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2020 BMW 5 Series Overview
BMW’s midsize sedan, the 5 Series, gets several changes for 2020. Standard equipment now includes keyless entry and engine start, digital instrumentation, and a next-generation infotainment system with navigation and connected services.
A more powerful battery debuts in the 530e plug-in hybrid, growing from 9.2 kWh to 12 kWh. This increases the car’s electric driving range to an estimated 35 to 40 miles, depending on equipment.
The great thing about the BMW 530e is that it’s the same price as the BMW 530i, so you don’t pay extra for the plug-in hybrid technology. In addition to the new, more powerful battery and its electric motor, this car uses a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine and an 8-speed automatic transmission. At the time of this writing, total system horsepower and official EPA fuel-economy estimates were unavailable.
The BMW 530i features a more powerful turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder rated to make 248 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. As is true of the 530e plug-in, an 8-speed automatic powers the rear wheels or all four wheels via BMW’s xDrive all-wheel-drive (AWD) system. Fuel-economy estimates for the rear-wheel-drive (RWD) version are 25 mpg city, 33 highway, and 28 combined. With xDrive, the 530i gets 24/31/27.
A turbocharged 3.0-liter inline 6-cylinder is standard in the BMW 540i, paired with an 8-speed automatic and RWD or AWD. It’s good for 335 hp and 331 lb-ft of torque, and as this is published, the EPA has rated only the xDrive version: 22/29/25.
Next up is the BMW M550i. Equipped with only xDrive, the M550i’s twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 engine gets a big power bump to 523 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque, dropping the 0-60 acceleration time to a claimed 3.6 seconds. The M550i performance-tuned variant adds heated front seats and an M Sport Differential. The M550i also gets an 8-speed automatic that manages power to all four wheels.
Aside from the M550i, each 5 Series comes in standard Sport Line, optional Luxury Line, or available M Sport exterior design themes. Numerous paint color, wheel design, and interior upholstery and trim selections help buyers to customize the car’s look, inside and out.
Once you’ve got the right powertrain and preferred appearance in place, a variety of option packages and individual upgrades improve the car’s safety, handling, comfort, and infotainment systems.
For example, every 5 Series features iDrive 7.0 with connected and telematics services, navigation, a year-long trial of Apple CarPlay, and natural voice recognition that responds to “Hey BMW.” Upgrades include satellite radio, gesture control, wireless smartphone charging, a WiFi hotspot, and a choice between Harman Kardon and Bowers & Wilkins premium sound systems.
In combination with the car’s new digital instrumentation, the 5 Series is a thoroughly modern midsize luxury sedan. You can even get an autonomous remote-control parking system that you operate while standing outside of the car.
Standard safety equipment includes a distracted-driver monitoring system, forward-collision warning with daytime-pedestrian detection, city-speed automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, a pre-collision system, a post-crash braking system, automatic collision notification, and an SOS emergency-calling system.
In spite of this generous list of equipment, there are also safety-related options. Automatic high-beam headlights, adaptive headlights, and a night-vision system with night pedestrian-detection capability are available, as well as a Driving Assistance Plus option package. This group of features adds adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go capability, evasive-steering assist, front cross-traffic alert, lane-keeping and -centering assist, and a side-collision-avoidance system.
Given the standard and available safety technologies, it comes as no surprise to learn that the BMW 5 Series earned a Top Safety Pick+ rating for 2019 from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
With the 2020 5 Series, BMW competes primarily against the Audi A6 and Mercedes-Benz E-Class. Other alternatives worthy of consideration include the Cadillac CT5, Genesis G80, Lexus GS, and Volvo S90.
Christian Wardlaw has 25 years of experience reviewing cars and has served in editorial leadership roles with Edmunds, J.D. Power, the New York Daily News, Autobytel, and Vehix. Chris prefers to focus on the cars people actually buy rather than the cars about which people dream, and emphasizes the importance of fuel economy and safety as much as how much fun a car is to drive. Chris is married to an automotive journalist, is the father of four daughters, and lives in Southern California.
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