BMW F10 M5 Buyers Guide

BMW’s either you love them, or you hate them. But never the less, the German engineering brand gives others in its class a run for their money with every model they produce.

The BMW F10 M5 is one of the most perfect culminations of performance and luxury that has ever hit the road. With its sleek, four-door design, the M5 grabs the attention of enthusiasts while still blending in with other cars in the street. The perfect daily for someone who needs the space, while also craving speed and precision.

And yes, I know some of the more hardened BMW enthusiasts will argue that the F10 pales in comparison to some of the older model M5’s that came before it, remember, we talk about practicality and hackability in Exotic Car Hacks, thus why the F10 is the subject of this buyers guide.

I owned my M5 for a very short amount of time but was able to make good money selling it due to the spectacular color combo/aftermarket mods. Most M powers have this mod-ability about them, if done correctly they can stand out like a piece of art, but if done wrong, it will just get disapproving looks from those who actually know what they are doing.

The F10 M5 was released at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show and began production later that year with the first models hitting showroom floors in November 2011. The F10 is an iconic BMW in its own right as it is the not only the first turbocharged M5 model, but it is also the first M5 model to have a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission. However, for the hardcore manual enthusiasts, there are F10 M5 manuals, but they were strictly for U.S production only.

Since then the evolution of cars has taken an incredible turn, just do yourself a favor and think about the luxury/exotic cars that were out and about in 2011…crazy right?

And through the now 8 years that the car has been on the roads, the BMW F10 M5 has managed to stand the test of time and become a favorited car in the Exotic Car Hacks community.

Driving Experience

Like I said previously, I owned an F10 M5 earlier this year and thought it to be a phenomenal daily. It was sporty when it needed to be, spacious enough to hold five people comfortably if needed, and still possessed that sense of luxury when driving around.

My M5 was a steal, if you want to know more about it, you can check out my full YouTube review on it here (add link later). But my driving experience would be a bit different than others with an M5 as mine was modded with Dinan Stage 2 Tune, Exhaust, and Cat Bypass (which I later put the cats back on because it was too damn loud!). So this car had a bit more haul than a stock M5, sounded more throaty in the exhaust, and handled a bit better too. However, looking back on it now, even without all the upgrades I would’ve still loved this car bone stock.

The F10 M5 evolved a lot from its predecessor the E60, which looked exactly the way you expected a BMW in the early 2000s to look. With a whole new front bumper, side, rear, and interior design, the F10 looks much more in place on the streets of today than the E60 ever would.

The F10 as I mentioned before was revolutionary due to its dual-clutch seven-speed transmission and twin turbo charged v8 engine. These two upgrades under the hood allow the M5 to put out 553 horsepower with 502lbs of torque, capable of reaching 0-60 in just about 4 seconds, with top speed of 190mph. That’s a lot of juice for a grocery getter!

This rear-wheel-drive sedan also has the M-Differential which provides torque-vectoring between the rear wheels (either 19” or 20”). With brakes coming standard as 6-piston calipers, or carbon ceramics as an option, that we here at ECH highly recommend, both for performance and for resale.

On the inside, the M5 is built with all the trimmings of a luxury car, spacious cabin, and a decent interior. Thought you will never not hear me say that I think the plastic in these cars degrades all the good points as it just looks so cheap! Putting that one flaw aside, sitting inside the M5 is an enjoyable experience.

Being the driver, you have all your controls handy in an easy to maneuver center mount interface with radio, nav, car info, media, etc. Though it is the exact same interface that is in a Mini Cooper…and a Rolls Royce… so, there is also that. AC controls are directly underneath, along with your shifter, making everything incredibly convenient for the driver.

I enjoyed being able to use my M5 as my daily driver for a few months after I toned down the tune a bit. Maybe I’m just getting old, but all that noise from the cat bypass was just too much, it rivaled my Aventador for the loudest car in my garage and to me, that’s just not ok. However, it was nice being able to take the M5 out on the town, enjoy the luxurious feel, and also not have to worry about where I was parking.

BMW M5 Common Problems

With any new model, the first year will always be a bit more problematic than the evolved years. Which seems to be the case. Though my M5 had zero issues (except for some check engine lights here and there due to the tune), we investigated the model further to bring you any and all problems that plagued the F10 M5.

Common problems include:

  • Problem: Clunking / loose noise from the rear on bad roads
    • Reason: Confirmed factory defect spring coils.
    • Solution: BMW releasing replacement spring coils in December 2012
  • Problem: Wind rattle/fan rattle sound when car is under throttle
    • Reason: Loose pipe clip on induction system
  • Problem: Brakes pedal becomes very soft after a few minutes of stress driving. Beware of increased brake distance.
    • Reason: Bad factory brakes. Choose ceramic brakes or don’t race for longer than a few minutes.
  • Problem: “Drivetrain error. Maximum power not available”
    • Reason: Legacy flaw in fuel pressure sensor /high-pressure fuel pump.
    • Solution: Possibly fixed on cars produced after February 2012.
  • Problem: Brake system failure/Tyre pressure sensor failure/Driving Stability Control failure
    • Reason: Brake pad sensor failure

Recalls open on the BMW F10 M5:

  • Engine Cooling:Engine ( Recall # 12V475000)

BMW issued a recall on certain 2013 BMW M5’s manufacturer from 7/19/12-9/11/12. Due to a manufacturing process error, the tolerance between the engine oil pump’s drive shaft and the pump’s rotor was not within specification. As a result, the pump’s driveshaft could separate from the rotor. Separation of the pump’s driveshaft from the rotor could lead to a sudden loss of oil pressure causing the possibility of complete engine failure, resulting in an engine stall-like condition, increasing the risk of a vehicle crash.

  • Air Bags: (Recall # 16V914000)

BMW issued a recall on certain 2016 M5 models. The affected vehicles have seat-mounted side air bag inflator initiators that may fail to ignite during a crash. If the airbag inflator initiator fails to ignite, the seat-mounted air bag will not deploy, increasing the risk of injury.

  • Seats: Mid/Rear Assembly (Recall # 15V718000)

BMW issued a recall for certain model year 2016 M5’s. The affected vehicles have an inboard lower anchor for child restraints on the left rear seat that may have been bent downwards, preventing the child seat from fully engaging both lower anchors. As such, these vehicles may fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) number 225, “Child Restraint Anchorage Systems.” If the child seat is not properly attached to the lower anchors, it can increase the child’s risk of injury in the event of a crash.

  • Powertrain: Driveline: Driveshaft (Recall # 16V540000)

BMW issued a recall on certain model year 2015 M5’s manufactured 9/4/14-12/4/14. The affected vehicles have a driveshaft that may have been inadequately welded during manufacturing. Due to the improper weld, the driveshaft may fracture and fail, causing loss of drive to the rear wheels and a loss of propulsion. Additionally, if the car is turned off and exited without the parking brake applied, the car may roll. Either condition increases the risk of a crash.

Though there may seem like a fair amount of recalls and some common problems, don’t let these scare you off. Before purchasing an M5 you can inquire to the seller/dealer about all open recalls and if they were addressed, if not, have them send it over to a BMW dealership to have the work completed. If the common problems worry you, a simple PPI will put your mind at ease. Though they cost $300-$400 to do, those few hundred dollars could save you thousands in repairs.

BMW M5 Cost of Ownership/Maintenance

The F10 M5 comes with BMW’s 4yr/50,000 basic/powertrain warranty. You will see BMW offering what seems like great extended warranty programs, but in truth they are costly. With two plans available you can choose from:

  • 100K miles/7 years – Platinum protection @ $7995 with $50 deductible.
  • 70K miles/7 years – Platinum protection @ $6995 with $50 deductible.

Which in our opinion is GREAT if the guy before you pays for it, but not necessary if you are the one eating the bill. There are third party warranties out there as well, but when you have the resources that ECH offers, it’s truly an unnecessary cost that can just eat into your profit margin for no reason.

As for parts and maintenance on the M5, the cost is for an oil change should be no more than $150-$200, depending on your area. If you are paying in the $300 range, then you’re doing it wrong. BMW’s are NOT like McLaren’s, they do not need to be serviced strictly at the dealership, in fact most independent shops can do the exact same work for fractions of the cost. And if you fear if the shop nearest you is rebuttable or not, never fear we have a full list of independent mechanic shops across the US who we trust enough to recommend to our members (link).

Tires can vary in cost, with some people putting all-season top of the line tires on their M5 since it is their daily all year long, costing as much as $1,300 while others keep it cheap and low budget, putting Japanese tires on the german sedan for less than $700 all said and done. I truly believe that tires are incredibly important, make the investment, even if you aren’t a track racer, and get yourself a nice pair of Michelin’s.

With the cars internal maintenance system, you’ll always be notified of service dates and any issues the car may be having internally as soon as you turn it on. Whether it be a low tire pressure, brake fluid replacement, general service needed, etc. All in all, if you take care of your BMW it will take care of you.

BMW M5 Model Year Changes


The F10 M5 is a generational car, meaning that not many changes were made in the few years of its production.

The only notable change is that the LCI/Competition Package was introduced in 2014. The Competition Package if applied would increase engine power (giving it 567hp), and would give the suspension better handling. Along with some cosmetic additions like better wheels and carbon fiber interior. The LCI is something BMW does to it’s generational models about 3 years in to their run. The M5 LCI update includes a tweak in the M “kidney grille”, which now features the badge and the slats have a double-spoke design. The steering wheel has also gotten an upgrade now being leather with the ‘M’ insignia. The interior of the sedan has also gained more space in the storage compartment under the armrest in the center console. The iDrive operating system now has chrome trim on the sides. Also for the first time, an optional Touch Controller is available with a touch-sensitive surface allowing, for example, characters to be entered when programming a destination for the navigation system.

However, it is worth mentioning that as of last year the new generation of M5, the F90 has hit the streets.

Under the hood, the new F90 still has the same 4.4L twin-turbo V8 engine. But it has been tweaked to output nearly 40 more horsepower than the F10 and outputs 553-lb of torque. All this power is now being routed through an eight-speed auto transmission (that’s right manual lovers, no stick for you!). Like the F10, the F90 has been a revolutionary car for the brand, as it is the first non-SUV to be built with an all-wheel-drive transmission.

The new M5 is lower to the ground, with a sleek and sporty design. The F90 comes with a new redesigned front bumper, headlights, grills, longer fender frames to the side, new rear bumper, diffuser, and tail lights all make the F10 seems bulky and husky in comparison.

The interior also got a massive upgrade with all new Steering wheel, seats, dash layout, iDrive screen, iDrive system, shift lever, and even adding an exhaust button to the mix.

So it is fair to say the M5 has indeed evolved into the sedan it needs to be in order to compete in the ever-growing luxury-exotic cross over space. Though, from a hacking standpoint, we suggest staying away for a few more years, don’t want to get caught in that depreciation snowball, even if you’re in the beautiful F90 while you do.

BMW M5 Options

While we don’t think of 5-figure options when we think of BMW, there are still some pretty important options when it comes to the German car’s resale.

For instance, certain paints command more money, like my own BMW M5 was in the rare Bentley Paint Code: Moonstone Metallic, rare and highly desired.

Ceramic brakes are also an important option to have with your M series, they are categorized by their gold paint coating. Wheel designs also command a higher dollar and attract a buyer willing to pay for them.

BMW doesn’t have many ones off options, but they do have specific packages that combine all the most highly desired options. You have the more luxurious: Executive Package and you have the more sporty combo: Competition Package (introduced after 2014).

If you want to see more of what both these packages hold, and of the other options an F10 M5 can have, take a look at the order guide below.

Best BMW M5 To Buy

Looking at this from a hacking standpoint, there is no denying that the 2015 BMW M5 is the one to get into. It’s the second to last year they were still in production, yes. But the 2016 M5’s are still being tied up in leases, and haven’t hit their full depreciation curve (maybe next year).

2015 is also the year that more Competition specs were built after being introduced in the 2014 models, making more of them opportunities to own the most desired spec M5 out there.

So while you’re looking for your 2015 M5 be sure to keep in mind miles. Yes, this is a sedan and was most likely used as such by previous owners, but no more than 30,000 in order to maintain drivability for you.


If you are looking for a reliable, good looking four-door sedan to use as your daily, or make your first hack, then look no further. The BMW M5 is PJ approved, as well as ECH hack tested. Knowing what you know now after reading this buyers guide, finding an M5 to put in your garage will be much easier. Just ensure that you always PPI these vehicles ESPECIALLY if they have aftermarket mods done to them at time of purchase. While Exotic Car Hacks focuses mainly on exotics, its principles can be applied to any luxury and specialty car like the M5 and provide the opportunity to MAKE MONEY while driving other than paying.

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