You can often tell how successful a model has been when it gets a refresh. If the changes are modest (say, a styling tweak and a modest slug of extra equipment), then the car is probably selling well.
That's the case with the BMW 5 Series sedan. Now in its sixth generation, the latest 5 Series has been the fastest selling yet, with over a million sold worldwide in three years.
Then again, if you see substantial upgrades as part of a refresh, then the manufacturer is likely tackling a few criticisms to give a struggling model a boost. Case in point, the 5 Series GT. Its awkward looks and odd position within the lineup have made it a much slower seller, so it gets a rear-end restyle along with repackaged accommodations.
U.S.-Bound Diesel Likely to be bigger news than the GT's makeover is that the 5 Series sedan will be available with a diesel engine. Dubbed the 535d, it puts out a stout 254 horsepower and an even stouter 414 pound-feet of torque, enough to deliver a 0-62-mph sprint in an admirably brief 5.3 seconds.
And though BMW has yet to publish mileage figures for the car, you can expect the numbers to come out looking far more impressive than the 535i.
The other major engine development is the arrival of a new version of the 4.4-liter V8 in the 550i. It's now equipped with Valvetronic breathing gear and a twin-scroll turbo, so power climbs from 401 hp to 444 hp to yield an impressive 0-62-mph time of 4.6 seconds. An all-wheel-drive 535d xDrive will be available as well.
The rest of the engines in the range remain largely unchanged.
Torque Storm We enjoyed the mounds of torque delivered by the oil-burning straight-6, finding it far more flexible than expected. To experience the full storm of its 414 lb-ft of torque it's best to switch the eight-speed auto into Manual mode, select 2nd, slow to a 1,000-rpm crawl and crush the accelerator like an unwelcome cockroach.
There's a brief gathering of speed until 1,500 rpm arrives, at which point the BMW hunkers down under the sheer force of torque muscling its way to the rear wheels, the ensuing surge as exciting as anything a gasoline engine can muster 4,000 rpm later.
Still more surprising, if you're used to the historically compact rev ranges of older diesels, is that the thrust keeps on coming through to 5,000 rpm, before petering out over the final few hundred revs. This diesel is memorably quick and better yet, makes a smooth, low, muffled rumble that's just as entertaining as the slightly synthetic-sounding crescendo of the 535i.
Upgraded Suspension The 5's chassis has also seen a light rethink in the form of retuned dampers for improved comfort, quietness and reduced roll, besides some fresh mapping of the electric power steering to sharpen its precision.
These dynamic upgrades are subtly apparent on the admittedly shelf-smooth Bavarian roads we sampled it on. The ride is smoother, the cabin is a little quieter and body sway, never a big issue in a 5 Series, is tightly controlled. The natural balance that comes from this car's rear-drive layout makes it impressively wieldy through curves without feeling nervous.
That said, we still consider the optional electronic dampers to be a 5 Series essential for a compliant ride on turbulent terrain, and if you have them it's useful to firm the BMW's body control for seriously hard charges.
The revised steering feels a little more accurate, too, even if you need the Sport setting for the most consistent, confidence-building rim resistance. This you select via BMW's increasingly familiar "driving experience" rocker switch on the center console. It toggles among the fuel-saving, throttle-dulling, Eco Pro mode and the Comfort+, Comfort, Sport and Sport+ modes, the last of these partly disabling the stability control.
Each setting adjusts the steering feel, throttle sensitivity, transmission and, if they're fitted, the firmness of the electronic dampers. It works to good effect, though you quite often find yourself wanting a combination of softer suspension, say, and a sharper throttle. Configuring these settings individually, Audi-style, would be better.
Modest Styling Changes And at first glance, you might think that the entire car is unchanged. Spotting a 2014 model-year 5 Series sedan isn't easy at first, but from the front it's identifiable by remodeled lights and a resculpted nose section that mirrors the hooded-eye look of the 3 Series.
The rear bumper is new, too, as are the taillights. The side indicators now live in the mirror housings rather than on the fenders, and some versions flaunt modest dashes of extra brightwork.
The biggest change inside is a switch to flat-screen, reconfigurable gauges. They're red-lit when you select Sport, for instance, while the speedo readout goes digital — and there are some detail decor enhancements. The infotainment system's capabilities can be optionally deepened with an iDrive controller that doubles as a mouse, besides allowing the dictation of texts and e-mails.
Later this year there'll be an optional self-parking system requiring no control inputs of any kind, and a traffic jam assistant allowing the 5 Series to steer, accelerate and brake with no intervention from the driver at speeds of up to 19 mph in traffic.
Is It Enough? There's no question, then, that the 5 Series diesel we drove is a very accomplished car. And it was more sporting than you might expect, with the 3.0-liter diesel sounding keener and producing more instant go than the gasoline-powered 535i.
It's fast, quiet, rides well and delivers the effortless journeying that cars like this are supposed to be about. It also has a roomy, beautifully crafted cabin, packed with electronic convenience items if your wallet is fat enough to afford them.
Of course, the diesel model is just one small piece of the larger 5 Series pie. The rest of the lineup will likely attract the bulk of the sales in the U.S., and the minor nips and tucks made to all the models will surely keep them competitive. The only downside to this latest refresh is its modesty. Anyone hoping for some big changes to the 5 Series this time around will have to wait another couple of years, and BMW doesn't seem too worried about it.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.
Is the 2014 BMW 5 Series a good car? Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2014 BMW 5 Series and all model years in our database. Our rich content includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2014 5 Series featuring deep dives into trim levels and features, performance, mpg, safety, interior, and driving. Edmunds also offers expert ratings, road test and performance data, long-term road tests, first-drive reviews, video reviews and more.
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How do people like the 2014 BMW 5 Series? Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2014 BMW 5 Series and all its trim types. Overall, Edmunds users rate the 2014 5 Series 4.5 on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. Edmunds consumer reviews allow users to sift through aggregated consumer reviews to understand what other drivers are saying about any vehicle in our database. Detailed rating breakdowns (including performance, comfort, value, interior, exterior design, build quality, and reliability) are available as well to provide shoppers with a comprehensive understanding of why customers like the 2014 5 Series.
Vehicle 535i xDrive 4dr Sedan AWD (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 8A)
Review Just bought a CPO 3-year old 535i xDrive 4 days ago. It's so much fun to drive! I'm 6'3" and I am very comfortable in the driver's seat; the electrically adjustable seats and steering wheel can accommodate just about anyone. It's got two settings: Sport mode and Comfort mode; I've been driving mostly in Comfort mode. The computer smooths out the whole ride experience. If you switch to Sport mode it's like you're in an M3. Very spunky, tight and...well...sporty. My only complaint is the Navigation system. The computer often can't understand what I'm saying and will try to send me somewhere 1500 miles away like Idaho. My smartphone's navigation is easier to use, so i just use that. Overall, a very nice ride. Go test drive it! You'll like it.
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Is the 2014 Bmw 5-series safe? The 2014 Bmw 5-series earned a 5-star overall safety rating from NHTSA and "GOOD" ratings from the IIHS in the following caregories: Side Impact Test, Roof Strength Test, Rear Crash Protection/Head Restraint, Moderate Overlap Front Test Results, and a JD POWER overall quality rating of 3.5 out of 5. Among Edmunds' many tools and resources for finding your perfect car are detailed safety ratings and analysis from NHTSA, IIHS, and JD Power, including overall ratings, frontal barrier crash ratings, side impact tests and crash ratings, rollover test results, roof strength tests, rear crash protection and head restraint ratings, side barrier ratings, combined side barrier and pole ratings, and more.
What options are available on the 2014 BMW 5 Series?
Available BMW 5 Series 2014 Submodel Types: Sedan, Hybrid, Diesel, Wagon, M550i xDrive
Exterior Colors: Jet Black, Alpine White, Black Sapphire Metallic, Dark Graphite Metallic, Titanium Silver Metallic, Space Gray Metallic, Imperial Blue Metallic, Glacier Silver Metallic, Monaco Blue Metallic, Carbon Black Metallic, Mineral White Metallic, Callisto Grey Metallic, Platinum Gray Metallic, Deep Sea Blue Metallic, Bluestone Metallic, Cashmere Silver Metallic, Dark Graphite Metallic II, Silver Gray Metallic, Jatoba Brown Metallic, Orient Blue Metallic, Amethyst Gray Metallic, Mediterranean Blue Metallic, Titanium Gray Metallic, Champagne Quartz Metallic, Citrin Black Metallic, Deep Green Metallic, Jatoba Metallic, Mineral Grey Metallic, Milano Beige Metallic, Mojave Metallic, Tasman Green Metallic, Atlas Cedar Metallic, Glacier Green Metallic, Montreal Blue Metallic, Olivin Green Metallic, Oxford Green Metallic, Pyrite Brown Metallic, Steel Blue Metallic, Sterling Grey Metallic, Blue Water Metallic, Cashmere Beige Metallic, Mystic Blue Metallic, Platinum Bronze Metallic, Platinum Bronze Metallic (Late Availability), Sterling Gray Metallic
Interior Colors: Black Dakota leather, Black premium leather, Cinnamon Brown Dakota leather, Black Nappa premium leather, Black Dakota w/Contrast Stitching/Piping leather, Beige leatherette, Black leatherette, Black SensaTec leatherette, Venetian Beige Dakota leather, Cognac Dakota w/Contrast Stitching/Piping leather, Gray premium leather, Black Dakota w/Blue Contrast Stitching/Piping leather, Black Dakota w/Exclusive Stitching leather, Amaro Brown Extended Merino premium leather, Canberra Beige/Black Dakota w/Contrast Stitching/Piping leather, Cinnamon Brown leather, Black, Venetian Beige leather, Ivory White/Black Nappa premium leather, Cream Beige premium leather, Mocha w/Black Nappa premium leather, Natural Brown premium leather, Everest Gray leather, Beige, Black Nappa w/Contrast Stitching/Piping premium leather, Canberra Beige/Black SensaTec leatherette, Gray, Mocha Nappa w/Black premium leather, Venetian Beige/Black Dakota leather, Everest Gray Dakota leather, Veneto Beige leatherette, Oyster and Black Dakota leather, Oyster/Black leather, Night Blue Dakota w/Contrast Stitching/Piping leather, Venetian Beige Dakota w/Exclusive Stitching leather, Ivory White w/Oyster Nappa premium leather, Oyster and Black Nappa premium leather, Venetian Beige SensaTec leatherette, Beige premium leather, Black leather, Ivory White Nappa w/Black premium leather, Ivory White Dakota w/Contrast Stitching/Piping leather, Ivory White Nappa w/Contrast Stitching/Piping premium leather, Mocha Nappa w/Contrast Stitching/Piping premium leather, Silk Gray/Black Extended Merino premium leather, Venetian Beige/Black SensaTec leatherette, Auburn 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 and Dark Coffee Dashboard premium leather, Nutmeg Extended Merino premium leather, Sand, Sand Beige, Venetian Beige/Black Dakota w/Exclusive Stitching leather
Popular Features: Alarm, Audio and cruise controls on steering wheel, Power Driver Seat, Rear Bench Seats, Trip Computer, Auto Climate Control, Multi-Zone Climate Control, Stability Control, Sunroof/Moonroof, Tire Pressure Warning, Bluetooth, Automatic Emergency Braking, Aux Audio Inputs, Post-collision safety system, Upgraded Headlights, AWD/4WD, USB Inputs, Fold Flat Rear Seats, Navigation, Leather Seats, Back-up camera, Parking sensors, Heated seats, Electronic Folding Mirrors, Power Liftgate/Trunk, Pre-collision safety system, Heads up display, Keyless Entry/Start, Upgraded Stereo, Blind Spot Monitoring, Apple Carplay/Android Auto, Lane Departure Warning, Mobile Internet, Adaptive Cruise Control, 360-degree camera, Cooled Seats, Rear Entertainment System