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2019 BMW 5 Series: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Colin Ryan September 2018

The 2019 BMW 5 Series more than holds its own in a class of extraordinarily gifted performers. The premium midsize sedan scene is rich with style, technology, driving abilities and luxury appointments. Where the 5 Series and its main rivals excel is in achieving a sweet spot of so many well-balanced elements. There are exceptions, like the extravagantly powerful BMW M5 high-performance variant, but that has its own review.

The 5 Series has styling that's unmistakably BMW. The engines are punchy yet smooth, and the driving dynamics deliver sufficient sensations for the enthusiast while also providing long-distance comfort for all occupants. It would take too much space to list every other attribute available in the 5 Series, so here are some highlights.

  • Gesture controls. The driver can twirl a finger to raise or lower the sound system's volume and swipe a hand through the air to take a call or send it to voicemail.
  • Remote parking. The driver can be outside the car and maneuver the 5 Series into a parking spot, then turn off the engine and lock the car, all while using a smartphone as a controller.
  • BMW Connected. This brings the 5 Series into the digital world. If someone wanted to check on their BMW's surroundings (at the airport parking lot, for example, or where the valet has left it), they could merely consult their smartphone. They can even find a location on their phone and send the address to the car's navigation system. Users are also reminded about their next scheduled journey and what time they need to leave. And the 5 Series links to Amazon's Alexa, so locking the car remotely and checking how much gas is in the tank can all be done by voice commands.

What's New for 2019?

Advanced driver aids like forward-collision mitigation with automatic braking, blind spot monitoring and lane-departure alerts are now standard throughout the range. Previously a $300 option, Apple CarPlay is available through a free 12-month subscription. Front and rear parking sensors are also standard, while options bundles receive a shake-up. For example, the LED fog lamps have been removed from the standard equipment list and are now part of the M Sport package.

What We Like

The impressive tech; the exquisite balance between comfort and control

What We Don't

Electric-assisted power steering imparts a somewhat artificial feel, but that's the case with almost every manufacturer's EPS system

How Much?

$54,395 to $75,445

Fuel Economy

The 530i has a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine making 248 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, going to the rear wheels through an 8-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive (BMW calls it xDrive) is optional.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the rear-drive 530i achieves 24 miles per gallon of city driving, 34 mpg on the highway and 27 mph combined. AWD modifies those figures to 23 mpg city/33 mpg hwy/27 mpg combined.

The 530e iPerformance plug-in hybrid links an electric motor with a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder for a total of 248 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque. It retains the standard 8-speed automatic transmission. In rear-drive form, it's estimated to achieve 72 miles per gallon equivalen combined or 67 MPGe with AWD. Electric-only range from the lithium-ion battery is 16 miles (rear-drive) or 15 miles (xDrive).

A 3.0-liter turbocharged inline six propels the 540i to the tune of 335 hp and 332 lb-ft. It comes with the same 8-speed automatic transmission as the 530i and also offers xDrive. Fuel consumption is 21 mpg city/29 mpg hwy/24 mpg combined, regardless of the number of driven wheels.

The M550i xDrive packs a turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 developing 456 hp and 480 lb-ft of torque. AWD is standard and fuel consumption is rated at 16 mpg city/25 mpg hwy/19 mpg combined.

Standard Features & Options

The 2019 BMW 5 Series comes in 530i, 530e iPerformance, 540i and M550i xDrive forms. Where it's optional, AWD is an extra $2,300.

The 530i ($54,395) has 18-inch alloy wheels, a sunroof, all-LED exterior lighting with adaptive headlights, rain-sensing wipers, heated/self-dimming/power-folding side mirrors, dual-zone automatic climate control, 16-way power-adjustable front seats with driver's-side memory settings, a power-adjustable tilt-telescopic steering column, a rearview camera, front and rear parking sensors, simulated leather upholstery, LED ambient cabin lighting, selectable driving modes, driver-fatigue and focus alert, driver aids (forward-collision mitigation, blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, lane-departure warning), iDrive infotainment interface with a 10.3-in screen, Bluetooth, navigation, Apple CarPlay, a 12-speaker/205-watt audio system, an HD radio, two USB ports, 20 GB of music storage and an auxiliary audio input.

The 530e iPerformance ($54,395) has the plug-in hybrid powertrain and a few dedicated gauges but is otherwise equipped in a similar manner to the 530i.

The 540i ($59,945) has its own engine, plus leather upholstery, but otherwise follows the formula above.

The M550i xDrive ($75,445) comes with 19-in alloy wheels, a more powerful engine and specific chassis modifications for a sportier driving experience, plus several features that are optional in the lower models.

The Convenience options bundle includes satellite radio, a powered trunk lid and heated front seats.

The Premium package has been revised to include automatic parallel parking, head-up display, Wi-Fi, wireless smartphone charging, gesture control and keyless entry/ignition. The Executive package includes the Premium bundle then adds automatic high beams, parking assistant plus, soft-close doors, a 360-degree camera system and an 8.8-in configurable driver information display.

An optional M Sport package comes with 19-in wheels, LED fog lights and a lowered, sportier suspension. Add this to the 540i, and 20-in wheels become available. A Dynamic Handling package includes an adaptive suspension, stronger brakes and rear-wheel steering.

Advanced safety features come in the Driving Assistance Plus package (see the Safety section below).

There's a choice of audio system upgrades: A 16-speaker/600-watt Harman Kardon Surround Sound setup or a 16-speaker/1,400-watt system from Bowers & Wilkins. Other options include a heated steering wheel, a dual-screen rear-seat entertainment system, night vision with pedestrian detection and 20-way adjustable multi-contour front seats with massaging and ventilation functions.

Trunk space is 18.7 cu ft. Assuming one set of golf clubs is around 4 cu ft., there's room for four sets. Except in the 530e, whose battery pack reduces cargo area to 15 cu ft.

Safety

Standard safety equipment includes a full complement of airbags, plus anti-lock disc brakes and traction/stability control. Optional driver aids include adaptive cruise control, active lane-keeping assistance, traffic-jam assist and evasive-steering assistance.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has given the 5 Series the top score of five stars overall, with four stars for frontal-impact protection and five stars for side impacts. The car also aced the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) crash test program, emerging as a Top Safety Pick+.

Behind the Wheel

Even though the 5 Series can slather on the comfort and supply lavish levels of technology, BMW hasn't forsaken its enthusiast roots. Select Sport mode for sharper responses from the steering, transmission and throttle (and suspension, if the adaptive setup is installed), and those canyon roads will beckon. In Comfort mode, the steering feels light when the car is pointed straight ahead, not improving much in the turns. In any mode, the cabin remains tranquil.

Passenger space can easily accommodate adults in both rows. The dashboard keeps clutter to a minimum, the ergonomics are just right and the quality of the materials is absolutely appropriate for such a high-class car.

Other Cars to Consider

2019 Audi A6 -- All-new for this year. Comes with a gorgeous cabin that offers state-of-the-art technology.

2019 Cadillac CTS -- Home-grown luxury and handling; world-class car.

2019 Jaguar XF -- Winner of a "best sedan" award from Germany.

2019 Lexus GS -- Even Lexus has upped its sportiness with the GS, but it's being overtaken by younger rivals.

2019 Mercedes-Benz E-Class -- Offers an array of semi-autonomous technology as well as many other autobahn-worthy talents.

Used Porsche Panamera -- Even greater prestige and driving abilities than a 5 Series. A certified pre-owned (CPO) example of a first-generation model (a new generation debuted for 2017) could be about the same as a well-stocked 5 Series.

Autotrader's Advice

Ideally (and people with a BMW 5 Series on their list of possibles can probably afford to make many things ideal), the 540i with the extra driver-assistance features and the Bowers & Wilkins audio system would make a great choice. However, we also commend BMW for not charging extra for the 530e plug-in hybrid, whose fuel economy and power output bring a best-of-both-worlds proposition.

Find a BMW 5 Series for sale

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2019 BMW 5 Series: New Car Review - Autotrader