The BMW 5 Series is any suit-wearing-executive’s default mode of transport. The five-seater has been with us since 1972, selling in excess of 600,000 units. The current generation is still a trail blazer. The ubiquitous 5 Series received a mid-lifecycle facelift in mid 2020 that freshens up the impressive cruiser. So what’s new?
Subtle tweaks to the exterior sees the 5 get a new grille design, MHEV mild hybrid technology (in all four and six cylinder models), adaptive LED headlights with an ‘L’ shaped light graphic, newly designed aerodynamic trim elements, plus four new paint colours to chose from. The Touring (estate) model gets a cleaner designed rear-end and tailgate.
Inside, the cabin remains stately and the ambience is rather excellent. Technology upgrades star: BMW’s ‘Intelligent Personal Assistant’ and other advances feature utilising BMW’s OS7 operating system. These convenience features and services ironically delayed me slightly picking up my test car as it was downloading an upgrade via its remote software upgrade system. Introduced in the new BMW 5 Series, vehicle specific content and updates such as function extensions for driver assistance systems can be integrated into the car over the air to ensure the vehicle’s software always has the latest updates. BMW says its ‘digital services’ can be added at a later date. More detailed interior refinements include: an optional 12.3-inch control display (a 10.25-inch is now standard), automatic climate control (with extended features) and sports leather steering wheel with newly arranged multifunction buttons. Controls on the centre console are now finished in high-gloss black. Other tweaks include a new ‘Sensatec’ perforated trim variant for seat surfaces; comfort seats and new M multifunction seats with optimised seating comfort and new interior trim strips.
The engine range has been refined to deliver more efficient and greener motoring. Tweaks to BMW’s TwinPower Turbo technology have taken place with the four and six-cylinder petrol engines with optimised petrol injection. All diesel engines now come with two-stage turbocharging. All four and six-cylinder model variants now meet the Euro 6d emissions standard.
The engine range in Ireland comprises: 520i (184hp/290nm/petrol/RWD), 520d the big seller (190hp/400nm), 530d (286hp/650nm), 530e (four-cylinder PHEV/292hp/420nm), 545e (six-cylinder PHEV/Power TBC) and M550i (V8/530hp/750nm) -in rear wheel drive or all wheel drive xDrive variants. The Touring has a 540i range topper with 333hp/450nm, instead of the M550i.
We’ve been testing the four door 530e plug in hybrid variant this week. The saloon PHEV is joined for the first time by a Touring version and both come with rear wheel drive or ‘xDrive’ all-wheel drive (another PHEV first). The 530e is a great car to drive in keeping with BMW tradition. The PHEV has sufficient power from the combination of its 2-litre petrol engine (184hp/300nm) and electric motor (109hp/265nm). The sprint to 100km/h takes 5.9 seconds and top speed is an autobahn friendly 235km/h. There are selectable driving modes with Adaptive, Hybrid and Electric my most used. There is a Battery button you can press to ‘hold’ the battery’s charge or generate charge up to a percentage amount. I set it to 90%. The PHEV is ready and compatible for use in regulated zero emissions zones. The 530e can travel up to 67km in zero emissions mode and this is impressive. Fuel consumption is the key to any PHEV and the 530e – when used properly – delivers an average petrol consumption of 1.7L/100km. Don’t forget to add the added electricity cost from charging to your budgeting to get your overall economy. CO2 emissions are a very low 40g/km.
You can drive with enthusiasm or just chill. The joy you get from an almost vibration free petrol/hybrid powered car cannot be underestimated – especially after a force-fed diet of diesel power. The BMW 530e M Sport pricing starts at €67,000 (€47,407 before VAT and VRT). Our test car had a number of options, €17,633.91 to be precise, that didn’t seem particularly ‘extra’ in a premium car with a 67 grand entry price. These brought the 530e on test to over €84,000 – ouch! Better lights, a good sound system, a head up display (HUD), electronic boot function, heated steering wheel, parking assistant plus, 20” wheels, split rear seat bench and wireless charging and Wi-Fi hotspot… These should be standard in a premium car to make it premium – I’m on a bit of a rant these days as a few premium German brands are finding ways to tap buyers for more cash and don’t get me started on subscription services!!!
BMW 5 Series pricing starts from €51,850 (520i SE) and rises to €103,660 for the M550i xDrive. The grades available are: SE, M Sport, M Sport Edition and for the first time in Ireland an ‘M Performance’ grade. A special edition BMW 5 Series M Sport Edition (Saloon and Touring) is available in a limited run of 1,000 units. It includes: the M Sport pack, Donington Grey metallic paint and exclusive 20-inch BMW ‘Individual Air Performance Wheels’ in a bi-colour design. The 530e is an impressive car that despite its size can be a lot of fun to drive. The 5 still cuts a dash but the market is shifting further away from cars to SUVs and this is a shame in many ways.