Redesigned last year, the sixth-generation 5 Series gained a longer wheelbase, better fuel efficiency and more conventional styling than its predecessor. Available in 528i, 535i and 550i trims, the five-seat 5 Series is offered with a twin-turbo V-8 (550i), a single-turbo six-cylinder (535i) and a new turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder for the 528i, with an eight-speed automatic transmission available across the board. Competitors include the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Audi A6 and Infiniti M.
High-tech options include BMW's Adaptive Drive system, a self-parking feature and lane departure and blind spot warning systems.
The 5 Series lineup includes the Gran Turismo, a tall hatchback built on the 7 Series sedan platform.
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New for 2012
A turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder replaces a normally aspirated 3.0-liter six-cylinder in the 528i and will likely show up in other BMWs as the automaker seeks to improve gas mileage. BMW's xDrive all-wheel-drive system, available last year on the 535i and 550i, is newly available for the 528i. The 528i and 535i also get standard stop-start technology in which the engine automatically turns off when the car is stopped and the driver's foot is on the brake pedal. The engine automatically restarts when the pedal is released.
Sharing its platform with the recently redesigned 7 Series, the 5 Series' wheelbase was extended about 3 inches with the 2011 redesign. Up front, the car's signature kidney grilles sit lower and are upright. The previous 5 Series' eyebrow-laced headlights have been toned down; the eyebrows are still there, but they don't extend as far back toward the front wheels. Adaptive xenon headlights are optional on the 528i and standard elsewhere. The taillights employ three rows of LED lights, and BMW's Adaptive Brake Lights illuminate a larger section under hard braking. Exterior features include:
- 17-inch alloy wheels (528i)
- Available 18- and 19-inch rims
- Standard power sunroof
- Standard heated side mirrors
Drawing cues from the 7 Series, the 5 Series' climate-control readouts use BMW's Black Panel technology to appear out of dark panels without the brightened look of traditional electroluminescent displays. Cupholders are located in the center console instead of flipping from the dashboard as on the previous generation. The optional navigation system includes a massive 10.2-inch center display with high-resolution. Without navigation, the display still sorts through various audio and setup menus, but it shrinks to a 7-inch display and 800-by-480 pixel resolution. Both setups incorporate BMW's iDrive system. Interior features include:
- 10-way power front seats
- Automatic dual-zone air conditioning
- Power tilt/telescoping steering column
- Optional head-up display
- Optional heated and ventilated front seats
- Optional 60/40-split folding backseat
Under the Hood
The 528i has a new 240-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder for 2012. Meanwhile, the 535i retains a 300-hp, turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder and the 550i has a twin-turbo 4.4-liter V-8 that makes 400 hp. All three use an eight-speed automatic transmission; the 535i and 550i also offer a six-speed manual. All three models are available with rear- or xDrive all-wheel drive.
BMW's Adaptive Drive system includes Active Roll Stabilization, which attempts to actively counter body roll, as well as an adaptive suspension and customizable settings for both the drivetrain and suspension. Mechanical features include:
- Optional Active Steering varies the steering ratio to render easier turning at low speeds and stable handling at high speeds
- Optional adaptive cruise control includes full stop-and-go capabilities to manage heavy traffic
Blind spot and lane departure warning systems are optional, as is adaptive cruise control with a collision warning system. Standard safety features include:
- Side curtain airbags
- Side-impact airbags for the front seats
- Active front head restraints
- Electronic stability system
- Four-wheel-disc antilock brakes
5 Series Gran Turismo
BMW added a hatchback version of its 5 Series, dubbed the 5 Series Gran Turismo, for 2010. The first "GT" model was the 550i, powered by the same 400-hp, twin-turbo V-8 as the 550i sedan. It was followed by a 535i GT that employs the 535i sedan's 300-hp, turbocharged six-cylinder. Both have an eight-speed automatic transmission and are available with rear- or all-wheel drive.
For 2012, BMW has added an M Sport Package that includes aero body trim, larger wheels and tires, and other performance enhancements. BMW Apps, an application that allows a variety of iPhone applications to run through the iDrive system, is a $250 option. With the addition of the Gran Turismo, BMW no longer imports the 5 Series wagon.
The Gran Turismo's interior and exterior borrow cues from BMW's 7 Series flagship sedan. With its steeply raked hatch ending in a short, sedanlike trunk, the Gran Turismo measures about 6 inches longer than the 5 Series sedan. The hatch opens in two sections: The entire hatch can be raised, or a section below the rear window opens separately to reveal a trunk behind the rear seats and below a cargo cover. The area offers 15.5 cubic feet of cargo volume, less than the 2010 5 Series wagon's 17.7 cubic feet. For additional storage capacity, the seats fold in a 40/20/40 split for a total of 60 cubic feet, beating the wagon's maximum volume of 58.3 cubic feet.
The Gran Turismo can accommodate four or five, depending on the backseat configuration. Though it carries the 5 Series name, this model shares as much with the larger 7 Series, and many of its measurements — including all seating dimensions — differ from those of the 5 Series sedan.
The Gran Turismo's interior includes Black Panel gauge and climate displays, which incorporate BMW's traditional gauge themes into an electroluminescent display. An updated iDrive system, also used in other BMWs, offers better screen resolution and more shortcut keys than its predecessor. Back to top
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