Make / Model Search

Car reviews - BMW - 5 Series - range

Our Opinion

We like
Better value packages, engine performance and efficiency of all variants, slick eight-speed auto, stylish M Sport pack, ride and handling
Room for improvement
Entry engines occasionally feel breathless, naff ‘Luxury’ and ‘Modern’ badges, bland ‘Modern’ colour scheme


Click to see larger images

31 Oct 2013

THE only variant to get any kind of performance changes is the 4.4 twin-turbo V8 550i, which picks up a 10 per cent increase in power from 300kW to 330kW.

Torque also gets a boost in the process, up to 610Nm from 600Nm.

That may not sound like a huge boost but it has translated to quite an improvement to performance, with the zero to 100km/h dropping from 5.0 seconds to an M3-matching 4.6 seconds.

The high-rolling version in question also gets a price chop of $20,100 – those savings could put a Ford Focus on your driveway next to the 550i.

A full-boot pull-away in the 550i was very entertaining and feels every bit as quick as the nimble and much lighter M3. The significant increase in output isn’t beyond the capability of the 5 Series chassis however, and the same composed road manner - even at higher speeds - accompanies the extra dollop of performance.

Our test-car was dressed up in the M Sport styling package which adds a touch of gloss black to exterior trims, a dusting of aluminiumn and a black roof-lining to the interior, a chunky steering-wheel and firmer suspension.

Any 5 Series BMW can now be ordered in a choice of three styling ‘Lines’.

The aforementioned M Sport splashes a bit of M-badge magic around the car, the Modern Line adds aluminium trims to the exterior with lighter wood and interior tones, while the Luxury Line substitutes the aluminium with chrome and darkens the interior shades.

Darker shades as offered by the Luxury pack worked well with the 5 Series styling but the lighter Modern Line were a bit too close to beige for our liking. The choice of styling pack is described by a small badge positioned on the wing behind the front wheel which we thought was a little showy by traditional BMW standards.

Our pick would be the M Sport package as it offers a classy but understated look and is the only pack to add the firmer sport suspension and the excellent three-spoke M steering wheel and the wing badge is a simple small M.

The three aesthetic packages are included in the base-price of each variant, which simplifies the process of customising a 5 Series and removes many of the confusing and expensive items from the options list.

In terms of equipment upgrades, the $97,400 528i has come out on top with around $20,000 worth of equipment has been added, with a $1400 price-cut to boot.

The increased diameter 19-inch wheels (previously 18-inch) have added a more grown-up look but haven’t compromised the ride or interior noise levels, and when pushed hard around corners the 528i hung-on well.

The good road-manners and lively handling can be partly attributed to the relatively light four-cylinder engine up-front but don’t think that its 2.0-litre capacity makes it the soft-option.

With the addition of a turbocharger, the 528i produces 180kW of power and an almost diesel matching 350Nm of torque, but still manages to return a combined fuel consumption of 6.5 l/100km.

Piloting the 528i is a rewarding experience and the performance belies its 1700kg weight.

When not driving enthusiastically we had chance to play with all the new no-cost toys.

BMW’s Multifunction Instrument Display replaces the traditional mechanical gauges with an LCD screen, which allows the information to be displayed a number of different ways.

Under normal driving conditions the road-speed, engine-speed, fuel level and oil temperature are displayed in a conventional four-gauge format, but when sport mode is selected the whole appearance changes to accentuate the more important figures.

A large road-speed figure is displayed in the centre of the tachometer and the selected gear number appears surrounded by the speedometer, making it very easy to monitor information while enjoying faster sections of road.

When maneuvering at lower speeds, the Surround View system uses a series of cameras positioned around the car to create a birds-eye view of the vehicle and provides confidence inspiring visibility.

A top-notch HarmanKardon sound system upgrade further compliments the interior comfort with digital radio included too.

Both diesel offerings have been treated to more standard equipment too with the 3.0-litre, six-cylinder $121,900 535d (up $1200) sharing the 528i extras, but adding a fully-automatic parking assistant.

With 230kW and a hearty 630Nm on tap, maintaining a decent pace in the big oil-burner was effortless, but in tight cornering the heavier nose couldn’t quite deliver the poise of the lighter engined four-cylinder variants.

The smaller capacity 2.0-litre $82,400 520d (up $1400) could have felt a little breathless if it wasn’t for the excellent eight-speed automatic transmission.

It might only have 135kW of power but thanks to the close gear ratios, the little diesel could be kept right in the middle of the 380Nm of torque, allowing respectable progress and an almost unbelievable economy figure of just 4.7 l/100km.

All variants in the range have an eight-speed automatic transmission as standard and provided super-smooth gear-changes, working just as well with all of the engines we tested.

Negotiating the minefield that is the BMW 5 Series options list can be a very expensive exercise, but with far more equipment jumping off the extras list and on to the standard equipment, buying BMW’s large sedan is now a lot simpler.

The same impeccable road manner associated with the 5 Series remains unchanged, but the minor rework of aesthetics and added value make the decision between a 5 Series or a Mercedes E-Class (or Audi A6/Jaguar XF) just as tricky as ever.

The Road to Recovery podcast series

Click to share

Click below to follow us on
Facebook  Twitter  Instagram

GoAuto can help you buy a new 5 Series

Customer Terms and Conditions – New Car Lead enquires


This is an agreement between GoAutoMedia Pty Limited ACN 094 732 457 of PO Box 18, Beach Road, Sandringham, VIC, 3191 (“we/us”), the owner and operator of the GoAuto.com.au website (“the website”) and the person wanting GoAuto.com.au to provide them with a lead for the purchase of a new car (“you”).

By completing a New Car Lead Enquiry, you agree to the terms and conditions and disclaimers and acknowledge the policies set out below.

Terms and Conditions

  • In order for us to effect a lead you must you must complete a New Car Lead Enquiry (“Enquiry”).
  • We will call you as soon as possible after you complete the Enquiry and certainly no later than the next business day. When we call, we will discuss with you your new car requirements.
  • You consent to our passing on the Enquiry and your requirements to an appropriate authorised motor car dealer as a lead.
  • We will contact you again in approximately eight days following your initial enquiry to check on the progress of the Enquiry.
  • While we will provide the dealer with the Enquiry and details of your new car requirements, we take no responsibility for what happens after passing on that material as a lead.
  • You acknowledge that we are a new car information service providing new car editorial information, pictures and prices to our customers as a guide only. Any new car prices published on the website are the manufacturers’ recommended retail prices and do not include delivery charges and on-road costs. Any authorized motor car dealer to which we pass on your Enquiry as a lead will provide you with full details of the price at which the vehicle will be sold to you.
  • You acknowledge that we do not sell motor vehicles. Any sale of a new car to you by a dealer after we have passed on your Enquiry to that dealer as a lead, is a sale by that dealer not by us.

Privacy Policy– New Car Lead Enquires

  • We take privacy very seriously. We understand that you will only complete an Enquiry if you can trust us to protect your personal information and use it appropriately. Our policy is to ensure that the personal information collected when you make an Enquiry is only used for the purposes of connecting you with an authorised motor car dealer.
  • We do not on-sell information collected from you or any other customer.
  • From time to time, we may email you with information or promotions that may be relevant for car buyers. You will continue to receive communications from us unless you tell us that you do not want to receive any advertising or promotional information in the future by unsubscribing from these communications.
* Denotes required field
** Australian inquiries only

5 Series pricing

Motor industry news

GoAutoNews is Australia’s number one automotive industry journal covering the latest news, future and new model releases, market trends, industry personnel movements, and international events.

Catch up on all of the latest industry news with this week's edition of GoAutoNews
Click here