The BMW 5 Series puts an emphasis on the driving. This mid-size luxury sedan remains a true sports sedan in any of its variations, including the 530ix wagon and other models equipped with all-wheel drive. Regardless of engine size or equipment level, the BMW 5 Series delivers lively acceleration, precise handling and outstanding brakes. It's available with a conventional manual transmission, which is increasingly hard to find in this class.
For 2007, the 5 Series offers two new options. BMW's Night Vision safety system uses a thermal-imaging camera to highlight pedestrians and animals on dark roads, while HD Radio is designed to bring CD-quality digital audio to radio broadcasts.
Now in its fourth year on the market, the styling of the current 5 Series models has become familiar, perhaps less jarring than it was when first revealed. And while there are no significant changes for the 2007 model year, the 5 Series is anything but stale. For 2006, BMW introduced new engines across the board, including a high-tech magnesium alloy six cylinder for the 525i and 530i and a larger, more powerful V8 for the 550i.
Behind its kabuki-eyebrow headlights, the 5 Series is a true driver's car, with more model choices than most cars in its class. Even the base 525i boasts spirited performance, with decent fuel economy to lower operating costs. The more powerful six-cylinder in the 530i matches some V8s, while the 550i delivers true high performance by any definition. The limited-production M5 can out-accelerate, out-brake and out-corner some expensive sports cars, with comfortable seating for five. There's a wagon for those who want more room for cargo. And BMW's x-Drive full-time all-wheel-drive is available for drivers in the Snow Belt.
This car has just about everything you could ask for in a luxury car. It has the features, comfort and convenience of full-size luxury sedans, the sporting character of smaller ones, and a good compromise between interior space and physical bulk. In many respects, it's the benchmark for critics and auto industry engineers alike.
As such, the 5 Series is loaded with technology, and some of its systems have a dark side. The i-Drive point-and-click control system, for example, takes time and energy to learn, and drivers who aren't willing to invest the energy, or those who just prefer to keep things simple, might want to look at a competitor. But those who place a premium on driving satisfaction should start their shopping here.
The BMW 5 Series sedans are available with six- or eight-cylinder engines or an ultra-high performance V10, and manual, automatic, or automatic-shifting sequential manual transmissions and optional all-wheel drive. The 5 Series Sport Wagon is offered only with a six-cylinder and all-wheel drive.