Used 2012 BMW 5 Series
- Strong and relatively fuel-efficient turbocharged engines
- capable handling
- clean interior design with high-quality materials
- top safety scores
- excellent seats
- plenty of high-tech features.
- Feels bulkier and less sporty than past 5 Series
- smaller trunk than rivals.
Used 2012 BMW 5 Series for Sale
Edmunds' Expert Review
Possessing a strong combination of performance, comfort and technology, the 2012 BMW 5 Series is a top choice in the midsize luxury sedan segment. However, BMW loyalists may be a bit disappointed.
"A four-cylinder in the 2012 BMW 5 Series? Have they lost their minds?" We can hear this refrain echoing across the country as people read that BMW has replaced the iconic inline-6 engine in its midsize luxury sedan with a measly four-banger. The current 5 Series has already received criticism among the BMW faithful for sacrificing its sporting charm in favor of comfort and size. While we're still apt to agree with that sentiment, any concerns about the new four-cylinder are unfounded. In fact, it's a welcome development.
The new four-cylinder found in the entry-level 528i is direct-injected and features BMW's innovative twin-scroll turbocharger that prevents lag and maximizes performance across the rev range. The result is 240 horsepower, the same as last year's normally aspirated 3.0-liter inline-6, as well as 255 pound-feet of torque, a substantial boost of 30 lb-ft. The result is actually quicker acceleration, and thanks to its smaller displacement and the new automatic stop/start feature (also standard on the carryover 535i), the 528i achieves a truly impressive estimated 23 mpg city/34 mpg highway and 27 mpg combined. Only the Audi A6 2.0T bests that, but it has a less powerful four-cylinder.
Besides the 528i's new motivation, the rest of the 5 Series range continues on for 2012 -- albeit with a recalibrated throttle that rids the car of last year's irritating lag when you pressed the accelerator. There are still buttery-smooth engines in the 535i and 550i, while a wealth of available equipment remains waiting to make your driving life easier (and push the price to stratospheric levels). Last year's complete redesign plumped out the car's dimensions and sense of isolation; in many ways, the latest 5 is a less sporting car than it once was. But on the other hand, it's also more spacious and comfortable.
In total, the 2012 BMW 5 Series is a top choice among midsize luxury sedans, but we can no longer say it's the easy choice it once was. The Audi A6, Infiniti M, Jaguar XF and Mercedes-Benz E-Class are all stronger than the 5 in key areas and deserve close consideration. If there's one thing that shouldn't be held against the 5 Series, however, it's the new four-cylinder engine. It may seem weird, but times are changing and such downsizing is going to become the norm.
Trim levels & features
The 2012 BMW 5 Series is a midsize luxury sedan available in three trim levels that correspond with engine choice: 528i, 535i and 550i. The high-performance M5 model is reviewed separately.
Standard equipment on the 528i includes 17-inch wheels, adjustable driving settings (alters suspension, steering, throttle and automatic transmission response), automatic and adaptive bi-xenon headlights, LED running lights, foglights, automatic wipers, heated mirrors, a sunroof, cruise control and auto-dimming mirrors. Inside you get dual-zone automatic climate control, eight-way power front seats with four-way power lumbar and driver memory functions, leatherette premium vinyl upholstery and a power tilt-and-telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel. Electronic features include the BMW Assist emergency communications system, Bluetooth, the iDrive electronics interface and a 10-speaker sound system with a CD player, HD radio, an auxiliary audio jack and an iPod/USB audio interface.
The 535i gets a six-cylinder engine, 18-inch wheels and leather upholstery. The 550i gets a V8 engine, front and rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, 14-way multicontour power front seats and a navigation system with real-time traffic and a larger iDrive screen. All of these extra luxury and convenience features are available on the respective lower trim levels.
There is a wealth of other options available on every 5 Series trim, many of which are available within packages or as individual options. These include keyless ignition/entry, a power trunk lid, active cruise control, an automatic parallel parking system, Integral Active Steering, a blind-spot warning system, a lane-departure warning system, automatic high beams, headlight washers, side/top-view parking cameras, a head-up display and an infrared night-vision display. Inside you can add on four-zone automatic climate control, heated front and rear seats, ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, a sport steering wheel, a split-folding rear seat, a power rear sunshade, manual rear side sunshades, a rear seat entertainment system, satellite radio and a premium sound system.
The Sport package adds bigger wheels, adaptive suspension dampers, a sport steering wheel, an increased top speed and the multicontour seats. The M Sport package adds to those items a special aerodynamic body kit, special wheels and an M Sport steering wheel.
Performance & mpg
The 2012 BMW 528i is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that produces 240 hp and 255 lb-ft of torque. As with every 5 Series, rear-wheel drive is standard and "xDrive" all-wheel drive is optional. Also standard is an eight-speed automatic transmission and an automatic stop/start function that shuts down the engine when the car stops in order to save fuel. In Edmunds performance testing, a 528i went from zero to 60 mph in 6.4 seconds -- more than a half-second quicker than the old six-cylinder 528i. BMW-estimated fuel economy is 23 mpg city/34 mpg highway and 27 mpg combined with rear-wheel drive and 22/32/26 with all-wheel drive.
The 2012 BMW 535i gets a 3.0-liter turbocharged six-cylinder that produces 300 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque. Rear-wheel-drive models get a standard six-speed manual or an optional eight-speed automatic; all-wheel-drive models are automatic only. Automatic stop/start is standard. In Edmunds performance testing, a rear-drive 535i with the automatic went from zero to 60 mph in 5.9 seconds. BMW-estimated fuel economy is 19/29/23 with the manual, 21/31/25 with rear-wheel drive and the automatic and 21/30/24 with all-wheel drive.
The 2012 BMW 550i gets a turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 that produces 400 hp and 450 lb-ft of torque. The same transmission and drive options from the 535i are available on the 550i, with the exception of auto stop/start. In Edmunds performance testing, a rear-drive automatic-equipped 550i went from zero to 60 in 5.2 seconds. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 15/23/18 with the automatic and rear-wheel drive, 15/22/17 with the manual and rear-wheel drive and 16/24/18 with all-wheel drive.
Standard safety equipment for the 2012 BMW 5 Series includes stability and traction control, antilock disc brakes, front-seat side airbags, side curtain airbags, active front head restraints and the BMW Assist emergency communications system. The stability control system integrates several features designed to improve braking performance, such as periodically wiping the brake rotors dry in wet conditions and automatically snugging the brake pads to the rotors when the driver abruptly lifts off the throttle.
When equipped with active cruise control, the 5 Series also comes with a pre-collision system that can warn the driver of the possibility of rear-ending a vehicle ahead. If a collision is imminent, it can also automatically apply the brakes. A lane-departure warning system and a blind-spot monitor are optional. The night-vision system is capable of displaying possible hazards that are otherwise out of regular headlight range.
In Edmunds brake testing, various 5 Series models with the Sport package's summer tires came to a stop from 60 mph in distances ranging from 110 to 114 feet. Those are excellent numbers, but typical for summer tires.
In government crash tests, the 5 Series earned a top five-star rating for overall performance, with four out of five stars being given for overall front-impact protection and five stars for overall side-impact protection. In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety testing, the 5 Series earned a top rating of "Good" in the frontal-offset, side-impact and roof-strength crash tests.
It wasn't too long ago that the high-performance M5 was throwing down 400 hp. Now you get that (plus a lot more torque) out of the latest 550i, which accelerates as quickly as a V8 sport coupe but without the pretentious bombast. Choosing the 300-hp 535i or even the less potent 528i is hardly like sitting in the cheap seats; most people will be more than satisfied with their power. Putting a four-cylinder engine in a large sedan like the 5 Series may seem like a bad idea, but you'd be hard-pressed to tell the 528i has only four cylinders firing underhood. In fact, it gives up only a half-second to the 535i when accelerating from zero to 60.
Regardless of which engine you choose, the 2012 BMW 5 Series comes standard with BMW's Driving Dynamics Control, which alters the suspension, steering, throttle and automatic transmission response based on four driver-selected settings. This is a nice idea in theory, as it allows drivers to set up the car as they'd like, but in reality, only Sport mode comes close to achieving the sort of control feel the 5 Series used to possess. Unfortunately, the car also always defaults back to Comfort mode when you turn off the car, regardless of which mode was selected previously.
Handling has always been a hallmark of the BMW 5 Series, and although it's still a strong suit, the current model lacks the agility and communication of its predecessors. The steering transmits less feel, the larger dimensions make it feel bulky on tighter roads and there's just a general feel of isolation that didn't exist before. Our editors and BMW customers alike have lamented this change; however, the 5 Series' quieter cabin, more comfortable ride and lighter steering in parking lots may appeal more to the masses than before.
Both drivers and passengers will be quite pleased with the 5 Series' cabin. There's nothing particularly fancy going on, but the overall look of the dash is clean thanks to the standard iDrive interface that eliminates the need for a gaggle of buttons. The layout features a center display screen and a configurable display in the gauge cluster. The iDrive controller, thanks to its physical buttons and menu structure, is pretty easy to figure out and provides a large amount of customization of the car's features. Opting for the navigation system is recommended, as its screen is larger and much better-looking than the standard center display.
The front seats are quite comfortable, with the optional multicontour seats in particular providing an unmatched degree of adjustability. In back, there's enough room for a pair of 6-foot adults to be comfortable, and the backseat is nicely contoured and padded. The trunk, at 14 cubic feet of luggage capacity, is smaller than average for this segment.
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Features & Specs
More About This Model
Many years and generations ago, the 528i was the turbine-smooth, six-cylinder pinnacle of the 5 Series range. This engine capacity first appeared late in the life of the original 5 Series in 1979, last appeared two generations ago and reemerges today as the entry model of the current 5 Series lineup. But not as a 2.8-liter, nor even a six-cylinder.
The 2012 BMW 528i engine is now a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. The mill even looks downsized when you open the hood, a sizable void yawning between the nose of the engine and its radiator, yet it generates a promising 240 horsepower — identical to that of the outgoing 2011 six-cylinder 528i, but boasting an extra 30 pound-feet of torque. And, thankfully, 0.4-second-quicker sprint to 62 mph (6.3 seconds).
Economy and emissions gains are the main goal of the displacement and cylinder reduction. The 2012 528i improves on the 2011 model's fuel economy by 1 mpg city and 2 mpg highway and achieves an EPA rating of 23 city/34 highway mpg. The improvement is aided by a new stop-start system integrated into the standard eight-speed automatic transmission. But the key to this new engine's fuel-sipping strength is a single twin-scroll turbocharger that functions in concert with a number of well-established BMW technologies.
These include double VANOS variable valve timing and the company's Valvetronic induction system, which does away with the throttle plate. The 528i's four-cylinder routes exhaust gases from each pair of cylinders to a separate turbine inlet to speed the engine's reaction to a twitching right foot. Fuel is fed by precisely metered, solenoid-controlled direct injectors, while refinements to the Valvetronic system have also improved its precision.
Torque From Low Revs
The result is a very impressive 240 hp from 2.0 liters and even more usefully, a stout 258 lb-ft of torque from as low as 1,250 rpm. This torque stream is sustained all the way to 4,800 rpm, promising the kind of midrange punch that normally aspirated six-cylinder gas engines rarely offer. And you can feel its effects almost as soon as you move off, the 2012 BMW 528i advancing with a confident authority that's heightened by the tremor-free activities of its eight-speed automatic transmission.
All those ratios help disguise the steep ramp to the torque peak, which kicks in with authority as the revs approach 2,000 rpm. But to uncover this, you must switch to manual shifting so you can hold the car in a gear, trickle it down to 1,000 rpm in 2nd and stomp on the accelerator as if you hate it. There's a brief pause, followed by an excitingly exponential surge that leaves no doubt that this is a rapid car. By 2,000 rpm it's pulling like a lashed mule and there's a substantial power spike at 3,500 rpm. The acceleration is unrelenting until 6,500 rpm, when the transmission automatically upshifts to let you do it all over again.
Though this four has lost the turbinelike wail of the six, it's more powerful and it stays smoothly unfussed until it closes on 6,600 rpm. The culture of the six is gone, but there's more honest muscle to this engine. Those familiar with a BMW straight-6's smooth-spinning ways will miss it some, but it makes the 5 Series a better car. There's some refinement missing, but the return of lighter fuel bills, more torque and extra entertainment is a worthy trade.
Control Your Driving Experience
Further entertainment can be had from the new rocker switch occupying the center console near your right knee. Grandly labelled the "Driving Experience Control," it alters the throttle response, steering weight, stability control thresholds, transmission shift strategy and the calibration of the dynamic dampers, which come with both the M Sport and Sport option packages.
There are four settings, labelled "Sport+," "Sport," "Comfort" and "Eco Pro." Driving Experience Control is most worthwhile if you ordered those dynamic dampers, whose settings alter the character of the car noticeably from the pillowy comfort of a big, old Buick — though without the wallow — to sensations distinctly more athletic when you aim the 528 at a bend and hard-charge it. As you'd hope of a car promoted as a sport sedan, it spears them with a satisfyingly quiet confidence that's sharpened by the fact that the four-cylinder engine in its nose is lighter than the outgoing six.
Select the Sport+ mode, which relaxes the stability control system's interventionist policy and you can indulge the occasional tail slide. But it's the smooth and rapid fluency down the road that characterizes this car more so than exploring the outer reaches of its rear tires' grip. The 528i's dynamic capabilities can now be further stretched with four-wheel drive, as the xDrive option's rear-axle-biased torque distribution largely preserves the 5's rear-drive character.
High Tech, Low Consumption
And Eco Pro? It's about fuel economy strategies for both you and the car. The car's contribution is to lower the energy demands of the air-conditioning and assorted electrical systems such as the heated front seats, while providing you with some fuel-saving driving guidance. This includes an infotainment display whose bar graphs track the car's consumption over the previous 15 minutes while providing a rolling average. That's good, but the occasional appearance of rather obvious driving tips, such as "accelerate moderately" will irritate some drivers.
The 2012 BMW 528i is a car with an unusual breadth of personality, ranging from comfortable econo-sedan to sporting four-door. And this efficient new twin-turbo four allows it to pull off these character switches with conviction. Yet it's not a car of split personality. The satisfying way in which it gels makes it easy to understand why this is the best-selling sedan in its class, worldwide.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored press event to facilitate this report.
Used 2012 BMW 5 Series Overview
The Used 2012 BMW 5 Series is offered in the following submodels: 5 Series Sedan. Available styles include 535i 4dr Sedan (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 6M), 535i xDrive 4dr Sedan AWD (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 8A), 528i 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 8A), 528i xDrive 4dr Sedan AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 8A), 550i 4dr Sedan (4.4L 8cyl Turbo 6M), and 550i xDrive 4dr Sedan AWD (4.4L 8cyl Turbo 8A).
What's a good price on a Used 2012 BMW 5 Series?
Save up to $300 on one of 22 Used 2012 BMW 5 Series for sale at dealerships within 25 miles of Ashburn, VA with prices as low as $11,995 as of10/20/2018, based on data from dealers and consumer-driven dealer ratings ranging from1 to 5 out of 5 stars.
Price comparisons for Used 2012 BMW 5 Series trim styles:
- The Used 2012 BMW 5 Series 535i xDrive is priced between $11,995 and$17,999 with odometer readings between 0 and138200 miles.
- The Used 2012 BMW 5 Series 528i xDrive is priced between $12,995 and$18,691 with odometer readings between 37034 and129264 miles.
- The Used 2012 BMW 5 Series 528i is priced between $12,999 and$19,995 with odometer readings between 36379 and81131 miles.
- The Used 2012 BMW 5 Series 535i is priced between $15,495 and$17,969 with odometer readings between 71688 and93820 miles.
- The Used 2012 BMW 5 Series 550i is priced between $15,944 and$15,944 with odometer readings between 91284 and91284 miles.
- The Used 2012 BMW 5 Series 550i xDrive is priced between $19,988 and$19,988 with odometer readings between 54640 and54640 miles.
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Which used 2012 BMW 5 Serieses are available in my area?
Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2012 BMW 5 Series for sale near. There are currently 22 used and CPO 2012 5 Serieses listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $11,995 and mileage as low as 0 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used 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 Used 2012 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 used or CPO 2012 5 Series available from a dealership near you.
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Should I lease or buy a 2012 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.