Current Model
The 5 Series is a remarkably satisfying car, but one that is no longer the sporty choice of this class. Instead, it's very plush, super-quiet, finely crafted inside, and frugal with fuel.
The all-wheel-drive 530i we tested rides comfortably and handles responsively. Its turbo four-cylinder engine is paired with a smooth eight-speed automatic transmission and returns an impressive 26 mpg overall yet delivers some zip. The 540i uses a punchy 335-hp, 3.0-liter turbo six-cylinder that effortlessly delivers power. AWD is available, and standard on the V8-powered M550i. The 530e plug-in hybrid costs the same as the 530i. It can go about 14 miles on electric power alone and takes 2 hours to charge on a 240-volt charger. Forward collision warning and city-speed automatic emergency braking are standard.
Road Test
Predicted Reliability
Predicted Owner Satisfaction
2017-2019
2017 Redesign Year
BMW focused on adding technology and on sharpening the handling of the 2017 5 Series redesign. The midsized luxury sedan is essentially the same size as the outgoing model, but BMW says it's lighter by 220 pounds and the rear seat and the trunk are marginally roomier.
Engines include a 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder with 248 hp in the 530i and a 335-hp, 3.0-liter turbo six-cylinder in the 540i, both mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is optional but standard on the V8-powered 550i. A 530e plug-in hybrid goes on sale in April and commands a price premium of just $200 over the 530i. BMW's gesture control, which lets occupants wave their hands to operate certain control functions, is optional. Available active safety systems include forward-collision warning and lane-keep assist.
$36,350 - $57,400
Average Retail Price
RELIABILITY VERDICT
OWNER SATISFACTION
OWNER REPORTED MPG
$31,800 - $49,325
Average Retail Price
RELIABILITY VERDICT
OWNER SATISFACTION
OWNER REPORTED MPG
$23,975 - $32,825
Average Retail Price
RELIABILITY VERDICT
OWNER SATISFACTION
OWNER REPORTED MPG
2011-2016
2011 Redesign Year
With the 2011 redesign, the 5 Series BMW grew larger and sacrificed a lot of its handling precision. Steering is vague and the car tends to understeer at its limits.
However, fit and finish are still excellent, the engines remain powerful and refined, and the eight-speed automatic shifts smoothly. The cabin is also comfortable and roomy with excellent seats. The iDrive system has been somewhat simplified over the years, making it a bit more user-friendly. We think you won't be disappointed with the basic 528i, with or without all-wheel-drive. If you can afford it, the slick six-cylinder in the 535i is a worthy upgrade. Anything more strikes us as overkill. New four-cylinder, diesel, and hybrid variants debuted in 2012, 2013, and 2014 respectively.
$18,825 - $26,150
Average Retail Price
RELIABILITY VERDICT
OWNER SATISFACTION
OWNER REPORTED MPG
$15,350 - $22,300
Average Retail Price
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OWNER SATISFACTION
OWNER REPORTED MPG
$12,575 - $18,925
Average Retail Price
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OWNER SATISFACTION
OWNER REPORTED MPG
$9,625 - $15,350
Average Retail Price
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OWNER SATISFACTION
OWNER REPORTED MPG
$7,750 - $11,825
Average Retail Price
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OWNER SATISFACTION
OWNER REPORTED MPG
$8,700 - $10,225
Average Retail Price
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OWNER SATISFACTION
OWNER REPORTED MPG
2004-2010
2004 Redesign Year
Prior to the introduction of this model, the BMW 5 Series had been ranked as CR's best car tested for two years. While this edition of the car flaunts slightly improved fuel economy and more room for rear-seat passengers, some of the agility of the previous generation is gone.
Further, many of our testers find the iDrive multifunction control system to be less than intuitive, which detracts from their overall impression of the car. With it, some of the more involved audio and climate functions are distracting, because you frequently need to shift your eyes between the road and the display. The instruments are clear however and most of the logically placed conventional controls are lighted at night. While we still like the car, we think less of it than we did before.
$6,225 - $7,600
Average Retail Price
RELIABILITY VERDICT
OWNER SATISFACTION
OWNER REPORTED MPG
$5,650 - $6,700
Average Retail Price
RELIABILITY VERDICT
OWNER SATISFACTION
OWNER REPORTED MPG
$5,275 - $6,175
Average Retail Price
RELIABILITY VERDICT
OWNER SATISFACTION
OWNER REPORTED MPG
$4,925 - $5,825
Average Retail Price
RELIABILITY VERDICT
OWNER SATISFACTION
OWNER REPORTED MPG
$4,575 - $5,400
Average Retail Price
RELIABILITY VERDICT
OWNER SATISFACTION
OWNER REPORTED MPG
$4,275 - $4,750
Average Retail Price
RELIABILITY VERDICT
OWNER SATISFACTION
OWNER REPORTED MPG
$4,025 - $4,500
Average Retail Price
RELIABILITY VERDICT
OWNER SATISFACTION
OWNER REPORTED MPG
1997-2003
Most luxury cars aren't sporty, and most sporty cars aren't luxurious. BMW's excellent 5-Series--available in both sedan and wagon forms--manages to be both.
These cars handle nimbly and ride very comfortably and quietly. The seats are exceptionally comfortable and supportive, and interior detailing is flawless. Braking is excellent, and traction- and stability-control systems help maintain directional stability on slippery roads. The 525i and 530i employ invigorating inline Sixes, while the 540i uses a punchy, refined V8. The automatic transmission is extremely smooth and responsive in all versions. The line-topping M5 is an ultra-high-performance model with a price to match.
$3,775 - $4,825
Average Retail Price
RELIABILITY VERDICT
OWNER SATISFACTION
OWNER REPORTED MPG
$3,300 - $4,400
Average Retail Price
RELIABILITY VERDICT
OWNER SATISFACTION
OWNER REPORTED MPG
$3,050 - $4,075
Average Retail Price
RELIABILITY VERDICT
OWNER SATISFACTION
OWNER REPORTED MPG
$2,875 - $3,550
Average Retail Price
RELIABILITY VERDICT
OWNER SATISFACTION
OWNER REPORTED MPG
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