG/32 highway MPG
2011 bmw 5-series 535i 4dr Sedan (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 6M), 6-speed manual, premium unleaded (required) 22 combined MPG 19 city MPG/28 highway MPG
2011 bmw 5-series 535i xDrive 4dr Sedan AWD (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 8A), 8-speed shiftable automatic, premium unleaded (required) 23 combined MPG 19 city MPG/29 highway MPG
What options are available on the 2011 BMW 5 Series?
Available BMW 5 Series 2011 Submodel Types: Sedan, Diesel, Hybrid, M550i xDrive, Wagon
Exterior Colors: Jet Black, Alpine White, Black Sapphire Metallic, Dark Graphite Metallic, Space Gray Metallic, Titanium Silver Metallic, Imperial Blue Metallic, Glacier Silver Metallic, Carbon Black Metallic, Monaco Blue Metallic, Mineral White Metallic, Callisto Grey Metallic, Platinum Gray Metallic, Bluestone Metallic, Cashmere Silver Metallic, Deep Sea Blue Metallic, Amethyst Gray Metallic, Titanium Gray Metallic, Dark Graphite Metallic II, Jatoba Brown Metallic, Mediterranean Blue Metallic, Orient Blue Metallic, Mineral Grey Metallic, Tasman Green Metallic, Citrin Black Metallic, Deep Green Metallic, Jatoba Metallic, Milano Beige Metallic, Mojave Metallic, Silver Gray Metallic, Sterling Grey Metallic, Atlas Cedar Metallic, Champagne Quartz Metallic, Glacier Green Metallic, Montreal Blue Metallic, Olivin Green Metallic, Oxford Green Metallic, Pyrite Brown Metallic, Steel Blue Metallic, Sterling Gray Metallic, Aspen Silver Metallic, Blue Water Metallic, Cashmere Beige Metallic, Mystic Blue Metallic, Platinum Bronze Metallic, Platinum Bronze Metallic (Late Availability)
Interior Colors: Black Dakota leather, Black premium leather, Cinnamon Brown Dakota leather, Black Nappa premium leather, Beige leatherette, Black Dakota w/Contrast Stitching/Piping leather, Black leatherette, Venetian Beige Dakota leather, Cognac Dakota w/Contrast Stitching/Piping leather, Black Dakota w/Blue Contrast Stitching/Piping leather, Black SensaTec leatherette, Gray premium leather, Black Dakota w/Exclusive Stitching leather, Amaro Brown Extended Merino premium leather, Canberra Beige/Black Dakota w/Contrast Stitching/Piping leather, Cinnamon Brown leather, Black, Ivory White/Black Nappa premium leather, Black Nappa w/Contrast Stitching/Piping premium leather, Natural Brown premium leather, Venetian Beige leather, Cream Beige premium leather, Everest Gray leather, Gray, Mocha Nappa w/Black premium leather, Beige, Mocha w/Black Nappa premium leather, Venetian Beige/Black Dakota leather, Canberra Beige/Black SensaTec leatherette, Everest Gray Dakota leather, Night Blue Dakota w/Contrast Stitching/Piping leather, Oyster/Black leather, Veneto Beige leatherette, Venetian Beige Dakota w/Exclusive Stitching leather, Oyster and Black Dakota leather, Ivory White w/Oyster Nappa premium leather, Black leather, Mocha Nappa w/Contrast Stitching/Piping premium leather, Venetian Beige SensaTec leatherette, Ivory White Nappa w/Black premium leather, Ivory White Nappa w/Contrast Stitching/Piping and Dark Coffee Dashboard premium leather, Ivory White Nappa w/Contrast Stitching/Piping premium leather, Oyster and Black Nappa premium leather, Beige premium leather, Silk Gray/Black Extended Merino premium leather, Venetian Beige/Black Dakota w/Exclusive Stitching leather, Venetian Beige/Black SensaTec leatherette, Auburn premium leather, Individual Platinum Extended Merino premium leather, Ivory White Dakota w/Contrast Stitching/Piping and Dark Coffee Dashboard leather, Ivory White Dakota w/Contrast Stitching/Piping leather, Nutmeg Extended Merino premium leather, Sand
Popular Features: Alarm, Audio and cruise controls on steering wheel, Power Driver Seat, Rear Bench Seats, Trip Computer, Auto Climate Control, Multi-Zone Climate Control, Stability Control, Sunroof/Moonroof, Tire Pressure Warning, Bluetooth, Automatic Emergency Braking, Aux Audio Inputs, Post-collision safety system, Upgraded Headlights, AWD/4WD, USB Inputs, Fold Flat Rear Seats, Navigation, Leather Seats, Back-up camera, Parking sensors, Heated seats, Electronic Folding Mirrors, Power Liftgate/Trunk, Pre-collision safety system, Heads up display, Keyless Entry/Start, Upgraded Stereo, Lane Departure Warning, Blind Spot Monitoring, Apple Carplay/Android Auto, Mobile Internet, Adaptive Cruise Control, 360-degree camera, Cooled Seats, Rear Entertainment System