The 2018 BMW 5 Series lives up to the expectations set by its forebears. There's an engine for nearly every taste, and the car's handling capabilities are fundamentally sound. Factor in the 5 Series' latest tech and safety features, and you've got a prime pick for a midsize luxury sedan.
BMW redesigned its 5 Series last year, giving the car updated styling and a bit more interior room without increasing weight. This year brings more changes, too. The 2018 5 Series has three new powertrain options: a plug-in hybrid (530e), a six-cylinder diesel engine (540d) and a twin-turbo V8 (M550i) that puts the car very close to BMW M5 territory. We were already fans of the base 530i and the 540i, so these additions carry an added benefit, whether it be the efficiency of the 530e and the 540d or the muscular power of the M550i.
On the technology front, BMW continues to push the envelope, offering wireless Apple CarPlay integration, natural language voice recognition, and even a cool 3-D simulation of your car from the outside (you have to see to believe) by using the optional surround-view cameras. And as far as modern driver assist aids go, BMW's are among the best.
Of course, there are other luxury sedans you should consider, including the Audi A6, the Lexus GS and the Mercedes-Benz E-Class. We think highly of the 5 Series within this group, though, and it earns a solid recommendation.
trim levels & features
The 2018 BMW 5 Series is a five-passenger sedan available in five trim levels, all with different powertrains. The 530i (248 horsepower, 258 pound-feet of torque) and the 530e iPerformance plug-in hybrid (248 hp, 310 lb-ft) are powered by variants of BMW's turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. Next are two six-cylinders: The 540i (335 hp, 332 lb-ft) gets a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six, and the 540d (261 hp, 457 lb-ft) has a 3.0-liter inline-six diesel. At the top of the range is the M550i with its turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 (456 hp, 480 lb-ft). BMW's all-wheel drive, called xDrive, is an option on the 530i, the 530e and the 540i. It's standard on the 540d and the M550i. An eight-speed automatic is standard across the board.
The base 530i and the 530e come pretty nicely equipped from the start with LED adaptive headlights, 18-inch wheels, and driver-selectable vehicle settings to alter steering, transmission response and throttle calibration. They also include power-folding and heated mirrors (the driver's side has auto dimming), automatic wipers, a sunroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, a power-adjustable steering wheel, power-adjustable front sport seats, driver-seat memory functions, a 40/20/40-split folding rear seat and simulated leather upholstery.
Standard technology features include the iDrive interface, with a knob and button-based touchpad controller and a 10.2-inch touchscreen display. Also standard: a navigation system, natural-language voice controls, Bluetooth, BMW emergency services, two USB ports, and a 12-speaker sound system with a CD player.
The 540i and the diesel-powered 540d are equipped very similarly to the previous two trims but have standard leather upholstery.
It's a bigger price jump to the new performance-focused M550i xDrive, which includes everything above plus 19-inch wheels with performance tires, an adaptive suspension with electronically controlled dampers, upgraded brakes, full LED adaptive headlights with automatic high beams, aerodynamic bodywork, a rear spoiler, upgraded power front seats, an M Sport steering wheel, keyless entry and a power trunklid.
With the exception of the M550i xDrive, after you decided what powertrain you want, you can select from one of three 5 Series styling packages. The Sport is the default choice and comes with gloss-black design elements on the bumpers. The Luxury style features chrome accents from the front grille to the rear tailpipes, with light alloy wheels and modified bumper inserts to match. The M Sport steps up the sportiness with an aerodynamic style treatment, a lower M Sport suspension, and Shadowline exterior trim.
From this point, BMW offers a variety of packages, or "tiers'' in BMW lingo. The Premium package adds a power trunk, keyless ignition and entry, satellite radio, gesture control and heated front seats. Go with the Executive package to get full LED adaptive headlights with automatic high beams, soft-close automatic doors, parking sensors, an automatic parking system, a dynamic digital instrument cluster, and a surround-view camera system with 3-D mode.
Naturally, more customization is available. The Dynamic Handling package includes an adaptive suspension and active roll stabilization. For the M550i, which comes with the adaptive suspension, you also get Integral Active Steering, which is a rear-steer system. A Luxury Seating package bundles ventilated multicontour front seats with massage function and upgraded leather upholstery.
The Driving Assistance package has two levels, the first of which includes a head-up display, blind-spot monitoring and lane departure warning. Upgrading to the Driving Assistance Plus version also gets you forward collision warning with object and pedestrian protection, adaptive cruise control and lane keeping assist.
Many of these features can be equipped as stand-alone options alongside Apple CarPlay, remote control parking, night vision with pedestrian detection, a heated steering wheel, a rear-seat entertainment system, Harman Kardon or Bowers & Wilkins premium audio systems, wireless smartphone charging and ceramic-trimmed controls.
noise & vibration
ease of use
getting in/getting out
child safety seat accomodation
audio & navigation
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.