What's New for 2002
This year a standard CD player, climate control and power seats. The 4.4-liter V8 of the 540 now makes 290 horsepower, up 8 from last year. Rear side-impact airbags are now a no-charge option, rather than standard.
The 5 Series follows BMW's fine tradition of embodying a "true driver's car" and is offered in four flavors for 2002: the base 525i, the mid-level 530i, the top-level 540i and the high-performance M5. In addition to the sedan body style, a wagon is also available in 525i and 540i versions.
A 2.5-liter inline six-cylinder engine that makes 185 horsepower moves the 525i models. This base model comes with a standard five-speed manual transmission, or it can be optioned with a five-speed Steptronic automanual transmission. Step up to the 530i, and you get a 3.0-liter inline six that makes a healthy 225 horsepower at 5,900 rpm and 214 pound-feet of torque at 3,500 rpm.
Under the hood of the 540i sedan and wagon sits a 4.4-liter 32-valve V8 that manages 0-to-60 times in the low 6s. With 290 horsepower at their command, these Bavarian barnstormers are a blast on the open road. The powerplant comes mated to either a six-speed manual or a five-speed Steptronic automanual (the 540i Sport Wagon comes only with the auto) for those who find the BMW stick-shifts a bit too demanding in stop-and-go traffic. The suspension is pleasantly firm on this lively model, making even the most docile of drivers feel like Michael Schumacher.
As one would expect in a top-end luxury/sport vehicle, equipment levels are first-rate. Standard fare includes a 10-speaker premium sound system, car and key programmable memory, dual-zone air conditioning, eight-way power adjustments with memory settings and cruise control with steering wheel controls. All-Season Traction Control (AST), Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) and Dynamic Brake Control are standard on all 5 Series cars.
Standard safety equipment includes dual-stage front airbags, door-mounted front side airbags and head-protection airbags for front passengers. The optional Rear Side-Airbag package also includes head-protection airbags. Three-point seatbelts at all seating positions, impact sensors that unlock the doors and activate the hazard lights in the event of a serious accident, remote keyless entry, two-step unlocking, coded drive-away protection and a vehicle security system are also standard. To list all of the 5 Series' luxury options would take more space than we have. A few of the more noticeable ones include a Cold Weather package with heated front seats, Park Distance Control, a navigation system and 17-inch wheels with performance tires.
The 5 Series continues to be one of our favorite luxury cars currently offered. No matter what you are looking for, something in this lineup will likely suit you.