ABS standard. Side air bags standard in front, available in rear from 2000. Head protection air bags and ESC standard from 2000.
There's a reason so many people aspire to own a 5 Series, and this car mostly won't disappoint. Handling is taut and agile, though the car has evolved to focus on luxury and refinement rather than overtly sporty driving. Its steering has lost some of the feel we've come to associate with previous 5 Series. The ride is comfortable and steady and the cabin is quiet. Its turbocharged engines are smooth and powerful, whether you opt for the four-cylinder in the 528i or the effortless six-cylinder unit in the 535i that we tested. These engines are all super smooth, responsive and fuel-efficient. The eight-speed automatic shifts imperceptibly. Hybrid, diesel, and super-high horsepower M versions are available. All-wheel-drive is optional.
The interior is understated, luxurious and beautifully finished. The seats are comfortable and supportive. Rear-seat room is decent though not exactly generous. High-tech controls take some getting used to, with a center knob that operates many functions and viewed through a central screen. However, once mastered the logic becomes clear. The electronic shift lever also takes time to learn as it isn't immediately intuitive; it lacks some safeguards to prevent against rollaway should a driver accidentally fail to shift into Park.