2018 BMW 5 Series
The BMW 5 Series is a mid-size premium sedan that slots in between the 3 Series, the auto-maker's bread-and-butter model, and the flagship 7 Series. The 5 offers an elegant design and a luxurious interior from which to enjoy the smooth ride it delivers. It's not as dynamic as the 5 Series of yore, however.
The 5 Series line-up includes the sedan detailed here and the mighty M5. Unlike the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, its chief rival, the 5 isn't offered as a station wagon in the United States.
The 5 Series is more evolutionary than revolutionary in terms of design, which we've come to expect from Munich-based BMW. It gets LED headlights connected to a wide twin-kidney grille, a muscular-looking front bumper with air intakes, and a long, sloping hood. When viewed from the side, a design line that starts below the air breather in the fender and stretches to the rear wheel arch helps reduce visual mass. Out back, the 5 wears BMW's familiar L-shaped lights.
The view from the driver's seat will look familiar to those who have driven a new or late-model BMW. The center console is tilted towards the driver while the infotainment system consists of a high-resolution screen mounted on top of the dashboard and a knob next to the gear selector. The driver steers using a three-spoke multi-function steering wheel and some models come standard with a digital instrument cluster. Upscale materials like real wood trim and aluminum inlays surround the passengers. All told, the 5 Series is a pleasant place to travel in.
Buyers can pay extra for the gesture control technology that made its debut on the bigger 7 Series. Bluetooth connectivity comes standard, as does navigation with 3D mapping. The 5 also offers a 200 GB hard drive, a 20 GB storage for audio files, and a voice command system with natural language understanding. BMW didn't skimp on tech.
The 5 Series line-up includes four models called 530i, 530e, 540i, and M550i, respectively.
The 530i is the entry point into 5 Series ownership. It's equipped with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 248 horsepower between 5,200 and 6,500 rpm and 258 pound-feet of torque from 1,450 to 4,800 rpm. That's enough power for a zero-to-60-mph sprint of six seconds flat.
Rear-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission come standard. BMW's xDrive all-wheel drive system is offered at an extra cost.
The 530e is the only electrified 5 Series available. Its plug-in hybrid drivetrain teams a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 180 horsepower and a 111-horsepower electric motor integrated into the eight-speed automatic transmission. The motor draws electricity from a 9.2-kWh lithium-ion battery pack which can take a full charge in about three hours. The two power sources join forces to provide 248 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. Like the 530i, it also reaches 60 mph from a stop in six seconds flat. It's offered with rear- or all-wheel drive.
Next up is the 540i, which ups the ante with a turbocharged 3.0-liter straight-six engine. It provides 335 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque, enough for a zero-to-60-mph sprint of 4.9 seconds. An eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive come standard, and all-wheel drive is offered at an extra cost.
Unless you're willing to knock on the M5's door, the range-topping 5 Series is the M550i xDrive. It's all-wheel drive only, as its name implies. Pop the hood and you'll find a de-tuned version of the M4's turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 engine pumping out 456 horsepower and 480 pound-feet of torque through an eight-speed automatic transmission. That's enough for a spritely, sports car-like 3.9-second sprint from zero to 60 mph.
The 530i returns 24 mpg in the city, 34 mpg on the highway, and 27 mpg in a combined cycle. The EPA rates the 530e at 29 mpg combined and 72 mpge. The 540i, the last model rated by the EPA, returns 21 mpg in the city, 30 mpg on the highway, and 24 combined. The aforementioned figures apply to the rear-wheel drive models.
Standard and Optional Features
The entry-level 530i comes reasonably well equipped with features like 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, LED fog lights, chrome-look exterior trim, power-folding and heated side mirrors, 16-way power-adjustable seats, SensaTec upholstery, real wood trim, a 12-speaker sound system, Bluetooth connectivity, a multi-function steering wheel, cruise control, a digital instrument cluster, navigation, a key-less ignition, automatic climate control, rain-sensing wipers, automatic headlights, ambient lighting, and a universal garage door opener.
BMW adds more standard features buyers move up in the 5 Series hierarchy. For example, the range-topping M550i boasts upgrades brakes, a body kit, a rear spoiler, 20-way power-adjustable seats, leather upholstery, 16-speaker sound system, a power-opening trunk lid, and parking sensors.
The list of standalone options includes a heated steering wheel, a head-up display, a Wi-Fi hotspot, a wireless charging pad, heated front seats, a surround sound-system, Apple CarPlay compatibility (which many auto-makers offer as standard), carbon fiber mirror caps, black kidney grilles, night vision, and a space-saver spare tire.
BMW also offers several option packages including the Luxury and M Sport lines, the Premium Tier, the Executive Tier, the Driving Assistance Package, the Luxury Seating package, and the Lighting package. Note that some features that come standard on high-end models can be added to low-end cars at an extra cost.
Every member of the 5 Series line-up comes with dual front, front side, and side curtain airbags in addition to stability and traction control systems. Electronic driving aids (like a forward collision warning) are optional on lower-end models (like the 530i) and standard on high-end variants.
The BMW 5 Series' main rivals are the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and the Audi A6. Buyers can also look at the Volvo S90, the Jaguar XF, the Lexus GS, and the Infiniti Q70.