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Used BMW 5 Series For Sale

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2015 BMW 5 Series
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****UNLIMITED MILEAGE CPO WARRANTY!!!!****, ****Options Include:, AWD, Black w/Nappa Leather Upholstery, 19 x 8.5 Fr & 19 x 9.0 Rr (Style 351M) Wheels, Active Blind Spot Detection, Active Driving Assistant, Aerodynamic Kit, Aluminum Hexagon Interior Trim, Anthracite Headliner, Cold Weather Package, Comfort Access Keyless Entry, Driver Assistance Package, Driver Assistance Plus, Enhanced USB & Bluetooth w/Smartphone Integration, Harman Kardon Surround Sound System, Head-Up Display, Heated Front Seats, Heated Rear Seats, Heated Steering Wheel, Increased Top Speed Limiter, Instrument Cluster w/Extended Contents, M Sport, M Sport Package, M Steering Wheel, Navigation System, Park Distance Control, Power Tailgate, Premium Package, Rear-View Camera, Retractable Headlight Washers, Satellite Radio, Shadowline Exterior Trim, Side & Top View Cameras, Speed Limit Info, Without Lines Designation Outside. To confirm availability please call us (571)933-8222!!!

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. A AutoNation Certified 2011 BMW 5 Series has only 58,348 miles and has all the right options on it like Navigation and Back-up Camera, after passing through AutoNation's 125 point mechanical inspection it comes with a 90 day/ 4,000 mile limited warranty. Give us a call to come check it out at AutoNation Honda Dulles *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.

2011 BMW 5 Series
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List: $17,995 save

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Expires Sep 30, 2017.

2014 BMW 5 Series
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List: $26,998 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.

2014 BMW 5 Series
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List: $27,890 save

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2014 BMW 5 Series 535i xDrive 4D Sedan Dark Gray AWD 3.0L I6 DOHC 24V TwinPower Turbo AWD, Leather. CARFAX One-Owner. Clean CARFAX.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 20/29mpg 29/20 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
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List: $24,000 save

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Expires Sep 30, 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.

2014 BMW 5 Series
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List: $27,675 save

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Expires Sep 30, 2017.

2014 BMW 5 Series 535d xDrive in White, ACCIDENT-FREE CARFAX!, BLUETOOTH!, NAVIGATION!, ONE OWNER!, And SUNROOF / MOONROOF!. Cold Weather Package (Heated Front Seats, Heated Rear Seats, Heated Steering Wheel, and Retractable Headlight Washers), Driver Assistance Package (Head-Up Display, Instrument Cluster w/Extended Contents, Park Distance Control, and Rear-View Camera), Premium Package (Comfort Access Keyless Entry, Power Tailgate, and Satellite Radio), 4D Sedan, 3.0L I6 DOHC 24V, AWD, White, and Cinnamon Brown w/Dakota Leather Upholstery. Are you looking for a bargain that doesn't look like a bargain? If so, look no further than this fantastic 2014 BMW 5 Series. Such a refined car, with a gas-saving powerplant, does not come up for grabs very often, so you better act fast. SHEEHY SELECT CERTIFIED VEHICLE! ALL SHEEHY SELECT VEHICLES COME WITH A 60 DAY OR 2,000 MILES POWERTRAIN WARRANTY!

**M SPORT PACKAGE** NAVIGATION** BANG & OLUFSEN PREMIUM AUDIO** DRIVER ASSIST PLUS PACKAGE** BLIND SPOT MONITOR** COLD WEATHER PACKAGE** BACK UP CAMERA** LIGHTING PACKAGE** MAINTENANCE PACKAGE GOOD TILL 10/4/19 OR 100K MILES** AND MUCH MORE** CALL TO SCHEDULE YOUR TEST DRIVE TODAY** Cold Weather Package (Heated Front Seats, Heated Rear Seats, Heated Steering Wheel, and Retractable Headlight Washers), Driver Assistance Plus (Active Blind Spot Detection, Active Driving Assistant, Side & Top View Cameras, and Speed Limit Info), Lighting Package (Adaptive Full LED Lights and Automatic High Beams), M Sport Package, Aerodynamic Kit, Aluminum Hexagon Interior Trim, Anthracite Headliner, Increased Top Speed Limiter, LED Fog Lights, M Sport, M Sport Suspension, M Steering Wheel, Navigation System, Shadowline Exterior Trim, and Without Lines Designation Outside. Be the talk of the town when you roll down the street in this good-looking 2014 BMW 5 Series. This outstanding BMW is one of the most sought after used vehicles on the market because it NEVER lets owners down.

INCLUDES WARRANTY, CLEAN CARFAX...NO ACCIDENTS!, And RECENT HYUNDAI OF CHANTILLY TRADE IN. Luxury Seating Package (Active Front Seats, Front Ventilated Seats, and Multi-Contour Seats), Premium Package (Comfort Access Keyless Entry, Power Tailgate, and Satellite Radio), Sport Package (Anthracite Headliner, Dynamic Damper Control, Increased Top Speed Limiter, Shadowline Exterior Trim, and Sports Leather Steering Wheel), 10 Speakers, 18 x 8.0 Streamline (Style 364) Wheels, AM/FM radio, Auto tilt-away steering wheel, Auto-dimming door mirrors, Auto-dimming Rear-View mirror, BMW Apps, CD player, Front dual zone A/C, Front fog lights, Fully automatic headlights, Garage door transmitter, Genuine wood console insert, Genuine wood dashboard insert, Genuine wood door panel insert, Heated door mirrors, High intensity discharge headlights: Bi-xenon, Memory seat, MP3 decoder, Navigation System, Occupant sensing airbag, Park Distance Control, Power door mirrors, Power moonroof, Radio data system, Radio: HD, Rear dual zone A/C, Rear window defroster, Remote keyless entry, Security system, Smartphone Integration, Speed control, Speed-sensing steering, Steering wheel memory, Steering wheel mounted A/C controls, Steering wheel mounted audio controls, and Weather band radio.

SUPER NICE!! NAVIGATION LOW MILES HEATED SEATS LEATHER HEATED STEERING WHEEL 2 KEYS LOCAL TRADE ALL WHEEL DRIVE LOOKS AND RUNS GREAT!! Air Conditioning| Climate Control| Dual Zone Climate Control| Cruise Control| Power Steering| Power Windows| Power Mirrors| Leather Steering Wheel| Leather Shifter| Power Drivers Seat| Power Passenger Seat| Memory Seat Position| Rear Air Conditioning| Wood Trim| Tachometer| Digital Info Center| Tilt Steering Wheel| Telescoping Steering Wheel| Steering Wheel Radio Controls| Sunroof| Moonroof| Driver Airbag| Passenger Airbag| Side Airbags| Keyless Entry| Security System| ABS Brakes| Traction Control| Dynamic Stability| Rear Defogger| Fog Lights| Intermittent Wipers| AM/FM| CD Player| Anti-Theft| Leather Interior Surface| 17 x 7.5J Double Spoke (Style 278) Wheels, 10-Way Power Front Bucket Seats, Leatherette Upholstery, Telescoping steering wheel, Weather band radio, 10 Speakers, Rear door bins, 4-Wheel Disc Brakes, Front Bucket Seats, Front Center Armrest, Anti-whiplash front head restraints, Automatic temperature control, Brake assist, Bumpers: body-color, Delay-off headlights, Driver door bin, Driver vanity mirror, Dual front impact airbags, Dual front side impact airbags, Emergency communication system, Four wheel independent suspension, Front anti-roll bar, Front reading lights, Fully automatic headlights, Genuine wood console insert, Genuine wood dashboard insert, Genuine wood door panel insert, Head restraints memory, Heated door mirrors, Illuminated entry, Low tire pressure warning, MP3 decoder, Occupant sensing airbag, Outside temperature display, Overhead airbag, Passenger door bin, Passenger vanity mirror, Power adjustable front head restraints, Power door mirrors, Power driver seat, Radio data system, Rain sensing wipers, Rear anti-roll bar, Rear reading lights, Rear seat center armrest, Steering wheel memory Aux. Audio Input| Bluetooth| Child Proof Door Locks| Cup Holders| Heated Mirrors| Premium Sound| Remote Trunk Lid| Roll Stability Control| Side Curtain Airbags| Tire Pressure Monitor| Vanity Mirrors -

2013 BMW 5 Series
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2014 BMW 5 Series
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List: $28,425 save

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Expires Sep 30, 2017.

1 OWNER, NAVIGATION, HEADS-UP DISPLAY, BLACK/BLACK, COLD WEATHER,DRIVER ASSISTANCE, PREMIUM PACKAGE, AWD Cold Weather Package (Heated Front Seats, Heated Rear Seats, Heated Steering Wheel, and Retractable Headlight Washers), Driver Assistance Package (Head-Up Display, Instrument Cluster w/Extended Contents, Park Distance Control, and Rear-View Camera), Premium Package (Comfort Access Keyless Entry, Power Tailgate, and Satellite Radio), and Navigation System. BUY WITH CONFIDENCE at SHEEHY INFINITI of Tysons. You won't find a better car than this terrific-looking 2014 BMW 5 Series. Climb into this great BMW 5 Series, knowing that it will always get you where you need to go, on time, every time. DON'T MISS OUT, CALL BRENT OR NEIL @ 703- 556-6900.


High Tech Navigation System, Full Power Moonroof, Plush Leather Seats, Premium Alloy Wheels, Steering Wheel Mounted Controls, and Only One Previous Owner. AWD. 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

2014 BMW 5 Series
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List: $29,521 save

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Bluetooth w/ Hands Free Calling, Backup Camera, Sirius/XM, Navigation, Sunroof, Cold Weather Package (Heated Front Seats, Heated Rear Seats, Heated Steering Wheel, and Retractable Headlight Washers), Premium Package (Comfort Access Keyless Entry, Dakota Leather Upholstery, and Satellite Radio), Auto tilt-away steering wheel, Navigation System, Steering wheel mounted A/C controls, and Steering wheel mounted audio controls and Verified by Carfax as One Owner. Confused about which vehicle to buy? Well look no further than this attractive-looking 2014 BMW 5 Series. It will take you where you need to go every time...all you have to do is steer! MD State Inspected with a Fresh Oil Change! Every Pre-Owned vehicle purchased from Criswell Honda comes with a free CARFAX vehicle history report. The Used Vehicle Sale Price is plus sales tax, tag fees and a $300 processing charge. All prices, specifications, and availability are subject to change without notice. Pictures may be for illustrative purposes only; offers not valid on prior sales. Please contact Criswell Honda in Germantown, MD for details the most current information.

2010 BMW 5 Series
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List: $11,965 save

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Expires Sep 30, 2017.

WOWHERE IS YET ANOTHER ULTIMATE ULTIMATE DRIVING MACHINE 528xi WITHSUPER LOW MILES AND IN EXCELLENT CONDITION INSIDE AND OUT AND LOADED WITH; **NAVIGATION** SUNROOF** **PREMIUM PACKAGE** **COLD WEATHER PACKAGE****BLUE TOOTH** **XENON HEAD LIGHTS** **SAT RADIO** **DUAL CLIMATECONTROL** **WARRANTY** **AUX JACK****ALL POWER OPTIONS** AND MORE. VA INSPECTED CARFAX CERTIFIED SERVICEDAND PRICED TO SELL PLUS $395 PROCESSING FEE. Open Mon-Sat 10:00 to 7:30PM and Sun. 12:00 to 4:00 PM. Internet Prices are based on cash or cashier'scheck. Our Internet price does not include a $395 Processing fee Tagstitle 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
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List: $21,980 save

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Expires Sep 30, 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***

2010 BMW 5 Series
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List: $11,573 save

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Expires Sep 30, 2017.

CARFAX One-Owner. Clean CARFAX. Titanium Silver Metallic 2010 BMW 5 Series 528i RWD 6-Speed Automatic with Steptronic 3.0L 6-Cylinder DOHC 24V ONE OWNER CLEAN CARFAX NO DAMAGE REPORTED, FACTORY NAVIGATION, LEATHER, LOCAL TRADE-IN, POWER SUNROOF/MOONROOF, Black w/Dakota Leather Upholstery, 20-Way Power Multi-Contour Front Seats, 3 Spoke Multi-Function Leather Sport Steering Wheel, 3-Stage Heated Front Seats, 4-Way Front Seat Power Lumbar Support, 4-Wheel Disc Brakes, ABS brakes, Active Roll Stabilization, Ambiance Lighting, Auto-Dimming Exterior Mirrors, Auto-Dimming Rear-View Mirror, Automatic temperature control, Cold Weather Package, Dakota Leather Door Trim, Dakota Leather Upholstery, Heated Steering Wheel, Integrated 3-Button Universal Garage-Door Opener, iPod USB Adapter, Premium Package, Retractable Headlight Washers, Shadowline Exterior Trim, Sport Package, Sport Suspension Calibration, Value Package. Recent Arrival! Farrish of Fairfax, Stop Clicking and come see us Today!!!

page 1 of 57

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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