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Used BMW 5 Series For Sale

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2015 BMW 5 Series
36 photos

List: $28,885 save

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Expires Oct 31, 2017.

****UNLIMITED MILEAGE CPO WARRANTY!!!!****, ****Options Include:, Cinnamon Brown w/Dakota Leather Upholstery, CD player, Driver Assistance Package, Enhanced USB & Bluetooth Plus Smartphone Integration, Head-Up Display, Heated Front Seats, Instrument Cluster w/Extended Contents, Navigation System, Park Distance Control, Power Rear Sunshade (415), Power Rear Sunshade w/Manual Rr Side Window Shades, Rear-View Camera. To confirm availability please call us (571)933-8222!!! 34/23 Highway/City MPG Awards: * JD Power Initial Quality Study (IQS)

A One Owner AutoNation Certified 2014 BMW 5 Series has only 76,565 miles and has all the right options on it, passing through AutoNation's 125 point mechanical inspection it comes with a 90 day/ 4,000 miles limited warranty. Give us a call to come check it out at AutoNation Honda Dulles This vehicle includes a Money-Back Guarantee* and passed our precise inspection process. Best of all the price you see is the price you pay. No haggling. No back and forth. No pressure. And this price is so good it is guaranteed.*Money-Back Guarantee is valid for 5 days or 250 miles, whichever comes first. Subject to certain terms and conditions. See store for details. Some restrictions apply.

2014 BMW 5 Series
22 photos

List: $29,998 save

4WD/AWD,ABS Brakes,Air Conditioning,Alloy Wheels,AM/FM Stereo,Automatic Transmission,Auxiliary Audio Input,Bluetooth,CD Audio,Cold Weather Package,Cruise Control,Front Seat Heaters,Leather Seats,Memory Seat(s),Navigation System,Overhead Airbags,Parking Sensors,Power Liftgate/DeckLid,Power Locks,Power Mirrors,Power Seat(s),Power Windows,Premium Package,Rear Defroster,Rear Seat Heaters,Rear View Camera,Run Flat Tires,Satellite Radio Ready,Side Airbags,SiriusXM Trial Avail,Smart Key,Sunroof(s),Traction Control,Turbo Charged Engine Price excludes tax, title, tags and $299 CarMax processing fee (not required by law). Some fees are location specific and may change if you transfer this vehicle to a different CarMax store. Prior Use: Fleet

2014 BMW 5 Series 528i xDrive 4D Sedan Dark Blue AWD 2.0L I4 AWD.Easterns Automotive Group has sold used cars in the Maryland, DC, and Virginia communities for over 25 years and has sold over 100,000 certified used vehicles. Every Easterns vehicle has passed a rigorous Multi-Point Quality Certification and a 7-day return policy so you can buy with confidence.8-Speed Automatic 22/33mpg 33/22 Highway/City MPGEasterns operates an open inventory and any of our cars can be transferred and purchased from any location. Easterns has six convenient used car dealerships around Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia. Search our vast inventory of over 1000 cars and remember at Easterns Your Job Is Your Credit.

2014 BMW 5 Series
25 photos

List: $23,500 save

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Expires Oct 31, 2017.

2014 Black Sapphire BMW 5 Series 528i xDrive AWD CARFAX One-Owner. Original MSRP $58,650, Cinnamon Brown Dakota Leather, ABS brakes, Alloy wheels, Anti-whiplash front head restraints, Brake assist, Cold Weather Package, Comfort Access Keyless Entry, Dakota Leather Upholstery, Driver Assistance Package, Dual front impact airbags, Dual front side impact airbags, Electronic Stability Control, Front dual zone A/C, Head-Up Display, Heated door mirrors, Heated Front Seats, Heated Rear Seats, Heated Steering Wheel, Instrument Cluster w/Extended Contents, Navigation System, Occupant sensing airbag, Overhead airbag, Park Distance Control, Power adjustable front head restraints, Power driver seat, Power moonroof, Power Tailgate, Premium Package, Rain sensing wipers, Rear-View Camera, Retractable Headlight Washers, Satellite Radio, Turn signal indicator mirrors. Purchase with Confidence, The Moore Cadillac 5 / 30 Guarantee. If you don't like the vehicle for any reason simply return it within 5 days of purchase for a full refund. Still not certain? Within 30 days we'll credit the purchase price against any in stock vehicle. See guarantee guidelines for details and disclaimer.

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List: $12,699 save

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Expires Oct 31, 2017.

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81,710 mi
2011 BMW 5 Series
36 photos
STOP! Read this! Get ready to ENJOY! When was the last time you smiled as you turned the ignition key? Feel it again with this wonderful-looking 2011 BMW 5 Series. This fantastic 5 Series is the car with everything you'd expect from BMW, and THEN some. The 5-Series was on Car and Driver magazine's annual Ten Best list for six years straight. New Car Test Drive said, ...always a strong choice for buyers who want vigorous acceleration and crisp handling, but not the limited interior space of the 3 Series, nor the girth, weight and fee-fye-foe-fum price of the 7 Series... All prices exclude taxes, title, license, and dealer processing fee of $699.00. Published price subject to change without notice to correct errors or omissions or in the event of inventory fluctuations. All features not on all vehicles. Vehicles shown are for illustration purposes only. MPG is based on 2017 EPA mileage ratings. Use for comparison purposes only. Your actual mileage will vary, depending on how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, battery pack age/condition (hybrid only), and other factors.

2013 BMW 5 Series
40 photos

List: $28,994 save

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Expires Oct 31, 2017.

1 OWNER, CLEAN CARFAX and MOONROOF. Cold Weather Package (Heated Front Seats, Heated Rear Seats, Heated Steering Wheel, and Retractable Headlight Washers) and Navigation System. BUY WITH CONFIDENCE at SHEEHY INFINITI of Tysons. Don't pay too much for the outstanding car you want...Come on down and take a look at this stunning 2013 BMW 5 Series. This great BMW is one of the most sought after used vehicles on the market because it NEVER lets owners down. The JB car pages have awarded the BMW 5-Series a best-in-class 4 1/2 star rating. DON'T MISS OUT, CALL BRENT OR NEIL @ 703- 556-6900.

2013 BMW 5 Series
31 photos

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This beauty was purchased brand new from BMW by USAL. It was then sent out on a 3 year lease being very well maintained. If you are looking for a gorgeous sedan with all the bells and whistles this is the vehicle for you. Included in this 535i is the Cold Weather Package Driver Assistance Package w/ Driver Assistance Plus Luxury Seating Package M Sport Package Premium Package and the Technology Package. Along with the AWD there isn't much else you can do to make this a better ride. This one wont last long!Visit USAL Services online at to see more pictures of this vehicle or call us at 703-716-0137 today to schedule your test drive.USAL makes every effort to provide accurate information but please verify options and pricing before purchase. All vehicles are subject to prior sale. All financing is subject to credit approval. All prices exclude tax tags and a processing fee of $299.00.


Introducing the 2008 BMW 535i! You'll appreciate its safety and convenience features! The engine breathes better thanks to a turbocharger, improving both performance and economy. This 4 door, 5 passenger sedan just recently passed the 60,000 mile mark! BMW infused the interior with top shelf amenities, such as: power front seats, power moon roof, and cruise control. Under the hood you'll find a 6 cylinder engine with more than 300 horsepower, and for added security, dynamic Stability Control supplements the drivetrain. We have the vehicle you've been searching for at a price you can afford. Please don't hesitate to give us a call. BUY WITH CONFIDENCE: - Lowest Prices Every Day: Our market based WOW pricing utilizes competitive market pricing guides, no games. So it is easy to make an educated, hassle -free purchase from us. Many of our competitors add freight, reconditioning or certification fees to their price quotes. Your WOW price has no hidden charges. Just add tags, taxes and processing fee. - Complimentary CARFAX Vehicle History Report - 7 Day Exchange Policy: This policy simply states if you are not completely satisfied with your vehicle purchase, bring it back to us for a full credit towards your next vehicle, no questions asked! RECALL NOTICE: Some vehicles may be subject to manufacturer safety recalls that for various reasons may not be repaired prior to sale. You may also check for open recalls at

2011 BMW 5 Series
35 photos

List: $16,777 save

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5 Series Nice Car BUY WITH CONFIDENCE: - Lowest Prices Every Day: Our market based WOW pricing utilizes competitive market pricing guides, no games. So it is easy to make an educated, hassle -free purchase from us. Many of our competitors add freight, reconditioning or certification fees to their price quotes. Your WOW price has no hidden charges. Just add tags, taxes and processing fee. - Complimentary CARFAX Vehicle History Report - 7 Day Exchange Policy: This policy simply states if you are not completely satisfied with your vehicle purchase, bring it back to us for a full credit towards your next vehicle, no questions asked! RECALL NOTICE: Some vehicles may be subject to manufacturer safety recalls that for various reasons may not be repaired prior to sale. You may also check for open recalls at

2007 BMW 5 Series
31 photos

List: $9,965 save

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Expires Oct 31, 2017.

WOW HERE IS A SUPER SOUGHT AFTER 5 SERIES BMW ALL WHEEL DRIVE EXCELLENT RELIABILITY TRACK RECORDS. A MUST SEE AND OWN **ONE OWNER** 530XI WITH SUPER LOW MILES AND IN EXCELLENT CONDITION INSIDE OUT LOADED WITH; **PREMIUM PACKAGE** **COLD WEATHER PACKAGE** **XENON HEAD LIGHTS** **PREMIUM SOUND SYSTEM** AND MORE. VA INSPECTED CARFAX CERTIFIED SERVICED ALL ITS LIFE WITH **29 SERVICE RECORDS** AND BACKED BY WARRANTY AT OUR ASKING PRICE PLUS $395 PROCESSING FEE. Open Mon-Sat 10:00 to 7:30 PM and Sun. 12:00 to 4:00 PM. Internet Prices are based on cash or cashier's check. Our Internet price does not include a $395 Processing fee Tags title and FINANCE FEES!Information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Interested parties should confirm all data before relying on it to make a purchase decision. All prices and specifications are subject to change without notice. Prices may not include additional fees such as government fees and taxes title and registration fees finance charges dealer document preparation fees processing fees and emission testing and compliance charges. Internet special price may not be compatible with dealer sponsored or subsidized subprime financing.

2012 BMW 5 Series
36 photos

List: $20,980 save

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Expires Oct 31, 2017.

Immaculate 2012 BMW 535xi AWD with SPORT/PREMIUM TECH CONVENIENCE Packages. Completely loaded with all power options, lane change assist, rear camera, sport alloy wheels, front and rear heated leather seats, adaptive xenon headlamps with fog lights, traction control, iPod integration, handsfree Bluetooth connectivity and BLUETOOTH AUDIO. GPS NAVIGATION system with voice command and real time traffic. Sport leather seats, sport body kit and upgraded sport suspension. Heated leather steering wheel as part of the COLD WEATHER PACKAGE. Too many options to list. This ALL WHEEL DRIVE 535xi is absolutely spotless--not a ding or scratch. Interior is like new. Fully serviced and inspected. Call to reserve today!!! ***FINANCING AVAILABLE***

2008 BMW 5 Series
32 photos

List: $9,977 save

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Expires Oct 31, 2017.

116,069 mi
2008 BMW 5 Series
36 photos

List: $8,995 save

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2009 BMW 5 Series
21 photos

List: $11,850 save

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Expires Oct 31, 2017.

* CARFAX CERTIFIED * LOCALLY OWNED * EXTRA CLEAN * RUNS LIKE NEW * Why pay higher prices when you can buy directly from us with our no HASSLE and HAGGLE free pricing?? Our prices are competitive in the market and compete or beat other dealerships. The buying experience with Fairfax Motors is the best! Fairfax Motors is family owned and operated in Fairfax, Virginia offering cars for sale and buying services to the DMV area for 24 years. Our owner has built successful and long term relationships with our customers with them returning to purchase cars from us time and time again. Our entire staff offers transparency with each customer from our knowledgeable sales staff to our dynamic managers and all the way to our very experienced Finance Director who has been in the business for 40 years! We offer Finance and Extended Warranty options, plus detailing services to keep your car looking beautiful. We need your cars to fill out inventory, so we take all trades and buy cars too! Stop dreading the car buying process and start having fun! Still aren't sure? Our customers love to show us love and share their buying experience with the world. Come see us at Fairfax Motors for your next vehicle purchase.

2003 BMW 5 Series
29 photos

List: $4,481 save

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*YOU CAN NOT FINANCE THIS CAR.THIS CAR IS BEING SOLD 'AS IS'THIS CAR DOES NOT PASS Virginia State Inspection, and may or may NOT pass Virginia State Emissions.The car is being sold in the condition that it sits, and no repairs will be made to the car by the dealer. All repairs and State Inspections will be the responsibility of the new owner, regardless of any oral statements made. Test drives are not allowed. You may start the car, and put it in drive and reverse only. We will do our best to describe the car in the condition it is currently in, but there may be issues/problems/damages with the car that are not listed. It is up to you to determine the condition and functionality of the car. YOU CAN NOT FINANCE THIS CAR.**KNOWN Inspection Issues: ***Wipers torn -- fails VA insp.***Power steering rack - leaking -- fails VA insp.***Crack in RR taillight -- fails VA insp.***Check engine light on -- Fails Emissions**-Thermostat fault -- o2 sensor fault***Rear diff seals -- leaking - small***Oil pan gasket - leaking***Driver seat switch -- doesn't adjust***Coolant expansion tank -- needs secured*

page 1 of 61

Used BMW 5 Series History

Naming any car the very best one in the whole world is an exercise fraught with peril. In some contexts car "A" is perfect while car "B" is ludicrously inadequate, and in other situations it's exactly the opposite. The fastest cars usually can't carry your family to Disney World and minivans aren't likely to win many races. But virtually every esteemed commentator, media organization or drunken bar patron who's ever dared name one vehicle the best the planet has to offer has had BMW's 5 Series on the short list for consideration.

The 5 Series has, in its structure, form, performance and overall excellence, been the archetypical sport sedan for more than 30 years. It's the bogey against which every other sport sedan must be measured and the car that pushed BMW beyond the niche it secured with the much smaller 1600, 2002 and 3 Series. And every time BMW redesigns the 5 Series, it risks destroying all that.

Before the 5

In many ways the 5 Series development parallels that of the 3 Series with both tracing their heritage to the "Neue Klasse" (New Class) midsize car that went on sale in the U.S. in 1962 as the 1500 four-door sedan. The New Class was the first modern BMW. It had state-of-the-art features like a unibody structure, MacPherson strut front and independent rear suspension and an 80-horsepower, SOHC 1.5-liter four in its nose. The wildly popular New Class did nothing less than save BMW.

Evolution of the New Class split, however, with the introduction of the 1600-2 two-door model in 1966. With a two-inch-shorter wheelbase, two fewer doors and less weight than other New Class models, the two-door model performed better even if it was slightly compromised in utility. When the two-door's engine grew to two liters in displacement during 1968, the model's name became "2002" and that evolutionary branch would eventually lead to the 3 Series.

Meanwhile the four-door New Class sedans continued in production with their four-cylinder engines also growing eventually to 2.0 liters and 100 hp in 1966's 2000 sedan. Then in 1968 BMW introduced their large sedan, powered by a new range of inline six-cylinder engines and sold as the 2500 when equipped with a 2.5-liter version of the six and the 2800 with a 2.8-liter displacement.

By the early 1970s, the New Class cars were obviously aging and the two-door 2002 was an established hit. It was time to replace the New Class four-doors, and BMW decided to make the replacement significantly larger than the 2002 to distinguish it in the marketplace and open a new niche for BMW. The trick would be doing that while not impinging on the niche established by the E21.

That successor would be the 5 Series.

First Generation (1972-1981): The E12

The first 5 Series wasn't really much smaller than the "big" E21 model sold alongside it. With a 103.8-inch wheelbase and 181.9-inch overall length, the 1972 520 was a significant 4.7 inches longer than the 2000 sedan it replaced (and only 3.1 inches less lengthy than the European-model 3.0S version of their large sedan). Considering that the only engine offered in the 5 Series during that first year of production, a 2.0-liter four making 115 hp breathing through a carburetor in the 520 or 125 hp when ingesting atmosphere through a fuel-injection system in the 520i, the first 5 was underpowered. And, wisely, BMW concluded it wasn't an appropriate vehicle to market in America in that form.

The basic elements of the first 5 Series weren't exotic. As in the New Class, the front suspension was a pair of simple MacPherson struts while the independent rear was supported by a set of semi-trailing arms. The unibody structure was impressively taut, the four-wheel disc brakes were effective and it was probably the quietest and most refined BMW that had yet been built.

But the first 5 Series still carried with it a slew of innovations for BMW. For starters, it was the first vehicle to use the present-day naming scheme (series number followed by two numbers indicating engine displacement). Second, it was the first BMW designed to accommodate any of the company's four- or six-cylinder engines (the first six-cylinder 5, the 2.5-liter 525, appeared in Europe for the 1973 model year). Third, it was a simpler and cheaper car to build than other BMWs, and that made it tremendously profitable. Fourth, despite its economical construction, it was a leap forward in refinement and sophistication. And fifth, it was a much more contemporary design than previous BMW sedans, which was an enormous help in shedding the company's heretofore dowdy image through the '70s.

BMW finally brought the 5 Series to America for the 1975 model year when the 3.0Si's SOHC, 3.0-liter, straight six was installed to produce the 530i. The 530i was designed for America, and the big engine was particularly needed over here because of the then-new emissions regulations that were strangling engine outputs (the '75 model year was the first in which most new cars were equipped with catalytic converters — though the 530i itself managed to get by without one). By mid-1970s standards, the 530i's 176 hp was startling for a 3.0-liter engine — that same year the Cadillac Eldorado's 8.2-liter V8 was rated at just 190 hp and the most powerful 5.7-liter V8 offered in the Chevrolet Camaro made just 155 horses.

Beyond its exemplary output, the 530i's six was silken and delivered its torque in an elegant, unbroken ribbon, and the Getrag four-speed manual transmission behind it was nearly as sweet (the optional three-speed automatic wasn't so enchanting). With so many other new cars then out there gagging on their emissions gear, wallowing on Conestoga-era suspension and wearing garish vinyl roofs and opera windows, the 530i was a paragon of performance, composure and good taste. Road & Track spurred one 530i to 60 mph in 10.2 seconds and Motor Trend measured one doing the same trick in 9.7 seconds. That's performance pretty close to the European market's 528 model that used a 2.8-liter version of the straight six but didn't carry America's oversize bumpers and emissions equipment. It was all enough to make the car's $9,097 base price seem absolutely reasonable.

The 530i was an instant hit, and consequently, BMW didn't mess with it for 1976. A slight restyling came with the 1977 model year that made the front grille's distinctive twin kidney center taller and more prominent leading to a new narrow raised center along the hood. The taillights were also redesigned and made larger. Those changes were enough to carry the car through 1978 as well.

BMW brought the 2.8-liter inline six over to America's 5 Series as a replacement for the 3.0-liter to create the 1979 528i for the American market. While BMW rated the 2.8-liter motor at 169 hp, the use of a catalytic converter, other new emissions technologies and a new five-speed manual transmission actually improved drivability, fuel economy and performance. Road & Track even got one 528i to 60 mph in just 8.2 seconds.

Though it never came to the United States, BMW produced one of the most significant 5 Series models ever during '79. The M535i was the first product of the BMW Motorsport division to reach consumers and featured a large-bore/short-stroke version of straight six displacing 3.5 liters and making 218 hp. Available only in Europe and only backed by a close-coupled five-speed manual transmission, the M535i was the prototype for all the glorious M cars to follow — M1, M3, M5 and M6. It's also easily the most desirable of all the original E12 5 Series cars.

There were few changes to the 1980 528i and even fewer for 1981. But it was time for the 5 to evolve.

Second Generation (1982-1988): The E28

Following a car as successful as the first 5 Series is always daunting, so it's understandable why BMW's first redesign of the car was very conservative. To many it was even tough to tell much difference between the new E28 5 Series and the old E12. The E28's windshield, roof and doors, for example, either carried over directly from the E12 or were only lightly modified. The most obvious change was to the car's rear third where the fenders and trunk lid stood high rather than drooping as in the E12. But the nose was also thoroughly changed with a new hood that didn't wrap over into the fenders (as it did on the E12) and a more aerodynamic grille.

Though the redesign was strictly evolutionary on the outside, there were substantial changes beneath the E28's skin. The use of new materials and advanced construction techniques dropped somewhere between 132 and 200 pounds (depending on the model). The inside of the car was redesigned to be more ergonomically efficient and safer by reducing the number of protruding bits and increasing the use of padding. Finally, there were new electronic systems like a service interval indicator and an optional antilock braking system.

The E28's suspension was an evolutionary step forward from the E12. The front struts now incorporated a double pivot universal joint and angled coil springs. The rear suspension used a transverse link with much better geometry than before. And the car's 103.3-inch wheelbase was a half-inch shorter than the E12's.

But the biggest change for American-bound E28s was the new 2.7-liter "eta" engine. Installed in the new 528e (BMW wasn't going to lose sales just to accurately reflect the drop in displacement in the car's name) that replaced the 528i, the eta inline-six was pretty much a miserable lump of metal. The high-compression eta had a low redline in order to ensure good fuel economy — not good fun. In fact, it was no fun at all. Rated at just 121 hp, it was an engine seriously strained by the 5 Series' 2,960 pounds of bulk and transmission gearing aimed at eking extra distance from every drop of gas. The 528e was the only E28 sold in America initially so it was tough to appreciate the new car's improved chassis with such compromised power production. The lousy eta engine was backed by either a sweet five-speed manual or a three-speed automatic transmission.

Virtually no changes were made to the 528e for 1983, but a new 533i sedan powered by a 3.2-liter version of the six-cylinder engine was now available offering a strong 181 hp. Besides a greatly appreciated increase in power, the 533i offered a tauter suspension, rode on Michelin TRX tires mounted on wheels with an unusual 390-millimeter diameter and came standard with antilock brakes.

A four-speed automatic transmission was added to the options list for both the 528e and 533i in 1984, but other changes were scant. However, in Europe the first of the mighty M5s went on sale. Equipped with the DOHC, 24-valve, 3.5-liter Motorsports version of the BMW straight six, the M5 was an instant legend. And with a full 286 hp available, it was quick enough to even outrun that legend. But it wouldn't make it to America until four years later.

The 1985 model year brought with it a third 5 Series model for the American market and the biggest engine yet offered here. The big engine was a new 3.4-liter, 182-hp version of the SOHC six installed in the 535i, which replaced the 533i. The new model was the 524td, which put a 2.4-liter, turbocharged, diesel inline six under the 5's hood. Saddled with a mandatory four-speed automatic transmission and getting just 114 hp from its oil-burning power plant, the 524td was easily the slowest BMW 5 Series yet. BMW also sold some of the same turbodiesel sixes to Ford for installation in the Lincoln Mark VII and Continental.

Antilock brakes became standard equipment on the 528e and 524td for 1986, but other changes were few. The diesel 5 Series vanished before the beginning of the 1987 model year, but a new 535iS model appeared at the top of the range wearing a front air dam and rear spoiler. No more powerful than the 535i, the 535iS wasn't quite intimidating. But it paved the way for the intimidation that was to follow.

There were practically no changes to the 528e, 535i or 535iS for 1988 and really, who cared? The big news was that the M5 finally made it to America that year with so much performance it blew right past everyone's expectations of what a sport sedan could be. But it wasn't quite the full-throated, 315-hp beast then being sold in Europe under the same name. American emissions requirement sucked the 3.5-liter, DOHC, 24-valve six's output down to 256 hp. But for wealthy, performance-starved Americans, any taste of M5 goodness was greatly appreciated.

By the late 1980s, the E28 was looking distinctly old-fashioned. It was time for the 5 Series to take a big step forward.

Third Generation (1989-1996): The E34

The third-generation 5 Series, designated E34 within BMW, was truly an all-new vehicle. The 1989 5 rode on a longer 108.7-inch wheelbase, had an all-new structure with an all-new suspension, was significantly roomier than before and was a leap forward in sophistication, refinement, performance and overall comfort. As good as the E12 and E28 5 Series cars were, it was the E34 that propelled the line to the forefront of critics' minds. This is the machine that people took seriously as a contender for the title "World's Best Car."

Much of the E34's structure and components were proved first on the new 7 Series large sedan introduced for the '88 model year. That included the revised MacPherson strut front suspension and the all-new independent multilink rear suspension. Most impressive about all this was how the new E34 took the solidity and poise of the 7 Series and translated down to a more manageable size while simultaneously increasing agility. The E34 featured all the impregnable qualities of the 7 combined with the cut-and-thrust athleticism of the 3 Series. It was in every way impressive.

It was also good-looking. Braking from the slab-sided tradition of its ancestors, the E34's flanks were gently curved and quite aerodynamic with a drag coefficient between 0.30 and 0.32 cd (depending on the model). There was some hint of previous 5s in the shape of the new car's side windows, but otherwise this car was aggressively new.

All new as it was, the E34 arrived in America powered by slight variations of familiar drivetrains. The 525i used a 2.5-liter version of BMW's small SOHC straight six making 168 hp, while the 535i used a 3.5-liter version of the big SOHC six rated at 204 hp. While Europe got a new E34-based M5, it wasn't initially offered in America.

A driver-side airbag became standard on all 1990 BMWs, but otherwise changes to the 5 Series were minimal. Automatic Stability Control (ASC) was added to the 535i's options list during the year, however.

The M5 returned to America during the 1991 model year with its 3.6-liter, DOHC, 24-valve Motorsport six now whacking out a full 310 hp. Available only with a five-speed manual transmission, the M5 was again a sensation despite the fact that it wore a set of the ugliest 17-inch wheels ever made.

A second cam and another 12 valves were added to the 525i's 2.5-liter six for 1992, which raised its output to 189 hp. Buyers could also finally get a 5 Series station wagon during 1992 with the introduction of the 525i Touring. However, while Europe could get 535i and eventually M5 versions of the wagon, Americans were restricted to the modest 525i.

The M5 finally got some attractive wheels for 1993 and new aerodynamically styled side mirrors to go with them. But the 5 Series status quo was otherwise maintained.

A pair of engines debuted for 1994. In a stunning development, the 535i was replaced during the 1993 model year with a new 530i model powered by a new 3.0-liter, DOHC, 32-valve V8. Additionally, BMW offered a new 540i powered by a 4.0-liter version of the same bent engine. The new 530i had 215 hp available to it and was available in both the sedan and Touring wagon. The 540i's V8 knocked out an impressive 282 hp and attracted some buyers who might have otherwise considered an M5 — though the 540i was originally available only with a new five-speed automatic transmission. In fact, the M5 was, once again, gone from the lineup.

All 5 Series got revised front fascias for 1995, and the 540i was now available matched to a six-speed manual transmission and a lowered, Motorsport-tuned suspension with 17-inch wheels and tires. Was it a good substitute for the missing M5? It wasn't bad at all.

Technically, there were no 1996 5 Series cars offered in America, as sales of the 1995 models continued into May of 1996. Obviously, there was another new 5 on the way.

Fourth Generation (1997-2003): The E39

Much as the E28 evolved from the E12, BMW's new E39 5 Series was a refined expression of the ideas embodied by the E34. Slightly larger in virtually every dimension and riding on a 111.4-inch wheelbase, the greatest innovation of the new 5 Series lay in its suspension where most of the links and elements were now cast of lightweight alloys instead of steel. Combine that dramatic reduction in unsprung weight with the adoption of rack-and-pinion steering and the result was a more responsive chassis than ever before.

In Europe there were no longer any four-cylinder 5 Series cars offered, while in America the 5 Series offerings dwindled to just the six-cylinder 528i and the V8-powered 540i sedan for 1997. With 190 hp on tap and five gears aboard either its manual or automatic transmissions, the 528i was a solid performing machine despite its position as the entry-level 5. The 540i, on the other hand, now had a full 282 hp that was lashed either to five-speed automatic or six-speed manual transmissions after a displacement bump to 4.4 liters (a change not reflected in the car's name). The six-speed included a "Sport" package of an aggressive suspension and oversize wheels and tires to produce something nearly M5ish in nature.

Side curtain airbags became standard equipment on all 1998 5s, and the sport suspension and wheels were offered on the automatic-equipped 540i, but otherwise the E39s appeared to carry over from their inaugural season. The station wagon (now called "Sport Wagons") returned to the lineup for 1999 in both 528i and 540i forms. Also new that year on the 528i was an aluminum cylinder block and a variable timing system that increased output to 193 hp. The 540i's V8 also got variable valve timing, though output remained unchanged at 282 hp.

Back with a vengeance for 2000 was the M5 now powered by a new Motorsport version of the V8 displacing 5.0 liters and stroking out a thrilling 394 hp. Available only with a six-speed manual transmission, the new M5 was simply the quickest production four-door sedan in BMW's — or any other manufacturer's — history up to that time. Crouching on 18-inch wheels with a deep front air dam, the M5 had sinister looks to go with its aggressive personality and towering performance. The latest M5 was as luxurious as a Cadillac, as quick as a C5 Corvette and as agile as a 3 Series sedan. The other 5s went through the year unchanged.

For 2001, the 528i grew into a 530i with a new 3.0-liter version of the six now making 225 hp. A new 525i, with a 2.5-liter version of the six now rated at 184 hp, also joined the lineup. The 525i, 530i and 540i were all available as either a sedan or wagon. The M5 was still available only as a sedan.

Minor changes occurred for 2002, among them more standard equipment for the 525i (including a CD player and power seats) and an increase in output for the 540's V8, which now made 290 hp.

The last year of this highly respected generation of 5s would be 2003. Among the minor changes was a new sport package for the 540i (standard on the manual-shift sedan, optional on other 540s) with 18-inch wheels, a revised sport suspension and various cosmetic upgrades. Also, BMW's outdated CD-based navigation system was replaced by a DVD-based system. Otherwise, this family of top-shelf sedans and wagons stood pat as BMW prepared another all-new 5 Series for 2004. Could the German carmaker possibly top itself again?

Fifth Generation (2004-Present): The E60

The all-new 5 Series 2004 is an all-new car that demands attention not just for its mechanical competence but also for some of its adoption of controversial technology and radical new looks.

"In terms of overall philosophy," wrote our editor in chief, "the largest shift from the previous model comes in the form of technology. Several items are pulled directly from the recently redesigned 7 Series, including iDrive, Active Roll Stabilization (ARS), Active Cruise Control (ACC), Park Distance Control (PDC) and a Harmon Kardon Logic7 sound system — though only iDrive is standard on all 5 Series models." But the most intriguing new technology was "Active Front Steering" (AFS), an exclusive to the 5 Series which varies the steering ratio all the way between 10-to-1 and 20-to-1, depending on vehicle speed.

Again the new 5 Series has grown over its ancestors. Now riding on a 113.7-inch wheelbase and stretching out 190.6 inches in overall length, the new 5 Series is easily the roomiest 5 yet. But yet again, BMW has managed that swelling in size so well that it hardly affects the driving experience at all; this car is just as agile as any previous 5.

The basic lineup of the new 5 Series is unchanged from before, though the wagons won't be along until the 2005 model year. There's still a 525i and 530i with BMW's familiar straight sixes aboard, and the new 545i uses the same 4.4-liter engine as the 540i did, but recognizes the displacement in its name — and then some. The 2.5-liter six is still rated at 184 hp, the 3.0-liter six makes 225 horses and the revised 4.4-liter V8 now makes a stunning 325 hp. New six-speed manual and automatic transmissions are offered with each engine with manual "Steptronic" shifting on the automatic and the exotic "Sequential Manual Gearbox" (SMG) available with the manual transmission.

Early in its life the E60 5 Series has earned raves for its performance and some derision for its flamboyant styling and frustrating iDrive control system. Only time — and the imminent appearance of a V10-powered, 500-hp M5 — will tell if this 5 earns a place alongside its progenitors in the pantheon of great BMWs.

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