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F10 / F11 (2011 - Current)
The new chapter in the highly successful story of the BMW 5 Series Sedan (F10) and wagon (F11)

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  #1  
Old Yesterday, 08:54 AM
waynedog waynedog is offline
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Lexus LS460 vs BMW 5 series - rellability?

I have driven Lexus LS (400/430/460) cars for 10 years. I am ready to upgrade to a new(er) car (mine is a 2007) and am considering other brands like BMW. On the Lexus forum, there is widespread agreement that BMW's have reliability issues (compared to a Lexus). I am used to a car that has essentially zero issues for the life of the car. My BMW dealer is 25 miles away so even if covered under warranty, I do not have the time to be at the dealer getting problems fixed.

Could owners of BMW 5 series please give me an honest assessment of the expected reliability of 5 series? How many owners have had esssentially no problems for 3 years (my expected ownership length)? Anyone that has owned Lexus in the past and can compare reliability would be great.
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  #2  
Old Yesterday, 09:08 AM
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Here is a thread I posted recently that has some new and good information about this. The headline is that as regards car reliability, Toyota/Lexus is on a different level than everyone else. There are one or two really dreadful players (VW/Audi among them), and everyone else seems to be in a statistical cluster around average. This is to say that, chances are, your reliability experience with BMW won't match what you are used to, but it probably won't suck either.

Hope this helps.
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  #3  
Old Yesterday, 09:10 AM
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Zero problems on my 550 since 2011. Zero problems on my X3 from 2012. I had the HPFP and Fuel Injector problems on my 2008 335i. I had zero problems on my 2006 530i. Note that we aren't high mileage drivers.
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  #4  
Old Yesterday, 09:19 AM
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At first, LS is more like 7-series, not 5.

Surely I don't statistical data on both cars - but I'd say that normally (if you don't get a lemon) they would be more or less the same. Before I'd say Lexus was much better (I drive my wife's 2001 GS430 - only a few repairs except regular maintenance, nothing major), but now these days with all that electronic (coming from more or less the same manufactures) they will be quite identical.
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  #5  
Old Yesterday, 09:28 AM
JoeRock550 JoeRock550 is offline
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Toyota/Lexus have better reliability in general based on JD Power surveys, but that said I have never had any problems in the last 14 years of BMW ownership that required that I leave my vehicle at the dealer outside of regular service except my 2001 330Ci, which needed a new door seal. Never had a flat, never needed roadside assistance (knock on wood).
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  #6  
Old Yesterday, 09:49 AM
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I don't have the numbers in front of me, but the reliability numbers are usually something like 0.7 problems per car with Lexus, while the most others are in the 1.5-2.5 range. The bottom rung is maybe 3.5 problems per car. All of which are fairly insignificant considering the complexity of today's cars. It is even more insignificant when one realizes that these problems are now only warning lights alerting the owner to a potential problem that should be looked at before it does become a reliability problem. Getting stranded on the side of the road in a modern car is a rarity nowadays.
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  #7  
Old Yesterday, 09:59 AM
The X Men The X Men is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by waynedog View Post
I have driven Lexus LS (400/430/460) cars for 10 years. I am ready to upgrade to a new(er) car (mine is a 2007) and am considering other brands like BMW. On the Lexus forum, there is widespread agreement that BMW's have reliability issues (compared to a Lexus). I am used to a car that has essentially zero issues for the life of the car. My BMW dealer is 25 miles away so even if covered under warranty, I do not have the time to be at the dealer getting problems fixed.

Could owners of BMW 5 series please give me an honest assessment of the expected reliability of 5 series? How many owners have had esssentially no problems for 3 years (my expected ownership length)? Anyone that has owned Lexus in the past and can compare reliability would be great.
My 535i is over 2 years old and no problems so far. I cannot say the same about my 2008 Lexus GS350, it spend 4-5 weeks in the shop during its first year for rattles and starting problems. My other 2 Lexus had minimal issues. I guess what I am trying to say is that any car can develop problems, even a Lexus. It really comes down to the luck of the draw, but in general, Lexus will be more reliable. People buy Lexus for its reliability, If reliability is your top priority, then you should probably stick with Lexus.
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  #8  
Old Yesterday, 10:47 AM
dga dga is offline
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A BMW service manager suggested that I buy a Lexus if reliability is my first priority. However, if fun, feel and performance are more important and you are willing to trade-off some reliability, then BMW is the ticket.
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  #9  
Old Yesterday, 10:54 AM
At Law At Law is offline
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I have owned several BMW's over the years and have found reliability to be getting better and better with each year.

I recently purchased a new 550ix and this is hands down the best vehicle I have owned to date and the most enjoyable to drive.

I would not worry about reliability as compared to a Lexus or any other brand.

You'll be throwing rocks at Lexus in no time.
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  #10  
Old Yesterday, 11:07 AM
jjsC6 jjsC6 is offline
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You'll get outliers either way, but I don't thing it's a stretch to say that the statistical odds favor Lexus. My experience is in line with that. I've had two Lexus (Lexi ?) and MANY other Japanese cars over the past nearly 40 years that have been incredibly trouble free. I've also owned MANY Japanese motorcycles.

Two years ago I bought my first BMW motorcycle and my first BMW car. They both have had failures that would be virtually unheard of on Japanese Vehicles. You have to decide if a BMW pulls hard enough at your heart strings to accept if you do have problems.
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  #11  
Old Yesterday, 12:30 PM
grover432 grover432 is offline
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My BMW has had one problem in 8 months (a known issue) otherwise zero problems. As posted above, Toyota products are in a league of their own when it comes to reliability. Having said that, my mother's 2006 IS250 with 18,000 miles on it recently needed a water pump for $1,200 and a headlight for $350. Maybe she doesn't drive it enough?? If you want the most trouble free driving, stick with what you know. If you'd like to try something different, based on my experience, you won't go too wrong with a BMW.
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  #12  
Old Yesterday, 01:01 PM
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Mark K Mark K is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by waynedog View Post
My BMW dealer is 25 miles away so even if covered under warranty, I do not have the time to be at the dealer getting problems fixed.
I don't own a 5 series, but regardless of the model I think you have expectations that are too high to be happy with a BMW. As dunderhi said above, modern/new BMW will very, very rarely leave you stranded on the side of the road but dealer visits for various problems or recalls are, if not in the norm, then at least not unheard of and/or normal.

Keep in mind that most BMW dealers will give you a loaner car while they are dealing with problems on your car. Good side of it is obvious, bad side of that deal is a bit less obvious. Giving you a loaner seems to give them a license to never have part in stock and you end up driving a loaner for days when 3-4 hours would suffice if they had parts in stock or if they knew what they are doing and diagnosed the problem 3 parts ago.

My wife has, for probably different reasons, the same adversity towards visiting dealerships and their service departments. She is in a process of buying a new car right now. I helped her get in contact with forum sponsors, but I didn't strongly suggest she goes with BMW. There is a reason for that, at least in the area where we live.
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  #13  
Old Yesterday, 01:50 PM
bjayfan bjayfan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark K View Post
I don't own a 5 series, but regardless of the model I think you have expectations that are too high to be happy with a BMW. As dunderhi said above, modern/new BMW will very, very rarely leave you stranded on the side of the road but dealer visits for various problems or recalls are, if not in the norm, then at least not unheard of and/or normal.
While this is true and important for a first time buyer of higher end cars (primarily BMW, Merc and Audi) it's also important to know that things are very different, and better, because of Lexus (primarily), Acura and Infinity.

Those that are old enough to remember will remember that BMW service expense and reliability more closely followed that of Ferrari and other exotics. The philosophy was that to make a car of that level of performance/luxury was both expensive to buy and to maintain; simply the cost of ownership. That created a market that was much smaller than what BMW, Merc and Audi sell to today.

Things are better, but it's relative. And most importantly BMW, Merc and Audi understand how reliability impact sales. No car maker is perfect, none. Toyota (Lexus) grew to be the largest auto maker in the world, and reliability played a role in that.

Go drive a BMW (or Merc/Audi) and decide for yourself if the car is worth it. For some it is, for others it's not.
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  #14  
Old Yesterday, 02:27 PM
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markl53 markl53 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nesterk View Post
At first, LS is more like 7-series, not 5.

Surely I don't statistical data on both cars - but I'd say that normally (if you don't get a lemon) they would be more or less the same. Before I'd say Lexus was much better (I drive my wife's 2001 GS430 - only a few repairs except regular maintenance, nothing major), but now these days with all that electronic (coming from more or less the same manufactures) they will be quite identical.
A 2007 LS is like a 7? Don't think so -- 5 it is, IMO. In fact, I'd be hard-pressed to say a new LS is equivalent to a new 7.
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  #15  
Old Yesterday, 11:45 PM
CGP CGP is offline
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This to me is a very odd question. Only from my experience, BMW reliability is not in the same league as other manufactures. The only other car that even comes close is my crazy brothers Russian Lada. It exploded on fire one night when we were driving down the street at about 30 mph. Flames just billowed out from the hood and lapped the windshield. We scrambled out of the car and smiled as the auto bonfire just burned in the night and melted the hapless car into the piece of the twisted junk that it was.

Sorry back to BMW. I have owned two 5 series cars. Absolutely loved the E60 and learning to love its younger sibling. One car had 65k before I sold it and still driving the other with about 20 ks. According to my service records I have had the cars in 35 times over 60 months. This does not include the countless time I took the cars in to the dealer to discuss issues with the SA before an appointment was actually booked. Overall I would say I have been in about once every six to eight weeks. Some of the things that were repaired/replaced:
  • water pump replaced
  • twin turbos failed
  • melted and fused bulb carrier
    oil leak engine pan gasket
  • brake sensor
  • battery
  • leather upholstery
  • daytime running lights
  • turbo wastegate hoses
  • door handle
  • door still
  • cup holders
  • oil leak engine pan gasket
  • roof trim
  • air leak from airbox
  • cluster housing vibration
  • rear tail lights
  • right headlight
  • left headlight
  • numerous CBS readout faults (engine malfunction)
  • gear shift selector sticking
  • thermostats
  • comfort access faults
  • entertainment remote
None of this includes normal brake service, tire service, oil changes etc. But I must say that all of the repairs except the water pump were done under warranty. Generally no problems getting warranty service done - no issues (well okay it took some persistence on the battery). You will have problems over three years - but the warranty service is great - at least it has been for me.

I cant even count the number of cars I have owned over the years but perhaps strangely and unquestionably the two 5 series cars have been the best.
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  #16  
Old Today, 02:22 AM
jayb328i jayb328i is offline
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If your only consideration, your only concern, you only comparison items between a Lexus and a BMW is reliability ----you will not be happy unless you go with the Lexus. That is because one who does not appreciate the significant differences between a Toyota product vs a BMW will not appreciate the performance and feel of the BMW. Go with the Lexus.
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  #17  
Old Today, 04:51 AM
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markl53 markl53 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jayb328i View Post
If your only consideration, your only concern, you only comparison items between a Lexus and a BMW is reliability ----you will not be happy unless you go with the Lexus. That is because one who does not appreciate the significant differences between a Toyota product vs a BMW will not appreciate the performance and feel of the BMW. Go with the Lexus.
+1. While I have had very few issues with all of my 4 BMW's, the only significant issue being a few repeat visits for the '08 335i HPFP problem, they have been bullet-proof. But if someone is even asking about a decision between Lexus and BMW, or Mercedes or Audi for that matter, they will most likely be more happy staying with the Japanese brands. Maybe check out the new Acura RLX.
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  #18  
Old Today, 07:20 AM
The X Men The X Men is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CGP View Post
This to me is a very odd question. Only from my experience, BMW reliability is not in the same league as other manufactures. The only other car that even comes close is my crazy brothers Russian Lada.
I beg the differ, I think Toyota's reliability is over-rated. I had some Lexus that were problem free, but I also had Lexus that had numerous problems. I frequent the Lexus forum quite a bit and in my opinion, Lexus are pretty reliable but not problem free. I also think that Honda/Acura is right up their with Lexus as far as reliability, too bad their designs are so bad. Industry wise, reliability has come a long way. Almost every car makers that sells cars in the US has improved in reliability during the last 10 to 20 years. According to the J D power's 2013 long term reliability survey, Lexus had 71 problems per 100 cars in the last 3 years while BMW had 133 problems. One question one must ask, does it really matter if your Lexus has an average of 0.71 problem in 3 years or if your BMW has 1.33 problems? Its like asking which is cheaper, a $10 Rolex or a $20 Rolex.
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  #19  
Old Today, 08:42 AM
550newbie 550newbie is online now
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The Lexus reliability will be much better than the BMW. In the last 20 years (sheez, I'm getting old) we've owned three BMW's (540, 528 and my current 2011 550i), plus we've owned three Lexus (all RX series). The '95 540 had numerous issues (plus the Dealer was a joke), the '08 528 had a few bugs initially but otherwise was dependable, and the 2011 goes "in and out" of service regularly (fuel injectors, radiator, rough idle, "electrical charging error", etc.). Over the course of eight years with the Lexus vehicles...one of them needed a battery AND the Dealer sent someone to the house to replace it at no-charge.

But wait, there's more. I've only had the 550 for about a year. Initially I was looking at Mercedes, Lexus and even the Caddy CTS-V. We stumbled on the BMW and fell in love with the looks. Once we took it for a drive there was no turning back. As many of the fellow BMW owners have already mentioned, there's no comparison with the driving enjoyment and overall performance. In my opinion the BMW styling is sooooo much better than the Lexus, too.

So, take the safe bet and get another Lexus? I'd rather live with a Super Model for a few years even if she snores a little bit.
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  #20  
Old Today, 09:02 AM
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WJGreer WJGreer is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CGP View Post
This to me is a very odd question. Only from my experience, BMW reliability is not in the same league as other manufactures. The only other car that even comes close is my crazy brothers Russian Lada. It exploded on fire one night when we were driving down the street at about 30 mph. Flames just billowed out from the hood and lapped the windshield. We scrambled out of the car and smiled as the auto bonfire just burned in the night and melted the hapless car into the piece of the twisted junk that it was.

Sorry back to BMW. I have owned two 5 series cars. Absolutely loved the E60 and learning to love its younger sibling. One car had 65k before I sold it and still driving the other with about 20 ks. According to my service records I have had the cars in 35 times over 60 months. This does not include the countless time I took the cars in to the dealer to discuss issues with the SA before an appointment was actually booked. Overall I would say I have been in about once every six to eight weeks. Some of the things that were repaired/replaced:
  • water pump replaced
  • twin turbos failed
  • melted and fused bulb carrier
    oil leak engine pan gasket
  • brake sensor
  • battery
  • leather upholstery
  • daytime running lights
  • turbo wastegate hoses
  • door handle
  • door still
  • cup holders
  • oil leak engine pan gasket
  • roof trim
  • air leak from airbox
  • cluster housing vibration
  • rear tail lights
  • right headlight
  • left headlight
  • numerous CBS readout faults (engine malfunction)
  • gear shift selector sticking
  • thermostats
  • comfort access faults
  • entertainment remote
None of this includes normal brake service, tire service, oil changes etc. But I must say that all of the repairs except the water pump were done under warranty. Generally no problems getting warranty service done - no issues (well okay it took some persistence on the battery). You will have problems over three years - but the warranty service is great - at least it has been for me.

I cant even count the number of cars I have owned over the years but perhaps strangely and unquestionably the two 5 series cars have been the best.
Your experience is unfortunate but not normal. BMW reliability, except for Mini and a few outlier models, (the x45 engine models among them), has been a little better than average. Reference the study I posted above, and the JD Power Ratings.
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  #21  
Old Today, 10:54 AM
The X Men The X Men is offline
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Rxnewbie, why would you compare reliability of a bmw first year design high performance v8 turbo with the lexus rx which has been virtually unchange for years and purposely numb down to improve reliability.


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  #22  
Old Today, 11:12 AM
pony_trekker pony_trekker is online now
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Think of it like this:

Lexus is the librarian wife. Reliable, steady, comfy.

BMW is the stripper girlfriend. Fun but occasional drama.
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  #23  
Old Today, 12:35 PM
550newbie 550newbie is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The X Men View Post
Rxnewbie, why would you compare reliability of a bmw first year design high performance v8 turbo with the lexus rx which has been virtually unchange for years and purposely numb down to improve reliability.


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I compared it to three BMW 5 series (1995, 2008 and 2011). I didn't bother to mention my brother's 2013 X3 my co-workers 2009 750, another co-workers 2013 M3, etc., etc., etc.

When compared to everyone I know that has a Lexus: GX470, LS400, RX300/RX330/RX350GS430, etc. The BMW isn't as reliable. It's not a "dig", just a fact of life (my life anyway).

Prior to this BMW, I had a 2005 Acura RL. Awesome car with over 100,000 miles. Motor mounts and AC recall were the only "out of maintenance" service. I miss the car AS FAR AS THE RELIABILTY goes...but as pony-trekker put it....amen!
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  #24  
Old Today, 12:52 PM
Jamolay Jamolay is online now
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Originally Posted by pony_trekker View Post
Think of it like this: .



BMW is the stripper girlfriend. Fun but occasional drama.

You forgot: "and she'll hurt you in the end".

I think, if you read this or a lexus forum, you see a lot of problems because those with problems frequent forums.
It is like a hospital. Work in one for a while and you start thinking sick is the norm.
It is hard to judge, because the odds are that with either brand, the car you get will be fine. But if you get a lexus and it's not, you will think "well, it is the only one out of many, so that isn't too bad". If you get a bmw and it's not, you will think all BMWs suck and you will be pissed you bought it.
In that sense, you have to assess your own risk tolerance.


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