2011 BMW 5 Series SE 2.0 turbo diesel from UK and Ireland


Luxury and comfort, but quite high maintenance


A couple of minor electronic items.

General Comments:

Really like the 5 series; was contemplating buying a 3 series, but decided to go for something a bit bigger and roomier. Very good car and excellent drive. Handles well and the comfort is first class. Have had a Mercedes CLK in the past, but prefer the BMW.

These cars do have their bad points, and do require high maintenance and regular servicing with quality parts and oils etc. The only thing I would change, and have done, is removing the run flat tyres and replacing them with standard tyres, which give you a far better ride and also they are a lot cheaper. Remember to carry tyre inflater/puncture kit as there is no spare.

I find the car good on fuel and it has the bonus of cheap road tax, which is not bad for this car. The only other modification done to this car is an EGR delete and remap to 220bhp from the standard 184bhp; this was my choice and not really necessary, but does improve performance and fuel economy. Removal of the EGR improves the pick up and rev range on this car, but technically it's not legal to use the car on the road in the UK with it removed, but to be honest I don't know of anyone that's had any problems with either the transport people or going through an MOT.

The other point is, this car has the n47 engine, which can have timing chain issues as this was a design fault by BMW, but good maintenance and regular oil changes can prevent problems. If the timing chain did need replacing, it's an engine out job as the chain is at the rear of the engine, not the front like most cars, so expect around a £1000 bill for doing this! If purchasing one of these cars, always check service history and for any noises like chain rattle on this engine. Cars that have covered around 120k miles could have timing chain issues if poorly maintained, or might have had it already replaced.

The EGR can be troublesome, especially on a car that does short regular journeys (another reason why I had mine removed). It always helps to give the car a good long run regularly to help this.

Other things to check for, are minor water leaks from door seals and the notorious yellow bung leak from the bulkhead. This is where the hole is for left hand drive cars' steering that is blocked with this bung that can fail, causing a leak into the footwell of the passenger compartment. Pedestrian protection system sensors can be a problem too with the thin wiring failing that's behind the bumper, which can cause an error message on the iDrive on board computer, but it can be an easy fix and not too expensive. Or you can get the fault coded out by using suitable computer software like ISTA.

Other than that, I do love this car, and look forward to a few years of ownership.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 9th February, 2020

9th Feb 2020, 18:14

Excellent review, well written! These are good cars, but be aware - I am amazed for a modern car you can still have major issues like timing chains being weak. Many years ago I had a Vauxhall Senator 24V that suffered from this also, and was about £1000 to sort out as well. I'd expect it to be a lot more for a modern BMW despite your conservative estimate. I'd avoid dealers and find a good independent specialist should you have any major trouble to keep costs down. Keep us posted on any issues.

2011 BMW 5 Series 520D SE 2.0 turbo diesel from UK and Ireland


Very good. If it's the right colour, it's a head turner!


Nothing yet, only had it 4 weeks. Cup holder cover is broken already though :/

General Comments:

Very good car. Very popular in Ireland, so they're obviously a good car if a lot of people have one.

Cheap to buy compared to a Mercedes E-Class, Volkswagen Passat CC and Citroen DS5, which are the 5 Series contenders.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 8th March, 2014