Is BMW E60 Reliable? (Read Before You Buy)

BMW E60 was the fifth generation of BMW 5 Series, produced from 2003 to 2010. It came in both four-door sedan and five-door wagon body styles.

Nowadays, there are plenty of used BMW E60 available in the market, but people are still doubtful about its reliability and often ask “Is BMW E60 reliable?” Read this article till the end to know everything about the reliability of the BMW E60.

Is BMW E60 Reliable?

BMW E60 isn’t a very reliable car and ranks below average when it comes to reliability. The most recent E60 available in the market will be at least 12 years old, therefore the actual dependability will be determined by its age, usage, and parts conditions.

Like the majority of luxury cars, BMW E60 has reliability issues. Especially, models with turbocharged engines and the ones which were produced before 2005 have lower reliability ratings. Like I have said many times before, if reliability is the main concern, then you should always prefer Japanese cars.

Also read: Is BMW E92 Reliable? (All You Need to Know)

What are the Most Common Problems with the BMW E60?

Below are some of the most common problems with the BMW E60 and the average cost to fix them.

  • iDrive Infotainment System: BMW E60 was the first BMW to feature an iDrive infotainment system. Almost all initial models of E60 had one common problem, and that was with the new infotainment system.

There were several sensors and electronics issues related to it. This issue can appear at any time and it will cost you around $350 in repairs. To replace it completely, one can expect to pay $1000 to $1400.

  • Active Steering System: This was another new feature included in the BMW E60. The active steering system was a complex technology at that time and mainly faced issues with the slip ring, power rack, and steering module.

A slip ring is relatively cheap and can be replaced for $300. Whereas the steering rack is very expensive to replace and will cost around $2200 for a new one. Second-hand racks are also available, and you can get a used steering rack for just $500.

  • Valve Cover Gasket Leak: Like all other BMW models, the E60 is also prone to valve cover gasket leaks. The gasket on BMW E60 usually lasts from 30,000 to 50,000 miles. A gasket of inferior quality can even leak before the said mileage.

Valve cover gasket replacement will cost $800 to $1200. Parts are priced at around $550 and labor cost is $400 to $500.

  • Transmission: Another commonly faced issue with the BMW E60 is the transmission malfunction. Frequent gear slipping or a whining and clunking sound are a few symptoms of a faulty transmission. Properly maintained transmission is designed to last 300k miles but without the maintenance, it might need replacement after 100k miles.

This is the most expensive repair on the list. It can cost anywhere from $2000 to $4000 to replace the transmission of a BMW E60. Therefore, pay close attention to shifting gears and sudden vibrations while purchasing a used E60.

  • Thermostat: The thermostat becomes weak over time and a bad thermostat will cause overheating of the engine. A thermostat on BMW E60 usually needs replacement after every 80k miles. This replacement will cost $500 to $600. Parts are priced at around $370 and the labor cost is $200 to $230.

Also read: 3 Best BMWs for an Amazing Drifting

Which BMW E60 Years are the Best and Worst?

As mentioned earlier, BMW E60 was produced from 2003 to 2010. Initial years are considered as the worst, and the models after 2005 are considered relatively better.

BMW E60 introduced new advanced technology features like head-up display, active cruise control, adaptive headlights, night vision, voice control, and much more.

Earlier models faced issues with electronics and sensors but these issues were pretty much resolved in the later models. Therefore, models produced near the end of 2010 are the best ones.

Which BMW E60 Engines are the Most and Least Reliable?

BMW E60 powered by N52 engines is the most reliable. The N62 engines are also very reliable and are relatively cheap to maintain. Whereas the S85 V10 is the least reliable engine but it is also the most powerful one.

While among diesel engines, the M47 and N47 are considered the most reliable ones. The most powerful S85 V10 engine is also the most expensive to maintain. BMW E60 525i is a great balance of power and fuel economy, and its naturally aspirated straight-six N52 engine is considered as the most reliable engine among all E60 models.

Also read: What’s a High Mileage for a BMW? The Truth…

Is BMW E60 Safe?

BMW E60 is a pretty safe car and offers many advanced safety features. It received 4 out of 5 stars in ANCAP and Euro NCAP safety ratings.

BMW E60 has dual front airbags along with the side airbags and head-protecting side tubes. It also features electronic stability control (DSC) and ABS brakes. BMW E60 got a “good” overall rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) for both structure and safety cage.

How Much Does BMW E60 Cost to Maintain?

The actual cost of maintaining a BMW E60 is determined by its condition, use, and mileage. As a rough estimate, the true cost to own BMW E60 will be around $9600 if you’re driving 12,000 miles in one year.

Because of the soaring fuel prices, a major chunk of this money will be spent on fuel. At the current rate of $4.32 per gallon, one can expect to pay $2600 in one year in terms of fuel cost. The yearly maintenance cost will be $2750 and a single major can cost anywhere from $1000 to $3000.

The combined cost of insurance and taxes will be around $1000. The amount of money lost due to depreciation will only be $1500.

What is a Good Mileage for the BMW E60?

Finding a BMW E60 with low mileage will be a difficult task. The latest E60 available in the market will be at least 12 years old therefore anything below 120k miles will be considered as good mileage.

It will be an ideal scenario if you would find a used BMW E60 with fewer than 80k miles on the meter. Lower mileage usually means low maintenance cost and the probability of a major repair is also directly proportional to the mileage. Therefore, an E60 with low mileage is less likely to have a major repair than an E60 with high mileage.

What Parts Should You Replace and After How Many Miles?

Below are some of the parts which you should replace after a certain number of miles:

  • Spark Plug: Spark plugs on BMW E60 usually need replacement after every 40k to 60k miles. A new spark plug will cost $70 to $150 and the labor cost will be around $170.
  • Timing Belt: It is replaced after every 100k miles and the cost for this operation will be around $1000.
  • Tires: Tires are replaced after every 30k to 40k miles and a single tire of BMW E60 will cost $250 to $300. Premium tires are more expensive and are priced above $500.
  • Battery: Average battery life of BMW E60 is 3 to 5 years. It is relatively expensive to replace because the car needs to be programmed for the new battery. The combined cost of this replacement will be $400 to $500.
  • Oil Filter: It is replaced every time the engine oil is changed. An oil filter will cost $20 to $30 and its cost is often included in the cost of the oil change.

Are BMW E60 Parts Widely Available?

Yes, BMW E60 parts are widely available and you can choose from OEM or aftermarket parts. They are readily available on various e-commerce platforms. To save some money you can also purchase second-hand parts as there are plenty of them available in the market.

How to Buy a Reliable BMW E92?

Look for the things mentioned below before buying a used BMW E60.

  • Mileage: The BMW E60 is expected to be more reliable when it has less than 80k miles on the meter. Anything beyond 120k miles can be a maintenance nightmare. Another thing to make sure of is that the physical condition of the car corresponds to its mileage.
  • Engine: It is known as the car’s heart and is subjected to constant wear and tear. Before and after starting the automobile, look for any oil leaks around the engine. Inspect the engine oil as well and examine the key engine parts for originality and physical condition. Then cold start the engine and listen for any unnecessary vibrations or noises.
  • Tires: Tires and rims are expensive items to replace, so make sure that they’re the recommended ones and each tire’s tread is at least 2mm deep.
  • Test Drive: Finally, take a test drive and closely observe the performance of the BMW E60 on the road. Never purchase an E60 that makes a knocking or clipping noise because this suggests a serious problem with the engine. Inspect the gears, brakes, and suspension while driving and make sure that the steering system, clutch, and transmission are all in good working condition.

The BMW E60 Pros and Cons

The pros of BMW E60 include:

  • BMW E60 has modern and stylish looks and is equipped with the latest features.
  • Increased use of lightweight material also makes it lighter and improves the power to weight ratio.
  • It comes with numerous engine options ranging from a 2.0-liter straight-4 engine all the way up to the 500 hp V10 engine.
  • The interior looks luxurious and the parts of the BMW E60 are also readily available.

Cons of BME E60 include:

  • The high maintenance costs.
  • There are also reliability issues and some features like active steering system, iDrive infotainment system, and active suspensions are prone to malfunctions.