BMW launched a slightly larger fifth-generation 5 Series midsize sedan for 2004. Trunk capacity and backseat space increased. A new weight-saving, all-aluminum front-end structure was used.
Three 5 Series models are available. The 525 is equipped with a 215-horsepower, 3.0-liter inline-six-cylinder, and the 530 gets a more powerful 3.0-liter inline-six-cylinder. BMW's V-8-powered 5 Series is known as the 550. Both the 530 and 550 are covered separately in the Cars.com Research section.
For 2007, an auxiliary audio input and tire pressure monitoring system are included. New options include HD Radio, which improves FM and AM signal quality, and BMW Night Vision, which uses a thermal-imaging camera to create an image of what's ahead on the iDrive system's screen. Real-time traffic information is included in 525s that have a navigation system.
BMW offers quite an array of optional equipment for the 525, including Active Roll Stabilization, adaptive xenon headlights, run-flat tires, a head-up display and Active Cruise Control. Active Steering is available for rear-wheel-drive 525s.
Short overhangs and what BMW calls "lean-forward dynamics" highlight the 5 Series' design. Standard tires measure 17 inches in diameter.
A prominent twin-kidney grille provides a connection to BMW tradition. The grille is flanked by quad headlights inside luminous rings and beneath clear covers. The turn signals have clear lenses. Amber LED front parking lights are thin and wedge-shaped. The 525 incorporates BMW's traditional reverse kink at the rear door windows and the rear end features a high trunk lid. Adaptive brake lights are standard.
Up to five occupants fit inside the 525 sedan. Leatherette upholstery and Dark Poplar wood trim are standard, but leather upholstery is optional. Both front occupants get a 10-way power seat adjustment with driver memory. Options include 20-way power front seats.
A variable warning segment in the tachometer activates at a lower rpm when the engine is cold, and the three-spoke steering wheel holds multifunction controls. Rain-sensing wipers and a 10-speaker CD stereo with twin subwoofers are standard.
First installed in the 7 Series, the iDrive control system uses a 6.5-inch display screen. Either the driver or front passenger can operate the system's control knob atop the center console.
Under the Hood
The 525 uses a 215-hp, 3.0-liter inline-six-cylinder that develops 185 pounds-feet of torque. A rear-wheel-drive 525 equipped with the standard six-speed manual gearbox can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 7.3 seconds, while the six-speed Steptronic automatic requires 7.6 seconds. The automatic incorporates Manual and Sport modes.
Antilock brakes, Dynamic Stability Control, side-impact airbags for the front seats, and side curtain airbags are standard. Rear side-impact airbags and active head restraints for the front seats are optional. Active Roll Stabilization is part of the Sport Package, and this technology yields flatter cornering.