2017 BMW 5 Series First Impression

BMW unveiled the all-new 2017 5 Series sedan line that will begin rolling out of dealerships as early as February. A total of six powertrains will be offered: turbocharged four-, six-, and eight-cylinder engines, two diesels and a plug-in hybrid.

The styling of the new 5 Series isn't a huge departure from the current model, though BMW fans will likely be clued in by the new shapes of the standard LED head- and taillights. But appearances belie the work that's been put in here. Through the use of more aluminum and high-strength steel, BMW removed as much as 220 pounds from the new model. With less weight on board, its speed and fuel efficiency should increase.

Power, however, has increased across the board for the wide range of new powertrains. The 530i gets a new turbocharged four-cylinder putting out 252 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, while the midrange 540i is outfitted with BMW's silky turbocharged inline-six making 340 horsepower and 332 lb-ft of torque.

There are now two choices of fuel-efficient diesel engines that make a ton of low-end torque, which is great for off-the-line acceleration. The 520d model receives a turbocharged four-cylinder diesel (190 hp, 295 lb-ft), while the 530d outperforms the outgoing 535d model with its new turbocharged six-cylinder diesel engine (265 hp, 457 lb-ft).

Bookending the 5 Series lineup is a new 530e iPerformance plug-in hybrid model and twin-turbo V8 M550i xDrive. The 530e is a performance-oriented hybrid with a 9.2-kWh lithium battery and capable of traveling up to 31 miles and hitting a maximum speed of 87 mph on electric-only drive. Unlike the Chevrolet Volt, however, flooring the accelerator will cause the turbocharged 2.0-liter engine to kick on for more assistance. The hybrid-electric powertrain has a combined output of 252 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque, delivering a sufficiently sporty drive experience in the 530e.

That experience, however, will pale in comparison to the M550i xDrive, the 5 Series interim performance king (until the next M5). Its twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 makes 462 horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque, putting everything down through an xDrive all-wheel-drive system. Its eight-speed automatic transmission has been tuned to deliver quicker and crisper shifts when called upon by the steering-wheel-mounted paddles, with acceleration from 0 to 60 mph in 4 seconds or less. The M550i also rides on a sportier M suspension, lowered 10 millimeters, and lightweight 19-inch wheels. Both 530e and M550i receive model-specific design details, reflecting their respective characters.

Inside the 5 Series, rear legroom has been increased as has interior storage option (a typical shortcoming of BMW sedans). The latest iDrive infotainment system is offered with a high-res 10.3-inch touchscreen. Equipped with voice recognition and motion-sensing gesture control, drivers now have a ton of ways with which to execute commands. A new, full-color head-up display is 70 percent larger and can display information from traffic signs and navigation prompts to telephone info and music tracks. And, according to BMW, Apple CarPlay has been incorporated wirelessly for the first time in a production car.

Other intriguing details about the new 5 Series include the addition of a stereo camera, which when combined with radar and ultrasound sensors endow the 5 Series with new levels of active safety and autonomy. Some of the new features include Lane Change Assistant and lane keeping with active side collision protection, which applies steering corrections to avoid drifting out of your lane and colliding with a vehicle in an adjacent lane. The Active Cruise Control system adds Speed Limit Assist, which can take into account the posted road speed limits and allow the driver to specify how much under or over the limit they want to allow (plus or minus 9 mph). An optional Remote Parking function also allows your 5 Series to maneuver itself into a tight space as you stand outside of it using the key as a remote.

So if you liked the 2016 BMW 5 Series, chances are you won't find anything to dislike about this new one.

Edmunds news

See all car news