2008 BMW 5-Series

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$4,502 - $6,185 $44,600 - $58,800

2008 BMW 5-Series Review

Note: This review was created when the 2008 BMW 5-Series was new.

The 5-Series' ranking is based on its class-leading combination of performance, comfort and technology. Other luxury large cars may rank higher insafety and interior, the BMW 5-Series scores well in every category and deserves a close look from any buyer.

9.2

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 9.6
Performance: 8.9
Interior: 8.1
Safety: 7.5
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Pros & Cons

  • Excellent performance, handling and power delivery
  • Comfortable and luxurious interior with supportive seats
  • Numerous high tech performance and convenience options
  • Complicated iDrive cockpit controls
  • Insufficient cabin storage space
  • Priced above competitors within its class

2008 BMW 5-Series Overview

The 2008 5-Series, which AutoWeek says offers "everything you come to expect from BMW," receives a mid-cycle refresh for 2008 -- resulting in slight changes to its exterior design and more power added to the base and mid-level engines. Despite its complicated and unpopular iDrive system and shortage of interior cargo room, auto writers find that the 2008 BMW 5-Series remains a powerful, comfortable, and technologically sophisticated vehicle. In fact, Kiplinger deems the 535xi a "Best in Class" super luxury vehicle -- describing it as an "elegant, understated luxury car with high resale values, competitive fuel economy and top-notch BMW handling." Though the base price may be high, most critics believe the 5-Series is well worth it.

Another cost consideration works in BMW's favor: the 5-Series is surprisingly fuel-efficient for a large car built for driving excitement.  Like all BMW's, its high-compression engine requires premium fuel, but the big car uses less gasoline than much of its competition. 

The 2008 BMW 5-Series comes in four-door sedan or wagon body styles. Sedan trims include the 528i, 535i, and 550i. A performance-oriented M5 trim is also available. 

  • "BMWs have long set the standard for sports sedans, and while a handful of competitors have encroached on their territory, the 5-series sedan, and the 535i in particular, is one of the benchmarks against which others in this class are judged." - Kansas City Star
  • BMWs "have been the benchmark for so long that the cars themselves seem to exude arrogance." - Car and Driver
  • "To say it is the benchmark for the class is an understatement. It is the leader, and has been, for about as long as we can remember." - AutoSite
  • "It is plush, the motorized equivalent of an exclusive condominium. It is prestigious." - Washington Post
  • "The last-generation 5-Series had outstanding steering, handling and braking, with a supple ride. The new-generation version, which has nearly 50-50 weight distribution, is even better. ... Despite more adventuresome styling, the new 5-Series should do well. It's more fun to drive than ever, and driving fun has helped sell a lot of 5-Series models." - MSN
  • "Clearly BMW is working hard to maintain the 5-Series as the template for the mid-sized premium category, but it's facing its toughest competition ever. The new 2008 Cadillac CTS is a strong contender, as are the Infiniti M, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Lexus GS, Acura TL and Audi A6." - Orlando Sentinel
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