The BMW 530i four-door luxury sports sedan received a makeover for 2004 (the model's fifth generation) and featured a sharper appearance borrowed from the 7 Series, with angled contours and more interior room. However, the car's 225-horsepower, 3.0-liter inline-six-cylinder engine was a holdover from the previous year, though still provided plenty of power, according to critics and drivers.
Handling was improved for the redesigned 530i, although one of its new features was the iDrive entertainment and communications system, which would prove to be controversial with drivers due to the complexity of its operation.
A six-speed manual overdrive transmission was standard, while a six-speed automatic was available as an option. Other standard features for the 530i included a power moonroof, a multi-zone automatic climate control system, cruise control, power windows, power heated mirrors, a power tilt and telescoping steering column, a leather-trimmed steering wheel, rain-sensing windshield wipers, a lighted entry system, and an AM/FM stereo system with an in-dash CD player.
Four-wheel anti-lock brakes, an anti-theft alarm system, daytime running lights, traction control, stability control, and 17-inch alloy wheels were also part of the package.
Drivers noted that the BMW 530i was a fun, reliable car to drive, with impressive steering, safety features, and roominess. Drivers recommended the optional premium audio system, however, and while some liked the iDrive entertainment system, most found it difficult and annoying to operate.