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2019 BMW 5 Series Overview
As one of the top names in the midsize luxury segment, the BMW 5 Series goes into 2019 with updates. It gets more standard active safety features and a slight shuffling of options. The 5 Series range has long been a tempting mix of cutting-edge luxury with an engaging driving experience. The 2019 range includes 4-cylinder, 6-cylinder, V8, and plug-in hybrid models as well as rear-wheel drive (RWD) or all-wheel drive (AWD). The M5 is covered in a separate preview.
Under the hood, the story with the engines is the same as for other BMW models. The 530i is the base 4-cylinder trim that gets a 2.0-liter turbocharged unit good for 248 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. For the fuel-conscious, a 530e iPerformance model pairs a 2.0-liter turbocharged four with a plug-in hybrid electric system for a total system output of 248 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque, plus 72 combined mpg and an electric-only range of up to 16 miles. With xDrive (BMW speak for all-wheel drive) fuel economy drops a few miles; the all-electric range is 15 miles.
The 540i gets a 3.0-liter turbocharged straight six that's good for 335 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque. It manages 21 mpg city, 29 highway, 24 combined in either RWD or AWD configuration. The M550i xDrive is the fastest of the bunch. The M550i xDrive gets a 4.4-liter V8 with 456 hp and 480 lb-ft of torque. Being a big V8, it’s thirsty at 16 city, 25 highway, and 19 combined. All 5 Series models come with an 8-speed automatic transmission.
While almost all BMWs are driver-focused, an available M Sport package adds a lowered, firmer suspension along with 19-inch wheels, or 20-inchers when fitted to the 540i. A Dynamic Handling package adds an adaptive suspension, better brakes, and rear-wheel steering. The 550i xDrive features some tweaks to the chassis that reportedly make for sportier driving, and it gets standard 19-inch alloy wheels.
The 530i comes standard with LED lighting, adaptive headlights, rain-sensing wipers, dual-zone automatic climate control, 16-way power front seats with memory settings on the driver’s side, a power-adjustable steering column, parking sensors front and rear, 10.3-inch iDrive infotainment screen, navigation, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, HD Radio, two USB ports, and 20GB of music storage. It also features heated, self-dimming, and power-folding side mirrors. The 530e is the same car on the inside, but offers the plug-in hybrid system to get more out of each trip to the pump. In the hybrid, the trunk shrinks from 18.7 cubic feet to 15 feet. The 540i adds genuine leather upholstery instead of the synthetic material in the lower part of the range.
Stepping up to the 550i xDrive adds 19-inch alloy wheels and some tweaks to the chassis. An available Premium package adds an automatic parallel-parking system, head-up display, Wi-Fi, wireless device charging, keyless ignition, and gesture control, which lets the driver use hand gestures in the air to adjust the volume of the stereo or answer a phone call. The Executive package takes the Premium package and adds automatic high beams, the parking assistant plus system, soft-close doors, a 360-degree camera system, and an 8.8-inch configurable driver information display screen. Finally, a Convenience package adds a power trunk lid and heated front seats. Standalone options include 16-speaker stereos by either Harman Kardon or Bowers & Wilkins, a dual-screen backseat entertainment system, night vision with pedestrian detection, and 20-way adjustable front seats with ventilation and massage functions.
BMWs are typically at the front of the pack when it comes to safety, and the 5 Series is no exception. In crash testing, it has gotten 5 out of 5 stars overall with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the highest possible Top Safety Pick+ status with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Standard active safety features include blind-spot monitors and lane-departure warning, while optional extras include adaptive cruise control, active lane-keep assistant, traffic-jam assist, and evasive-steering assist.
While the midsize luxury sedan market has more worthy choices than it used to, the 5 Series is still a standout that lives up to its reputation. The Mercedes-Benz E-Class and Audi A6 are perennial alternatives, but the Jaguar XF, Volvo S90, and Lexus GS are also all worth considering. With a mix of cutting-edge powertrains and luxurious interiors, the 5 Series is still toward the head of the pack.
Since 2012, Andrew Newton has been writing about cars both old and new. Andrew has been an associate editor at Sport Car Digest as well as a contributor to sites like BoldRide and JamesEdition. He was also the Education Manager at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum in Brookline, MA before becoming the Auction Editor at Hagerty Classic Car Insurance. He currently splits his time behind the wheel between his NA Miata, 1994 Corvette, and Triumph TR6.
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