The BMW 5 Series is has been the benchmark for big sporty luxury sedans since the dawn of time. What do you need to know before you buy an 5 Series? Don’t worry, we’ll tell you everything right here in our Buyer’s Guide.
Few cars are able to better marry interior comfort with driving pleasure as well as the BMW 5 Series. And it’s not like it’s a newfound talent; the 5 Series has been a great all-rounder since people wore top hats and the world was black and white.
The 5 Series is confident. It only changes subtly over the years with new tech and styling tweaks, but the soul remains the same. It continually masters the art of both executive sedan-dom and sports sedan-dom, and that’s no easy feat.
The sixth-generation F10 BMW 5 Series came to U.S. shores as a 2011 model. The new 5 Series was longer than the outgoing car, added electric power steering, got more powerful engine options, and received all new styling inside and out.
The second year of production, 2012, brought a new base engine to the 5 Series: a 2.0-liter 240 horsepower turbo inline four, which brought more efficiency and power than the dated 3.0-liter inline six it replaced. 2012 also saw the addition of optional all-wheel drive to the 528i, as well as stop-start for both the 528i and 535i.
The year 2013 added the 560 horsepower M5 to the stable, and, in 2014, the torquey 3.0-liter turbodiesel 535d made a bow. Additional standard features have been added and shuffled around over the years, but otherwise not much has changed since 2014.
Next year, the all new 2017 5 series makes its debut.
The 5 Series comes in sedan and coupe form. The sedan comes in either 528i, 535d, 535i, 550i, ActiveHybrid 5 or M5 trims. The four-door coupe comes as a 535i Gran Turismo or a 550i Gran Turismo.
There really aren’t any bad trim levels to choose, though the ActiveHybrid 5 doesn’t really make a compelling case with its higher base price and only marginally higher fuel economy than the gas model. The rest of the line, though, is stout. You want inexpensive and decent on fuel? Get the 528i. You want torquey and fuel efficient? Get the 535d. You want ridiculous gobs of power without emptying your entire wallet? There’s the 550i for that. Wanna go balls out? M5.
But the model that offers the best blend of performance and value is the 535i sedan. It gets a 300 horsepower twin-turbo inline six mated to an eight-speed auto, leather interior, 10.2-inch touchscreen with navigation, xenon adaptive headlights, 18-inch alloy wheels and lots more. While we’d love a manual, the eight-speed is a great gearbox, and the only manual available on 5 Series trims comes on the $94,100 M5.
The 535i and will get you to 60 mph in a more than respectable 5.7 seconds, all the while getting you 30 MPG highway. It starts at about 55 grand, or about five large more than the base four-pot. We’d tack on the Dynamic Handling Package, which adds adaptive suspension damping for improved handling and ride quality, and we’d wind up with an excellent-handling, comfortable sports sedan for just $57,195 including destination.
MSRP: $50,200-$94,100 Top Speed: 155 MPH [limited]
Acceleration: 4.2s to 60 [M5]
MPG: 26 city / 38 hwy / 30 combined [535d 2wd]
Engines: 2.0L turbo I4, 3.0L turbo inline-6, 3.0L turbo inline-6 hybrid, 3.0L turbodiesel, 4.4L twin-turbo V8,
Max Horsepower/Torque: 560hp/500 lb-ft
Curb Weight: ~3,814-4,970 IIHS Safety Rating: Not A Top Safety Pick
Transmissions: 8-speed automatic, 7-speed dual clutch automatic, 6-speed manual
Drivetrain Layout: Front Engine, RWD/AWD
Photo credit: BMW