If you’re looking for information on a newer BMW 5 Series, we’ve published an updated review: 2019 BMW 5 Series Review
The 2017 BMW 5 Series premium midsize sedan represents the debut of a new generation. This class of car includes some of the best vehicles in the world in terms of how well they package together various virtues such as comfort, sportiness, practicality and technology. In many ways, anything bigger or more powerful could be considered extravagant rather than necessary.
With such a crowd of high achievers, then, anything less than absolute perfection puts a contender at a disadvantage. Which is kind of what happened to the previous generation. The designers seemed unconfident, and the chassis engineers felt compelled to raise the comfort level. The result was still great (it’s a BMW 5 Series, after all), but did nothing to further the 5 Series’ reputation as the finest sport sedan on the planet.
Enter Generation Seven. It’s completely new, from the body construction all the way to the optional remote-parking feature. This time around, the styling (although unmistakably BMW) comes across as more self-assured, 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 attribute available in the new 5 Series, so here are some highlights.
Gesture controls (introduced in the current 7 Series) allow the driver to twiddle a finger to raise or lower the sound system’s volume, or swipe a hand through the air to take a call or send it to voicemail.
That remote parking feature — the user can actually be outside the car and maneuver the 5 Series into a parking spot using a smartphone as a controller, then turn off the engine and lock the car.
Another cool function is BMW Connected, which brings an owner’s car into their digital world. If someone wanted to check on their BMW’s surroundings (for example, at the airport parking lot, or where the valet has left it), they could do so just by looking at their smartphone. They could look up a location on their smartphone and send the address to the car’s navigation system. The 5 Series can also link to Amazon’s Alexa, so users may use voice commands to lock the car remotely and check how much gas is in the tank. They can even be reminded about their next scheduled journey and what time they need to leave.
What’s New for 2017?
It’s an all-new generation coming in for 2017. See the 2017 BMW 5 Series models for sale near you
What We Like
The return to form; the impressive tech
What We Don’t
Electric-assisted steering imparts a somewhat artificial feel, but that’s the case with almost every manufacturer’s EPS system
The entry-level 530i has a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine making 248 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, which goes 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 in the city, 34 mpg on the highway and 27 mpg in combined driving, or 23 mpg city/33 mpg hwy/27 mpg combined with all-wheel drive.
A turbocharged inline 6-cylinder 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. With rear-wheel drive, fuel consumption is 20 mpg city/30 mpg hwy/24 mpg combined, or 20 mpg city/29 mpg hwy/23 mpg combined with all-wheel drive.
Standard Features & Options
The 2017 BMW 5 Series comes in 530i and 540i form. All-wheel drive is a $2,300 option on both models.
The 530i ($52,195) has 18-inch alloy wheels, a sunroof, all-LED exterior lighting with adaptive headlights, rain-sensing wipers, 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, parking sensors front and rear, simulated leather upholstery, LED ambient cabin lighting, selectable driving modes, driver fatigue and focus alert, iDrive (now in version 6.0; other 2017 BMW vehicles were updated to 5.0) infotainment interface with a 10.3-in screen, Bluetooth, navigation, a 12-speaker/205-watt audio system, HD Radio, a USB port, 20 GB of music storage and an auxiliary audio input.
The 540i ($57,445) enjoys the bigger engine but otherwise has much the same equipment as the 530i.
An optional M Sport package comes with 19-in wheels and a lowered, sportier suspension. Add this to the 540i and 20-in wheels become available. An Adaptive Drive package brings an adaptive suspension and active anti-roll bars. Rear-wheel steering is also available.
There’s a choice of audio-system upgrades — a 16-speaker/600-watt Harman Kardon setup or a 16-speaker/1,400-watt system from Bowers & Wilkins.
Other options include Wi-Fi, wireless smartphone charging, hands-free trunk-lid opening, a dual-screen rear seat entertainment system and 20-way adjustable multicontour front seats with massaging and ventilation functions. Then there are some advanced safety features (see the Safety section below).
Trunk space is 18.7 cu ft. Assuming one set of golf clubs takes up around 4 cu ft., there’s easily enough room here for four sets. The Jaguar XF offers more (19.1 cu ft.), but rival German sedans come up short. However, the Audi A7 hatchback has 24.5 cu ft.
The standard safety kit includes a full complement of airbags, plus anti-lock disc brakes and traction/stability control. Optional driver aids include a 360-degree camera system, adaptive cruise control with autonomous emergency braking, active lane-keeping assistance, blind spot monitoring, and evasive-action assistance.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has given the 2017 5 Series a top score of five stars overall, with four stars for front-impact protection and five stars for side impacts. It also aced the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) crash-test program, emerging as a Top Safety Pick+.
Behind the Wheel
Even though this new 5 Series can still lay on the comfort and supply lavish levels of technology, BMW hasn’t forsaken its enthusiast roots completely. Select Sport mode for sharper responses from the steering, transmission and throttle (and the 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 but doesn’t improve much in the turns. In any mode, the cabin remains tranquil, and the transmission serves up smoothly efficient gear changes.
Passenger space improves over the previous 5 Series, with easily enough space for 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
2017 Audi A6 — Clean styling now verging on "timeless." Smart interior, smart tech. New generation anticipated for 2018.
2017 Cadillac CTS — Home-grown luxury and handling, but a world-class car.
2017 Jaguar XF — Recipient of a "best sedan" award — given in Germany.
2017 Lexus GS — Even Lexus has upped its sportiness game, so the GS can be a credible contender.
2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class — Like the 5 Series, new for 2017. Offers an array of semi-autonomous technology as well as many other autobahn-worthy talents.
Used Porsche Panamera — There aren’t many cars with greater prestige and driving abilities than a 5 Series, but the Panamera hits the mark. A certified pre-owned (CPO) example of a first-generation model (a new generation debuted for 2017) could cost about the same as a new 5 Series that’s been optioned up.
A BMW with an inline-6 engine is something that must be experienced by anyone with even a minor interest in driving. If possible, go for the 20-way multicontour seats. Test-drive a version without things like the Adaptive Drive system or rear-wheel steering, because the unenhanced car is already a well-executed machine and so might be agile enough for your tastes. If neither of these versions set your heart aflutter, the 2018 model year will see a plug-in hybrid as well as a more performance-oriented variant. Find a BMW 5 Series for sale