2011 BMW 528i: Welcome the BMW E-Class
November 01, 2010
Just back from a 1,000-mile weekend in this 2011 BMW 528is and it can't be more different than the previous 5 Series.
The new car is self-consciously gorgeous, at least in this particular $60,500 form with full luxury trim as well as the package of sport options. You can't tell the interior apart from the 7 Series. In comparison, the interior of the previous 5 looks incredibly austere and even cheap.
It seems to me like this car is following the lead of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class.
The E-Class has once again become the focus of the Mercedes lineup, incorporating almost all of the comfort and convenience options formerly associated only with the S-Class sedan. In fact it now seems to me to be intended as a low-priced S Class, as if Mercedes had recognized that the stratospheric price of the current S-Class has excluded all but the super wealthy and too many people were being tempted to leave the brand. The E-class is more like a pricing strategy than a car.
The BMW 5 Series is much the same. There's surely no question that the new 5 Series is a clone of the 7 Series, from the hardware to the assembly plant where it's produced. And it sure didn't feel any different than a 7 Series during my trip to Sacramento, a drive I made in our 2009 BMW 750i long-term test car.
This is very much a luxury car in the E-Class style, attractive and comfortable. It's perfect for shuttling around to the designer grocery place on the weekends, only with the BMW twin-kidney grille, which is far cooler than the overstated Mercedes three-pointed star.
Presuming of course that what you want is an E-Class with a BMW grille. Which I don't.
Michael Jordan, Executive Editor, Edmunds.com @ 3,525 miles