With a new platform and new engines, the 2017 BMW 5 Series looks to reaffirm its standing in the midsize luxury sedan segment. It distinguished itself decades ago as a driver's car and has since evolved into a sophisticated, comfortable sedan that attempts to be all things to most people. In the process, the 5 Series traded some of its driver's car chops for a more isolated feel. The 2017 model doesn't stray far from this contemporary vision of the 5 Series. And despite being a hair larger and bringing an arsenal of technology to bear, the new car manages to avoid the weight bloat that afflicts many such attempts.
BMW didn't take any chances with its successful product. The new 5 Series grows in length by 1.2 inches and stands 0.6 inch taller than the outgoing model, while the wheelbase and width are nearly unchanged. The updated cabin primarily benefits backseat passengers, who gain 1.2 inches of legroom. These modest changes to its footprint, combined with the evolutionary styling, mean the new car is readily familiar.
Under the skin, the new 5 Series keeps its weight in check by employing lightweight and strong metals such as aluminum, magnesium and high-strength steel. Weight is said to be reduced by up to 137 pounds, though that's the best-case scenario. Expect the real-world weight savings compared with last year's 5 Series to be negligible. That's because the new 5 Series is packed with technology that offsets the weight saved in the structure. It even borrows some of its cabin features from its bigger brother, the 7 Series.
The 2017 BMW 5 Series' most direct foe is its crosstown rival, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, which brings a formidable combination of style, comfort and performance. Likewise, the Audi A6 manages to feel light on its feet and has an outstanding cabin. The Lexus GS 350 is a finely crafted competitor, and we're also fond of the impressive-handling Cadillac CTS.
The 2017 BMW 5 Series comes standard with antilock brakes, traction and stability control, front-seat front and side airbags, side curtain airbags, a rearview camera, and front and rear parking sensors.
Available safety features include a lane departure warning system, lane keeping assist, blind-spot monitoring, semi-automated steering, and a forward collision mitigation system with automatic braking.
trim levels & features
The 2017 BMW 5 Series is a five-passenger, four-door sedan available in two trim levels that each indicate a different engine: the 530i and the 540i. All-wheel drive is optional and denoted by the xDrive moniker.
The 2017 BMW 530i comes standard with LED adaptive headlights, 18-inch wheels, driver-selectable vehicle settings (altering steering, transmission response and throttle calibration), LED accent lights, LED foglights, power-folding and auto-dimming heated mirrors, automatic wipers, a sunroof, adaptive cruise control, dual-zone automatic cruise control, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, driver and passenger 16-way-adjustable sport seats with power-adjustable side bolsters and driver memory functions, a 40/20/40-split folding rear seat and premium vinyl upholstery. Standard technology features include the iDrive interface (knob/button controller and 10.3-inch display), a navigation system, gesture and voice controls, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, BMW emergency services, and a 205-watt, 12-speaker sound system with a CD player, HD radio, an auxiliary audio jack, a USB port, a media player interface and 20 gigabytes of digital music storage.
Options include a 600-watt, 16-speaker Harman Kardon sound system or a 1,400-watt, 16-speaker Bowers & Wilkins premium audio system, 20-way-adjustable multicontour driver and front passenger seats with ventilation and massage, a rear-wheel steering system and adaptive dampers. The Adaptive Drive system package combines the adaptive dampers with active stabilizer bars.
An M Sport package includes unique body trim, a lowered suspension and 19-inch wheels, a sport leather steering wheel and unique interior trim. Twenty-inch wheels are optional on the 540i when the M Sport package is selected.
The Rear-Seat Entertainment Professional package includes two 10.2-inch screens in the back of the front seats, a DVD player and USB ports.
The 2017 BMW 530i is equipped with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that generates 248 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. A twin-turbo 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine that develops 335 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque is found in all 540i models. All-wheel drive is optional on both models, and all 2017 5 Series models are equipped with an eight-speed automatic transmission; no manual gearbox is available.
BMW says the 530i will reach 60 mph in 6.0 seconds and the 540i does the feat in 4.9 seconds. All-wheel-drive variants shave these figures by 0.2 second, respectively.
The EPA says the rear-wheel-drive 530i will achieve 27 mpg combined (24 city/34 highway). The thirstiest variant, the 540i xDrive, will get 23 mpg combined (20 city/29 highway).
During a short preview drive, both the 530i and the 540i felt more than capable of delivering long-distance comfort and the kind of performance necessary to uphold the 5 Series' reputation as a sport sedan. The smoother power delivery of the 540i makes it the one to get if you like the idea of always having something in reserve, but the 530i will satisfy everyone else.
Continuing the evolutionary progression established by the exterior styling, the cabin's design theme bears close resemblance to that of the outgoing car. The dashboard is mounted a bit lower, but the arrangement of the center stack is very similar. With gesture controls lifted from the 7 Series, plus touchscreen, the iDrive controller knob and voice control, there's an interface that will work for anybody.
Another feature shared with the 7 Series is a remote self-parking function that can be operated from outside the car. (Tesla has a similar feature.) There's also a system to remotely operate the car's bird's eye surround-view function from your smartphone.
Front-seat occupants enjoy the same spacious accommodations as in the outgoing car, and there's more than an inch of additional legroom in the backseat. The optional multicontour seats come with touch-sensitive adjustment controls on the edge of the seat that, in turn, open the seat control menu on the central screen.
Cargo space increases a hair over last year's model, growing from 18.4 to 18.7 cubic feet. It was already an amply sized cargo hold, so the new car's trunk won't disappoint.
edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.