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2015 BMW 5 Series

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 3/9/2015 Stefan Ogbac

New for 2015

The 2015 BMW 5 Series gains standard LED fog lights, sport leather steering wheel, and enhanced Bluetooth and USB plus Smartphone Integration. Comfort Access is standard on all 550 models while the Modern Line trim has been discontinued. The price for Night Vision with Pedestrian Detection has been reduced to $2,300 from $2,600. Black Nappa leather is now available with no charge when combined with the M Sport and Luxury line trims.

Vehicle Summary

The 2015 BMW 5 Series is a midsize luxury car available in sedan or "Gran Turismo" hatchback body styles and in rear-or all-wheel-drive configurations. BMW offers a diesel, hybrid, and high-performance M5 variant for the sedan.

Overview

There are six engine choices available in the 2015 BMW 5 Series and are paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission. A six-speed manual is offered exclusively on the high-performance M5 sedan.

Model: 528i, 528i xDrive
Engine and Transmission: turbocharged 2.0-liter I-4 – eight-speed automatic
Power: 240 hp/ 260 lb-ft of torque
EPA-Rated Fuel Economy: 23/34 mpg city/highway (528i), 22/33 mpg (528i xDrive)

Model: 535i, 535i Gran Turismo, 535i xDrive, 535i Gran Turismo xDrive
Engine and Transmission: Turbocharged 3.0-liter I-6 – eight-speed automatic
Power: 300 hp/300 lb-ft
EPA-Rated Fuel Economy: 20/31 mpg (535i), 20/29 mpg (535i xDrive), 19/28 mpg (535i Gran Turismo), 18/26 mpg (535i Gran Turismo xDrive)

Model: ActiveHybrid 5
Engine and Transmission: Turbocharged 3.0-liter hybrid I-6 – eight-speed automatic
Power: 335 hp/330 lb-ft
EPA-Rated Fuel Economy: 23/30 mpg

Model: 535d, 535d xDrive
Engine and Transmission: Turbocharged 3.0-liter diesel I-6 – eight-speed automatic
Power: 255 hp/413 lb-ft
EPA-Rated Fuel Economy: 26/38 mpg (535d), 26/37 mpg (535d xDrive)

Model: 550i, 550i xDrive, 550i Gran Turismo, 550i Gran Turismo xDrive
Engine and Transmission: Twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V-8 – eight-speed automatic
Power: 445 hp/480 lb-ft
EPA-Rated Fuel Economy: 17/25 mpg (550i), 16/25 mpg (550i xDrive, 550i Gran Turismo), 16/24 mpg (550i Gran Turismo xDrive)

Model: M5
Engine and Transmission: Twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V-8 – six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch automatic
Power: 560 hp (575 hp with the Competition Package)/500 lb-ft
EPA-Rated Fuel Economy: 15/22 mpg (manual), 14/20 mpg (automatic)

Performance in all 2015 5 Series models is good with strong acceleration even in the turbo-four-powered 528i; V-8 powered models rival some sports cars when it comes to straight-line speed. Driving dynamics are good for a car this size, with good steering and sporty handling that doesn't come at the cost of ride quality. The car's weight, however, means that its limits aren't as high as the previous generation. Refinement, on the other hand, is top-notch with little NVH, a quiet cabin, and a chassis that does an excellent job at keeping the passenger compartment isolated from outside noise.

Interior space is generous in both variants with a relatively roomy rear seat and a decent 14-cubic foot trunk with split folding seatbacks. Its shared underpinnings with the larger 7 Series gives the car a solid and refined feel with supportive seats that make it an excellent long distance cruiser. There are many available tech features in the 2015 5 Series including a head-up display, night vision, and a navigation system featuring a large screen with excellent graphics, and an available Bang & Olufsen sound system.

The NHTSA gave the 2015 BMW 5 Series a five-star overall safety rating (out of a possible five stars; hybrid and M5 variants haven't been crash tested yet). In IIHS evaluation, the car earned a good score in three categories and a marginal in the small overlap front test (good is the highest possible score).

What We Think

Since its 2011 redesign, the BMW 5 Series has lost quite a bit of its handling prowess due to it sharing its underpinnings with the larger 7 Series, making the car less sporty and more comfort-oriented. In a comparison test against six other midsize luxury sedans, the 535i placed second due to its driving dynamics not coming up to par with competitors like the Lexus GS 350 F Sport. We also noted in another comparison test between the high-performance M5 and the Porsche Panamera GTS that even the sportiest model in the 5 Series range falls short due to the car "driving too big," its inability to flow through corners, and artificial steering feel, which compromised the car's driving dynamics.

While it no longer excels at being a sharp-handling sports sedan, the 5 Series remains a competent luxury car with high levels of refinement and a quiet interior. In a 2012 First Test review of the 535i, we said that the car is more comfort-oriented with driving manners similar to how an old Mercedes-Benz drove. However, in 2012 First Drive review of a turbo-four-equipped 528i, we noted that the engine start-stop system's abruptness detracted from the car's overall refinement, sending vibrations into the cabin when turning off the engine as it came to a stop.

You'll Like

  • Smooth ride
  • Quiet and refined cabin
  • Available diesel and hybrid powertrains

You Won't Like

  • Heavy curb weight
  • Not as fun to drive as the previous generation
  • Abrupt engine stop-start system

Key Competitors

  • Mercedes-Benz E-Class
  • Lexus GS
  • Audi A6
  • Hyundai Genesis
  • Cadillac CTS

Rating

3 star

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