Many years and generations ago, the 528i was the turbine-smooth, six-cylinder pinnacle of the 5 Series range. This engine capacity first appeared late in the life of the original 5 Series in 1979, last appeared two generations ago and reemerges today as the entry model of the current 5 Series lineup. But not as a 2.8-liter, nor even a six-cylinder.
The 2012 BMW 528i engine is now a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. The mill even looks downsized when you open the hood, a sizable void yawning between the nose of the engine and its radiator, yet it generates a promising 240 horsepower — identical to that of the outgoing 2011 six-cylinder 528i, but boasting an extra 30 pound-feet of torque. And, thankfully, 0.4-second-quicker sprint to 62 mph (6.3 seconds).
Economy and emissions gains are the main goal of the displacement and cylinder reduction. The 2012 528i improves on the 2011 model's fuel economy by 1 mpg city and 2 mpg highway and achieves an EPA rating of 23 city/34 highway mpg. The improvement is aided by a new stop-start system integrated into the standard eight-speed automatic transmission. But the key to this new engine's fuel-sipping strength is a single twin-scroll turbocharger that functions in concert with a number of well-established BMW technologies.
These include double VANOS variable valve timing and the company's Valvetronic induction system, which does away with the throttle plate. The 528i's four-cylinder routes exhaust gases from each pair of cylinders to a separate turbine inlet to speed the engine's reaction to a twitching right foot. Fuel is fed by precisely metered, solenoid-controlled direct injectors, while refinements to the Valvetronic system have also improved its precision.
Torque From Low Revs The result is a very impressive 240 hp from 2.0 liters and even more usefully, a stout 258 lb-ft of torque from as low as 1,250 rpm. This torque stream is sustained all the way to 4,800 rpm, promising the kind of midrange punch that normally aspirated six-cylinder gas engines rarely offer. And you can feel its effects almost as soon as you move off, the 2012 BMW 528i advancing with a confident authority that's heightened by the tremor-free activities of its eight-speed automatic transmission.
All those ratios help disguise the steep ramp to the torque peak, which kicks in with authority as the revs approach 2,000 rpm. But to uncover this, you must switch to manual shifting so you can hold the car in a gear, trickle it down to 1,000 rpm in 2nd and stomp on the accelerator as if you hate it. There's a brief pause, followed by an excitingly exponential surge that leaves no doubt that this is a rapid car. By 2,000 rpm it's pulling like a lashed mule and there's a substantial power spike at 3,500 rpm. The acceleration is unrelenting until 6,500 rpm, when the transmission automatically upshifts to let you do it all over again.
Though this four has lost the turbinelike wail of the six, it's more powerful and it stays smoothly unfussed until it closes on 6,600 rpm. The culture of the six is gone, but there's more honest muscle to this engine. Those familiar with a BMW straight-6's smooth-spinning ways will miss it some, but it makes the 5 Series a better car. There's some refinement missing, but the return of lighter fuel bills, more torque and extra entertainment is a worthy trade.
Control Your Driving Experience Further entertainment can be had from the new rocker switch occupying the center console near your right knee. Grandly labelled the "Driving Experience Control," it alters the throttle response, steering weight, stability control thresholds, transmission shift strategy and the calibration of the dynamic dampers, which come with both the M Sport and Sport option packages.
There are four settings, labelled "Sport+," "Sport," "Comfort" and "Eco Pro." Driving Experience Control is most worthwhile if you ordered those dynamic dampers, whose settings alter the character of the car noticeably from the pillowy comfort of a big, old Buick — though without the wallow — to sensations distinctly more athletic when you aim the 528 at a bend and hard-charge it. As you'd hope of a car promoted as a sport sedan, it spears them with a satisfyingly quiet confidence that's sharpened by the fact that the four-cylinder engine in its nose is lighter than the outgoing six.
Select the Sport+ mode, which relaxes the stability control system's interventionist policy and you can indulge the occasional tail slide. But it's the smooth and rapid fluency down the road that characterizes this car more so than exploring the outer reaches of its rear tires' grip. The 528i's dynamic capabilities can now be further stretched with four-wheel drive, as the xDrive option's rear-axle-biased torque distribution largely preserves the 5's rear-drive character.
High Tech, Low Consumption And Eco Pro? It's about fuel economy strategies for both you and the car. The car's contribution is to lower the energy demands of the air-conditioning and assorted electrical systems such as the heated front seats, while providing you with some fuel-saving driving guidance. This includes an infotainment display whose bar graphs track the car's consumption over the previous 15 minutes while providing a rolling average. That's good, but the occasional appearance of rather obvious driving tips, such as "accelerate moderately" will irritate some drivers.
The 2012 BMW 528i is a car with an unusual breadth of personality, ranging from comfortable econo-sedan to sporting four-door. And this efficient new twin-turbo four allows it to pull off these character switches with conviction. Yet it's not a car of split personality. The satisfying way in which it gels makes it easy to understand why this is the best-selling sedan in its class, worldwide.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored press event to facilitate this report.
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What's a good price on a used 2012 BMW 5 Series ?
Save up to $300 on one of 69 used 2012 BMW 5 Seriess for sale at dealerships within 25 miles of Ashburn, Virginia with prices as low as $12997 as of Jan 16, 2018, based on data from 18 dealers and 142 consumer-driven dealer ratings ranging from 1 to 5 out of 5 stars.
Price comparisons for used 2012 BMW 5 Series trim styles:
The used 2012 BMW 5 Series 550i is priced around $29998 with average odometer reading of 30584 miles.
The used 2012 BMW 5 Series 550i xDrive is priced around $20206 with average odometer reading of 69651 miles.
The used 2012 BMW 5 Series 535i xDrive is priced around $18492 with average odometer reading of 78735 miles.
The used 2012 BMW 5 Series 528i is priced around $18795 with average odometer reading of 68542 miles.
The used 2012 BMW 5 Series 535i is priced around $20047 with average odometer reading of 68753 miles.
The used 2012 BMW 5 Series 528i xDrive is priced around $18677 with average odometer reading of 62995 miles.
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What options are available on the 2012 BMW 5 Series?
Available BMW 5 Series 2012 Submodel Types: Sedan, Diesel, Wagon, Hybrid, M550i xDrive
Exterior Colors: Dark Graphite Metallic, Glacier Silver Metallic, Monaco Blue Metallic, Mineral White Metallic, Bluestone Metallic, Callisto Grey Metallic, Platinum Gray Metallic, Jet Black, Cashmere Silver Metallic, Mediterranean Blue Metallic, Titanium Gray Metallic, Amethyst Gray Metallic, Space Gray Metallic, Alpine White, Black Sapphire Metallic, Orient Blue Metallic, Dark Graphite Metallic II, Titanium Silver Metallic, Jatoba Brown Metallic, Mineral Grey Metallic, Deep Green Metallic, Citrin Black Metallic, Deep Sea Blue Metallic, Olivin Green Metallic, Carbon Black Metallic, Champagne Quartz Metallic, Imperial Blue Metallic, Jatoba Metallic, Platinum Bronze Metallic (Late Availability), Atlas Cedar Metallic, Montreal Blue Metallic, Oxford Green Metallic, Silver Gray Metallic, Steel Blue Metallic, Sterling Grey Metallic, Tasman Green Metallic, Aspen Silver Metallic, Blue Water Metallic, Cashmere Beige Metallic, Glacier Green Metallic, Milano Beige Metallic, Mojave Metallic, Mystic Blue Metallic, Platinum Bronze Metallic, Pyrite Brown Metallic, Sterling Gray Metallic
Interior Colors: Black premium leather, Black Dakota w/Contrast Stitching/Piping leather, Beige leatherette, Black SensaTec leatherette, Cognac Dakota w/Contrast Stitching/Piping leather, Gray premium leather, Black Dakota w/Exclusive Stitching leather, Black Dakota w/Blue Contrast Stitching/Piping leather, Amaro Brown Extended Merino premium leather, Cinnamon Brown leather, Black, Canberra Beige/Black Dakota w/Contrast Stitching/Piping leather, Black Nappa w/Contrast Stitching/Piping premium leather, Black leatherette, Natural Brown premium leather, Gray, Ivory White/Black Nappa premium leather, Mocha Nappa w/Black premium leather, Everest Gray leather, Canberra Beige/Black SensaTec leatherette, Venetian Beige leather, Cream Beige premium leather, Mocha w/Black Nappa premium leather, Black Dakota leather, Beige, Venetian Beige/Black Dakota leather, Cinnamon Brown Dakota leather, Venetian Beige Dakota w/Exclusive Stitching leather, Ivory White Dakota w/Contrast Stitching/Piping leather, Ivory White Nappa w/Black premium leather, Oyster/Black leather, Mocha Nappa w/Contrast Stitching/Piping premium leather, Black leather, Venetian Beige Dakota leather, Night Blue Dakota w/Contrast Stitching/Piping leather, Oyster and Black Nappa premium leather, Everest Gray Dakota leather, Ivory White w/Oyster Nappa premium leather, Venetian Beige SensaTec leatherette, Veneto Beige leatherette, Black Nappa premium leather, Silk Gray/Black Extended Merino premium leather, Ivory White Nappa w/Contrast Stitching/Piping and Dark Coffee Dashboard premium leather, Oyster and Black Dakota leather, Venetian Beige/Black SensaTec leatherette, Auburn premium leather, Beige premium leather, Individual Platinum Extended Merino premium leather, Ivory White Dakota w/Contrast Stitching/Piping and Dark Coffee Dashboard leather, Ivory White Nappa w/Contrast Stitching/Piping premium leather, Nutmeg Extended Merino premium leather, Sand, Sand Beige, Venetian Beige/Black Dakota w/Exclusive Stitching leather
Popular Features: Electronic Folding Mirrors, Pre-collision safety system, Keyless Entry/Start, Alarm, Audio and cruise controls on steering wheel, Auto Climate Control, Automatic Emergency Braking, Aux Audio Inputs, Bluetooth, Multi-Zone Climate Control, Post-collision safety system, Power Driver Seat, Rear Bench Seats, Stability Control, Sunroof/Moonroof, Tire Pressure Warning, Trip Computer, USB Inputs, Upgraded Headlights, AWD/4WD, Apple Carplay/Android Auto, Mobile Internet, Leather Seats, Adaptive Cruise Control, Cooled Seats, 360-degree camera, Navigation, Back-up camera, Parking sensors, Heated seats, Power Liftgate/Trunk, Fold Flat Rear Seats, Blind Spot Monitoring, Heads up display, Lane Departure Warning, Rear Entertainment System, Upgraded Stereo
The used 2012 BMW 5 Series is offered in the following submodels: Sedan. Available styles include 535i 4dr Sedan (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 6M), 535i xDrive 4dr Sedan AWD (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 8A), and 528i 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 8A). Pre-owned 5 Series models are available with a 3.0-liter gas engine or a 2.0-liter gas engine, with output up to 300 hp, depending on engine type. The used 2012 5 Series comes with rear wheel drive or all wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 6-speed manual, 8-speed shiftable automatic.