World-class engines; cosseting ride; rich interior; full range of technology offerings; available Hybrid model
Less athletic than previous 5 Series models; smallish back seat; Active Hybrid 5 model's fuel economy disappoints
The 535d debuts with its efficient turbodiesel engine, and all 5 Series models receive standard navigation with the 10.2-inch screen and slightly tweaked exterior styling. Sadly for stick shift fans, the 550i is automatic-only starting this year
Assuming that shoppers in this segment don't have especially tight budgets, we'd go whole-hog and get the 550i. We know the other engines sound plenty capable, but really, that twin-turbo V8 is just something else with the way it picks you up and hurls you down the road.
The 2014 BMW 5 Series sedan is offered in five basic trim levels: 4-cylinder 528i, 6-cylinder 535i, turbodiesel 535d, V8-powered 550i and ActiveHybrid 5. The high-performance M5 is reviewed separately.
The 528i ($50,425) comes standard with the turbocharged inline-4 engine with auto stop/start to save fuel, 17-in alloy wheels, adaptive xenon headlamps, fog lights, an electronic limited-slip differential, keyless entry with push-button ignition, leatherette upholstery, 10-way power front seats with lumbar support and driver memory, a power tilt/telescopic steering wheel, dual-zone automatic climate control, iPod/USB and Bluetooth connectivity, a 10-speaker audio system, and the iDrive infotainment system with hard-drive-based navigation and a 10.2-in central display screen.
The 535i ($56,025) adds a turbocharged inline-6, 18-in wheels, adaptive xenon headlamps, a sunroof and leather upholstery and door trim.
The 535d ($57,525) boasts a turbodiesel inline-6 but is otherwise generally comparable to the 535i.
The ActiveHybrid 5 ($62,325) is essentially a 535i with an electric propulsion system added to the turbo inline-6, though it also comes standard with quad-zone climate control with individual temperature settings.
The 550i ($64,825) tacks on a twin-turbo V8, front and rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, and 18-way Multi-Contour power front seats with driver and passenger memory.
All-wheel drive is a $2,300 option on all except the ActiveHybrid 5, which is rear-drive-only.
Most of the higher trims' standard features are available as options on lower trims. There are also numerous packages and individual options, including various performance enhancements, dual rear video screens and a 16-speaker 600-watt premium audio system.
The trunk officially measures 14 cu ft, which is a low number for a midsize sedan, but in our experience it's a usefully deep cargo bay.
|Basic||4 Years/50,000 Miles|
|Drivetrain||4 Years/50,000 Miles|
|Corrosion||12 Years/Unlimited Miles|
|Roadside Assistance||4 Years/Unlimited Miles|
|Maintenance||4 Years/50,000 Miles|
Audi A6 -- We're referring specifically to the supercharged 3.0T model here, which can give any 5 Series a run for its money, particularly in the fun-to-drive department. There's also the S6 sedan with its twin-turbocharged V8, a direct 550i competitor.
Mercedes-Benz E-Class -- The E350 sedan has a strong naturally aspirated V6 that some may prefer to BMW's turbocharged options, while the E550 sports a twin-turbocharged V8 aimed squarely at the 550i (and the E250 BlueTEC provides a less-powerful alternative to the 535d).
Lexus GS -- The new GS reminds us a lot of the previous 5 Series. Its standard V6 is a beauty, and there's an available Hybrid model that does battle with the ActiveHybrid 5.