2008 BMW 5-Series Review

The Car Connection Expert Rating Breakdown?

8.0
on a scale of 1 to 10
Styling
8.0
Expert Rating
Performance
9.0
Expert Rating
Comfort & Quality
8.0
Expert Rating
Safety
6.0
Expert Rating
Features
9.0
Expert Rating
2017
The Car Connection
2017
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

The 5-Series sedans and wagons aren't the most practical or the best values in their class, but they're very enjoyable to drive.

The automotive experts at TheCarConnection.com perused what some of the top critics said regarding the 2008 BMW 5-Series sedan and wagon. Then, in order to provide you the best information to use when considering the BAM 5-Series, TheCarConnection.com's editors included their own firsthand driving impressions of the sport sedans.

The 5-Series is BMW's family of mid-size sport sedans and wagons; the 2008 BMW 5-Series gets a slightly updated look this year, with rear LED lights, a new headlight design, a new steering wheel, and revised door panels. A head-up display is newly available, and the iDrive system now has eight programmable "favorite" buttons. All engines are now fitted with the second generation of BMW's direct fuel injection for improved fuel economy.

Most notably, the 2008 BMW 5-Series now gets the stellar 300-horsepower, 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged six-cylinder that's been offered already on the 3-Series. But in keeping with BMW's no-longer-intuitive naming practice, it's called the 535i. The base engine on the 5-Series is the 230-horsepower, 3.0-liter six in the 528i; there's also a 360-horsepower, 4.8-liter V-8 model called the 550i. Each engine comes with a choice of six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmissions, and with the available Sport Package, 535i and 550i models come with paddle shifters. All-wheel drive is also offered on six-cylinder models in the 5-Series line, called the 528xi and 535xi, respectively.

Besides the sedan, there's also a single 535 xiT Sports Wagon model, which brings more useful utility while offering the same luxury and performance as the sedan. It’s reviewed separately. Fold-down rear seats are optional on the sedan.

Whether you go for the base 528i or the top 550i, the 2008 BMW 5-Series models have excellent handling and braking, along with a firm but absorbent ride and impressive standards of refinement inside the cabin. Each of the engines is smooth and quite responsive, but there's a wide difference between them; the 528 delivers satisfying performance, especially with the manual gearbox, while the 550 feels like a sophisticated musclecar, with a more aggressive V-8 sound and plenty of torque. Both engines deliver impressive fuel economy in real-world driving.

The front seats in the 2008 BMW 5-Series are among the best in any mid-size luxury sedan. They're very firm and supportive yet comfortable; in back, they're also quite comfortable, but there's a bit less space than most cars this size. Even better are the optional 20-way power Multi-Contour front seats, which include adjustable lateral and lumbar support and an articulated backrest.

The 2008 BMW 5-Series models come well equipped, but it's the astonishing list of high-technology options that really differentiates them from the competition. They include an active steering system that may be a driver's aid or a lifesaver, adaptive bi-xenon headlamps, a head-up display, active cruise control, high-beam assist, front and rear parking aids, night vision, a lane-departure warning system, heated rear seats, and a power rear sunshade.

There's an enviable list of standard safety features in the 2008 BMW 5-Series, including front side airbags, tubular head-protecting airbags for front and rear outboard occupants, and electronic stability control. Rear side airbags are optional. However, when the 5-Series was tested by the federal government, it earned a low three-star rating in frontal protection for the driver (though five stars in the other dynamic tests). The bad news didn't end there; the insurance-industry-supported IIHS found the 5-Series to be "good" in its frontal offset test, but only "marginal" in side protection and "acceptable" in the seat-based rear-impact test.

The Car Connection Consumer Review

1 Review
5 star
0%
4 star
100%
3 star
0%
2 star
0%
1 star
0%
Rate and Review your car for The Car Connection! Tell us your own ratings for a vehicle you own. Rate your car on Performance, Safety, Features and more.
Write a Review
Tuesday, April 28, 2015
2008 BMW 5-Series 4-Door Sports Wagon 535xiT AWD

More car than I had expected...and I expected a lot.

  • Overall Rating
  • Interior/Exterior
  • Performance
  • Comfort and Quality
  • Safety
  • Features
  • Fuel Economy / MPG
  • Reliability
Once you drive one for a while, then get behind the wheel of a competitor's car, you will, only then, really appreciate the tremendous difference. The attention to detail of the interior fit and finish is... + More »
people found this helpful.
Was this review helpful? Yes
Monday, August 22, 2016
2016 BMW 5-Series 4-Door Sedan 535d RWD

Excellent ride, great acceleration for a Diesel.

  • Overall Rating
  • Interior/Exterior
  • Performance
  • Comfort and Quality
  • Safety
  • Features
  • Fuel Economy / MPG
  • Reliability
We were in the market to replace my wife's 2007 G35 Infinite Sport. We ran into a lot of problems with the add-on packages that did not equal the ones in the G35 Sport. My car is a Jaguar, so one our first... + More »
people found this helpful.
Was this review helpful? Yes
Thursday, February 11, 2016
2015 BMW 5-Series 4-Door Sedan 535i xDrive AWD

As I age I want a more compliant ride with the usual BMW feel-this delivers it to me.

  • Overall Rating
  • Interior/Exterior
  • Performance
  • Comfort and Quality
  • Safety
  • Features
  • Fuel Economy / MPG
  • Reliability
Almost 12k miles on it now and no real issues. The ride is what I want, and, after pressing the "sport" button each time i start the engine, the responsive gas pedal takes me where i want to go. Once you get... + More »
people found this helpful.
Was this review helpful? Yes
See all user reviews »
Looking for other models of the BMW 5-Series?
Read reviews & get prices
Compare the 2008 BMW 5-Series against the competition
Compare All Cars
Related Used Listings
Browse used listings in your area
s