With a large chunk of sales riding on the BMW 5 Series, the eighth-generation sedan walks the fine line between being distinctive and too bold.
Its sharply creased and angular new body contrasts quite sharply with the smoother, rounder shapes of the smaller 3 Series.
While it shares similar body surfacing and design elements with the 7 Series, the new 5er misses out on the range-topping sedan’s split headlight treatment, and its planet-devouring double kidney grille.
All up, it’s the sharpest and most avant-garde 5 Series design since the Chris Bangle-penned ‘E60’ that was launched in 2003.
Measuring 5060mm long, 1900mm wide, 1515mm tall, and riding on a 2995mm wheelbase, the latest 5 Series is 97mm longer, 32mm wider, 36mm taller, and has a 20mm longer wheelbase than the outgoing model.
Boot capacity is rated at 520L for petrol, diesel, and plug-in hybrid models, dropping to 490L in the all-electric i5 models. A rear bench with a 40:20:40 split is standard across the entire range.
Production of the 5 Series will occur at the model’s long-term home in Dingolfing, Germany. The sedan will also be produced at the BMW Brilliance factory in Dadong, China, although that car will be a “market-specific variant”, probably including a long-wheelbase version.
Deliveries in Europe and other key markets begin in October 2023.
The new 5er is available for the first time with the option of a fully electric drivetrain. Complementing the all-electric i5 models are a selection of turbocharged petrol and diesel engines, with two plug-in hybrid drivetrains set to become available globally from the second quarter of 2024.
Both i5 drivetrains have a 400V electrical system, and a 81.2kWh battery pack which supports three-phase AC charging up 22kW and DC fast charging up 205kW.
|i5 eDrive 40||i5 M60 xDrive|
|Setup||Single motor, RWD||Twin motor, AWD|
|Power (sport mode)||250kW||442kW|
|Torque (sport mode)||430Nm||820Nm|
There are a wide selection of petrol engine options in the new 5 Series, but Europe is only receiving the base 520i with a 48V mild hybrid.
The non-hybrid 520i, more powerful mild hybrid 530i, and six-cylinder 540i 48V mild hybrid are reserved for markets, like the US, where there aren’t strict fleet emission caps.
|520i (US)||520i (EU)||530i||540i xDrive|
|Engine||2.0-litre I4||2.0-litre I4 mild hybrid||2.0-litre I4 mild hybrid||3.0-litre I6 mild hybrid|
|0-100km/h||7.5s||6.2s (6.1s xDrive)||4.7s|
For Europe there’s also a diesel option, but in a sign of the fuel declining in popularity there’s only one tune available at launch.
The 520d has a 48V mild-hybrid 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine making 145kW and 400Nm. It has a 0-100km/h time of 7.3 seconds in both rear- or all-wheel drive guises.
Starting from the second quarter of 2024, the 5 Series will also be available with two plug-in hybrid drivetrains. Both feature a 19.4kWh battery pack, and DC fast charging up 7.4kW — twice the current car’s speed.
|Engine||2.0-litre I4 PHEV||3.0-litre I6 PHEV|
|Top speed (EV mode)||140km/h||140km/h|
|EV range (WLTP)||87km||79km|
All petrol and diesel 5 Series models have a standard eight-speed automatic transmission, and all internal combustion engines are equipped with a turbocharger.
As with the i4/4 Series and i7/7 Series, the i5 and 5 Series ride on a version of the CLAR architecture that supports internal combustion, plug-in hybrid, and pure EV drivetrains.
Towing capacity is said to be 2000kg on some models, including the base 520i and range-topping i5 M60 xDrive.
At with other recent BMW vehicles, the next 5 Series has a dashboard that’s dominated by a curved display area housing a 12.3-inch instrumentation screen, and a 14.9-inch touchscreen running BMW Operating System 8.5, which can be updated over-the-air.
The Linux-based OS supports both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring, as well as video streaming via the YouTube, Bundesliga and TiVo apps.
New to the 5 Series is AirConsole, a setup which allows casual games, such as quizzes, kart racing and puzzles, to be played between passengers via their smartphones.
The optional Digital Key allows Android smartphone, Apple Watch, and iPhone users to access and start their vehicles without a physical key fob.
Below the curved screen area and running along the door cards is an “interaction bar” with ambient lighting, and lighting effects for incoming calls and open doors, as well as capacitive controls for the vents, seat memory functions, and door locks. There are also capacitive buttons on the steering wheel spokes.
The standard steering wheel is a two-spoke affair, but a sportier three-spoke design is available as part of the M Sport package. A vegan-friendly interior with leather-like surfaces for the seats, dashboard, doors, and arm rests is available.
Also on the options list is a new panoramic glass roof, which BMW claims has a 90 per cent larger viewing area than in the current 5 Series.
A six-speaker sound system is standard, but buyers can upgrade to a 12-speaker 205W surround system from Harman Kardon. Big spenders can wallow in the soundscape created by the top-shelf 18-speaker 655W Bowers & Wilkins audio system. There are two USB-C ports up front, and two USB-C ports in the rear.
Depending on the drivetrain, trim line and fitted packages, the 5 Series rides on alloy wheels sized anywhere between 18 and 21 inches.
Stroke-dependent damping is standard on the i5 and plug-in hybrid models, while adaptive suspension, a lowered ride height, active roll stabilisation, active roll comfort, and improved brakes are all part of an extensive menu of customisation.
Level 2 autonomous driving is available in some markets, such as Germany, the US, and Canada, and it permits hands-free/eyes-on-the-road driving on select divided highways.
In what’s claimed to be a world first, the Active Lane Change Assistant can suggest a lane change procedure, and the driver can accept by merely looking at the wing mirror.
For certain markets a lane return function has been added to the lane departure warning system, which automatically moves the car back fully into the current lane if it thinks there’s a high risk of an accident.
Parking assistance, and a panoramic reversing camera view are now standard throughout the 5 Series range. The optional Parking Assistance Professional package adds a 360-degree camera view that can be seen in the car, or remotely via a smartphone app.
Drivers can also elect to control or start a parking manoeuvre remotely via the smartphone app, which could be handy in particularly tight situations. The package also includes a drive and anti-theft recording system, and the ability to steer itself for 200m in reverse along a previously traversed stretch of road.
MORE: Everything BMW 5 Series