The BMW M5 Might Be More Reliable Than You Think

The BMW M5 is a legendary sports sedan. Since the original E28 version, the M5 has offered serious performance in a comfortable and usable package. Early versions also offered some of the best dynamics you could get in a four-door vehicle, while more recent versions have focused on all-out speed. The biggest downside, though, is that the M5 has never been known as a particularly reliable car. A new study by automotive analytics firm iSeeCars, though, suggests that it’s not as bad as you think.

In their ranking of the sports cars most likely to reach 150,000 miles, the M5 placed fifth. And while I disagree on this definition of “sports car,” it’s undeniably surprising to find the M5 just behind the Mazda MX-5 Miata in a longevity ranking.

Now, before you go and buy a ran-when-parked salvage title E60 on Craigslist, there are some serious caveats. First, this ranking is based on what percentage of used models sold in 2019 transacted with more than 150,000 miles on the odometer. That means that—in addition to reliability—it is heavily influenced by which cars are driven the most. So while other segments are ranked by which cars are most likely to cross 200,000 miles, the bar for “sports cars” is lower.

Since the M5 is a sports sedan and not some weekend-only roadster, it’s got an advantage in studies like this. This ranking, though, doesn’t consider maintenance records or costs. So it’s not just about which cars can make it to 150,000 miles, but also which cars owners are willing to repair when they do break.

Given that most of the cars on this list are cheaper to repair, that makes the M5’s top-five finish more impressive. Just 2.0 percent of M5s being sold having more than 150,000 miles may not sound great, but it’s not far off of “reliable” and cheaper-to-maintain sports cars like the Miata and Mustang at 2.1 percent and 2.3 percent, respectively.

The Dodge Charger—also not a sports car—performs well with 3.0 percent, but top honors in the category go to the Audi TT. Despite the brand also taking lots of guff for supposedly poor reliability, Audi’s TT handily beats all other sports cars with 4.1 percent of examples reaching 150,000 miles.

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