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BMW 5-Series reliability - how does it compare?

Old 05-11-2007, 07:48 AM
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In late 2005 I started conducting reliability research. I'm reporting absolute stats like "trips to the shop" that will make the differences between cars much clearer. I'll also be updating results four times a year, so there will be information on new models sooner.

There's plenty of discussion about how the reliability of a BMW compares to competitors. But there aren't any good numbers out there to enable a precise comparison. It's time to fix this.

Unforunately, I've had a hard time getting enough 5-Series owners signed up, so I haven't started collecting data on the model. Just 67 so far, for all model years. In comparison, 311 3-Series owners have signed up so far, and I'm collecting data on nearly every model year from 2000 on. I'd like to do the same with the 5-Series.

To encourage participation, panel members will receive full access to the results free of charge.

For the details, click the link at the bottom.

Comments, questions, and suggestions welcome.
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Old 05-11-2007, 06:44 PM
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Originally Posted by mkaresh' post='423322' date='May 11 2007, 10:48 AM
In late 2005 I started conducting reliability research. I'm reporting absolute stats like "trips to the shop" that will make the differences between cars much clearer. I'll also be updating results four times a year, so there will be information on new models sooner.

There's plenty of discussion about how the reliability of a BMW compares to competitors. But there aren't any good numbers out there to enable a precise comparison. It's time to fix this.

Unforunately, I've had a hard time getting enough 5-Series owners signed up, so I haven't started collecting data on the model. Just 67 so far, for all model years. In comparison, 311 3-Series owners have signed up so far, and I'm collecting data on nearly every model year from 2000 on. I'd like to do the same with the 5-Series.

To encourage participation, panel members will receive full access to the results free of charge.

For the details, click the link at the bottom.

Comments, questions, and suggestions welcome.
Do you actually own a 5 series? I have owned an E39 and now an E60. These cars spend a little more time in the shop than my Honda Pilot, but the Pilot is BORING. A trade-off that I am willing to accept. In other words, I do not put a lot of stock in surveys. This may be my first post, but I am a long time BMW owner. 2002, 320, 528, 740, 318ic, and 530.
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Old 05-13-2007, 07:13 AM
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Originally Posted by mkaresh' post='423322' date='May 11 2007, 11:48 PM
In late 2005 I started conducting reliability research. I'm reporting absolute stats like "trips to the shop" that will make the differences between cars much clearer. I'll also be updating results four times a year, so there will be information on new models sooner.

There's plenty of discussion about how the reliability of a BMW compares to competitors. But there aren't any good numbers out there to enable a precise comparison. It's time to fix this.

Unforunately, I've had a hard time getting enough 5-Series owners signed up, so I haven't started collecting data on the model. Just 67 so far, for all model years. In comparison, 311 3-Series owners have signed up so far, and I'm collecting data on nearly every model year from 2000 on. I'd like to do the same with the 5-Series.

To encourage participation, panel members will receive full access to the results free of charge.

For the details, click the link at the bottom.

Comments, questions, and suggestions welcome.
I have had my car for 3 years now and touch wood I have had nothing wrong with it.
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Old 06-10-2007, 06:30 AM
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Originally Posted by pinguhk' post='423899' date='May 13 2007, 11:13 AM
I have had my car for 3 years now and touch wood I have had nothing wrong with it.
This is actually much more likely than the horror stories that get so much more attention. Repair rates in general are lower than people think they are.
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Old 06-10-2007, 06:49 AM
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My car hadn't been to back to the dealer in two years when I took it for its first service in April.

Bulletproof.

I had a key go bad (subsequent to the service), but I chalk that up to my habit of tossing the keys on the foyer floor which is hard ceramic tile. The chip within the key "broke".

A lot of people on this forum take their cars in to remedy minor shortcomings... things that don't amount to unreliability.

Squeaky brakes, while certainly not perfection - don't keep a car from being reliable. Neither do rattles, squeaky door seals, or loud runflat tires. Lexus calls its obsession with perfection the "Endless pursuit of perfection". I call the act of dragging your car back and forth to the dealership for issues like these "the pointless pursuit of perfection".
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Old 07-09-2007, 09:31 AM
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Other surveys have people simply report problems. I have people report things they actually took the car in to have fixed, and currently only count those that the dealer successfully fixed. I also currently only report the number of repair trips, not the number of problems.

Even people who obsess about rattles and such tend to have them taken care of during a repair trip for something more serious. So my current method tends to yield more stable results than a simple problem count.

That said, I plan to report the rate of truly serious problems in the future, when I have a large enough sample to do so. For now I'm focusing on a stat that does well even with relatively small samples.
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Old 07-11-2007, 01:18 AM
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Late 2003 525i. 14 dealer visits in last 2 years. Worst car I have ever had the misfortune to own. Often for the same thing. Eg took to dealer for bad rattle on parcel shelf, had to go back a 2nd time for them to fit new clips, then a 3rd time to have airbag covers changed, which they trashed taking out the shelf ( but didn't tell me they had damaged it ). Not at all impressed with this car. Engine & mechanicals as good as gold. But the rattles/build quality/electronics is not as good as my wifes Jap car that was a third of the price. I wont buy another. I expect 2007 are a different beast to 2003's, but I'm not going to risk it. Lexus / Merc / Audi next time.
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Old 07-11-2007, 04:05 PM
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[quote name='mkaresh' date='May 11 2007, 04:48 PM' post='423322']
In late 2005 I started conducting reliability research. I'm reporting absolute stats like "trips to the shop" that will make the differences between cars much clearer. I'll also be updating results four times a year, so there will be information on new models sooner.

There's plenty of discussion about how the reliability of a BMW compares to competitors. But there aren't any good numbers out there to enable a precise comparison. It's time to fix this.

Unforunately, I've had a hard time getting enough 5-Series owners signed up, so I haven't started collecting data on the model. Just 67 so far, for all model years. In comparison, 311 3-Series owners have signed up so far, and I'm collecting data on nearly every model year from 2000 on. I'd like to do the same with the 5-Series.

To encourage participation, panel members will receive full access to the results free of charge.

For the details, click the link at the bottom.

Comments, questions, and suggestions welcome.


Count me in although just hear editor of Wat Car talking about their survey. Turns out that E60 is the most unreliable luxury car in market.
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Old 07-11-2007, 09:34 PM
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I am on my second BMW and I can say my Bimmers have spent more time in the shop than my other cars. Both the Audi and Benz I owned never had a problem, just regular maintenance. My E60 has definitely been in the shop more than any car I have owned. But I have the extended warranties, so I am not worried. The E60 is well worth a little extra trouble.
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Old 07-12-2007, 12:36 PM
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Originally Posted by JetBlack5OC' post='446597' date='Jul 12 2007, 06:34 AM
I am on my second BMW and I can say my Bimmers have spent more time in the shop than my other cars. Both the Audi and Benz I owned never had a problem, just regular maintenance. My E60 has definitely been in the shop more than any car I have owned. But I have the extended warranties, so I am not worried. The E60 is well worth a little extra trouble.


I disagree I dont think that after paying the crazy money that we do for these cars that we should be used as Guinea Pigs. I am on my second e60. This one is okay but my last one was so bad it had to be replaced.

However a friend of mine is a dealer and he tells me that he has had issue after issue with Mercedes he has sold mainly new s class and latest E Class mercs. He says he has fallen out with at least 30 customers over issue that they have had and Mercedes have been very slow to rectify problems.
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