Pros - Spacious, elegant and well equipped status symbol which most regard as unbeatable. Great build plus high security/safety rating, super engine and performance. Latest models offer unparalleled efficiency for this class.
Cons - Expensive, even as second hand. Early models had some problems with defective radiators and water pumps.
Legendary build quality of the 5 Series is difficult to beat and makes it a class leader in the Executive luxury segment. Positioned somewhere between compact 3 Series and super luxury 7 Series, the majority of BMW 5 Series models are rear wheel drive, although later models can offer all wheel-drive. Cutting-edge design, high levels of performance, lower cost of ownership and rock-solid residual values have ensured exceptional value for money.
Launched in September 2003, the new generation E60 5 Series Saloon followed, arguably, one of BMWs most successful cars of all time. Winner of What Car?s first and only-ever Lifetime Achievement award, among other successes, the E39 5 Series was a tough act to follow. However, with its forward-thinking design the E60 5 Series has carried on where its predecessor left off. Four years on from its launch, both Saloon and Touring models are still winning praise and new customers alike. In the UK in 2006, another all-time 5 Series sales record was achieved by BMW and, as a result, designers have decided not to make big changes to the range.
For the past 35 years BMW 5 Series has been the Executive car to aim for. Earlier BMW 5 Series offer six cylinder engines, although V8s and 5.0-litre V10 offered more recently. You will find alloys, body colour bumpers, electric mirrors, adjustable steering column as standard; with fog lamps, extra interior lights, dashboard computer available on later models. Current features in 5 Series include Active Steering, which adapts the steering angle to suit any situation or manoeuvre; Dynamic Stability Control - adjusts power and braking in emergency situations; and Dynamic Drive, an active suspension control system.
Latest 5 Series implement BMWs EfficientDynamics technologies, reducing emissions plus a range of class-leading engine technologies. It means the latest 5 Series delivers a car with all of the driving characteristics expected of a BMW but with significantly better economy and less emissions. With these technologies BMW aims to blast hybrid cars out of the water by offering the best of both worlds, class leading performance and luxury and state of art environmental technology.
The 5 Series body was styled by the legendary Marcello Gandini, based on the Bertone 1970 BMW Garmisch. Gandini was responsible for the Fiat 132 and Alfa Romeo Alfetta, well regarded vehicles. Latest 2007 BMW 5 Series SE Saloon and Touring models continue the evaluation of style. In detail at the front, the headlamps and indicator units have been redesigned and use new clear glass technology with transparent glass panels covering the headlamps and clear indicators. With Xenon and Adaptive lights fitted, chrome headlamp surrounds now further highlight the Corona ring side and day-running lights that are now a familiar sight on BMW cars. The also familiar sight of BMWs kidney grilles have been redesigned to sit aerodynamically flush with the surfaces of the front bumper and valance. A whole array of innovative new equipment on the new models has also been added including infra red night time vision, lane departure warning and audio system incorporating digital nine-channel amplifier with Digital Signal Processing. It uses 16 speakers and surround sound
The 5 Series name derives from it being the fifth of the BMW new series cars after the earlier V-8 and Isetta era. The preceding models were the 700, the New Class, the New Six 2500/2800/Bavaria and the CS. The 5 Series was intended to replace the smaller New Class saloons.
The 5 Series is also notable because it began the tradition of BMWs being named with a three digit number. The first digit represents the model, ie 5 Series, and the following two digits represent the size of the engine in decilitres, ie BMW 5 Series 300, a 3 litre engine. Additional letters or words may be added to the end of the three-digit number to define the fuel type (petrol or diesel), engine or transmission details, and the body style. The i originally stood for (fuel) injection., x for all wheel drive. There are some anomalies so always research any prospective model further but it explains the reasoning behind the numbering system which continued on future BMWs.
With its predecessor achieving record UK sales in 2006 of 19,606 units, demand for the 5 Series is at an all-time high. Launched in March 2007, the new BMW 5 Series has the addition of BMWs EfficientDynamics programme, together with subtle but impressive design enhancements. BMW claims EfficientDynamics technologies deliver significant financial benefits to buyers as well as an environmental feel good factor. Based on a total annual mileage of 20,000 miles, 75 per cent of which is business with prevailing fuel costs, the company driver of a 523i M Sport Saloon paying 40 per cent tax would be 1,678 better off per year, says BMW. A private buyer of a 530i M Sport Touring, again based on 20,000 miles driving per annum, would be better off by 1,059 in fuel costs alone when compared to the outgoing car.
Its typical of BMW to provide such an adventurous leap forward in design and technology terms rather than resting on the success of previous models.
The new models aim to offer the highest levels of performance and economy ever seen in an executive car.
The new 5 Series design improvements combine with EfficientDynamics technologies to provide tangible performance improvements. Increases of up to 25 per cent in economy and emissions results, in most cases, in hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds of annual benefit to retail and corporate owners alike, says BMW UKs managing director, Jim ODonnell.
The engine and performance statistics for the 5 Series Saloon range, with comparisons to the outgoing car:
Engine details of the new 5 Series Touring range, with comparisons to the outgoing car: