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Overview (Final Score: A)
BMW introduced an entirely new 5 Series sedan for the 2017 model year, and that very well-done luxury sedan continues forward this year. It’s a good thing, as the 2017 5 Series was one of the highest-rated cars we’ve reviewed.
The 2018adds a plug-in hybrid 530e iPerformance model and a performance-oriented M550i xDrive as new options. The not very popular Gran Turismo hatchback model has been discontinued.
Most well known for its excellent drive dynamics and beautiful interiors, the BMW 5 Series holds that tradition while adding new technologies and more interior space. Notable changes in the new-generation 5 Series are the longer, sleeker look of the car; the immense amount of technology offered and more efficiency. Technology in the 2018 5 Series includes a host of driver aids and safety items, improved infotainment and better performance.
The 2018 BMW 5 Series is the midsize luxury sedan to beat, as it often has been in the past. But it doesn’t lack for competitors in today’s contentious market.
What We Love About the 2018 BMW 5 Series:
- Lots of available technology in many fronts
- Beautiful look with a blend of classic and contemporary
- Great new additions round out the full 5 Series line
What We Don’t Love About the 2018 BMW 5 Series:
- Can be pricey compared to some others in the market
- Value proposition may not be as good for some buyers
- Some competition may offer better interior luxury
Interior Comfort, Quality, Ergonomics (10/10)
The interior of the 2018 5 Series is a beautiful evolution of design built on the previous generation’s high appeal. Like the car’s exterior, the interior sees a lot of updating without fundamentally changing what makes this midsize luxury sedan a favorite. Most notable are changes to the shape of the dashboard and added rear legroom.
Lower and wider, the dashboard gives more room for the driver and front passenger without losing utility. Technology is more integrated into the new design, giving the BMW’s interior a more modern look. The minimalist appeal of Teutonic design remains with the new 5 Series, but accommodates the expectations of tech and storage of today’s driver. Most of this is accomplished with a thicker center stack to allow narrower flanks toward the driver and passenger.
Digital outputs are more plentiful in the 2018 5 Series, giving a more versatile and modern look to the instrument cluster and center stack. A few extra buttons are added for updated driver’s aids in some models, allowing more control with less time on the virtual screen and its command dial. Convenience is a little more at the fore in this new-generation 5 Series.
Drivers from previous generations or other BMW vehicles, will not feel lost or have to re-learn much with the new 5 Series. The 2018 model holds the same familiar layout for basic controls (turn signals, cruise control, etc) as several generations up to this point.
Seating in the 2018 BMW 5 Series is excellent with adjustments only getting better as the package levels improve. Massage units and dynamic seat bolstering are offered in some packages, and adjustments for instrumentation and the like are found in even the base model offering.
In the back seats, passengers will find a full inch of extra legroom over the previous-gen 5 Series and more headroom than the low roofline might imply. The 2018 BMW 5 Series is one of the roomiest on the market when it comes to the back seat, though three across might be a stretch with any child safety seats. The aggressive Euro-style bolstering in the rear doesn’t help this point.
The trunk of the 2018 5 Series is huge, holding 18.4 to 18.7 cubic feet in most models, depending on options. The split-folding rear seats are standard, allowing cargo pass-through with a ski pass through on some options.
Performance in the 2018 BMW 5 Series improves from 2017, thanks to the two new drivetrains available for the car. The M550i performance model helps round out the 5 Series’ overall offering, while the 530e plug-in brings a new level of economy-minded driving without sacrificing the overall dynamic the 5 Series is known for.
The base model BMW 530i has a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that’s turbocharged to bring 248 horsepower. Virtually identical to the 5 Series model we drove last year, the 2018 530i has both rear-wheel and all-wheel drive as options, and a dynamic appeal to its drive quality. Fuel economy was excellent and on par with EPA expectations.
The 2018 540i is powered by a 335-horsepower V6 that turbocharges to produce almost as much torque as HP. This is a power-hungry, but still economical vehicle with strong appeal for mid-level buyers who want more pep without losing too much of the fuel-sipping quality of the base engine.
New this year is the 530e model with its plug-in hybrid powertrain. This model uses the same 2.0L engine as the 530i, but adds hybrid components for a total output of 248 horses. Extra weight in the car (batteries, electronics) cancel out the upgrade brought with the more available torque, but doesn’t change the excellent drive appeal that makes the plug-in commensurate with the 530i for how it feels on the road.
Also added this year, is a big horsepower-pushing V8 option in the M550i. This model’s 4.4-liter eight has twin turbochargers and a massive 456 horsepower rating. Our week in this model showed that it’s extremely muscular and fun to drive, pushing the limits of what might be expected of a luxury sedan today. The AMG additions for chassis control are very welcome on this performance model. AWD is standard in the 550i.
Even the most respectable and sedate of the 2018 BMW 5 Series models offers sub-6-second 0-60 mph times. The M550i boosts that to just under 5 seconds, as we found in real world averages.
Pricing and Value (8/10)
The 2018 BMW 5 Series is not one of the more low-cost vehicles in the luxury market. It often sits near the top in terms of price for the accouterments. On paper, at least. In reality, the stiff competition in this market may help offset that more expensive price tag. That seems at odds, but in comparison many buyers will find the extra cost worth it given the 5 Series’ overall excellence in almost every measure.
We believe most buyers will be happy with the 540i model’s solid mixture of performance and comfort with real-world fuel economy expectations. Those who live where tax incentives are highest will be well served with the new 530e plug-in, and those who are most interested in performance above all else will be happy to see the new M550i offered.
Resale values for the BMW 5 Series have not generally been high in the past and we do not expect that to change soon, though the performance and plug-in models may see higher retention rates.
Total Score and Competitive Comparison (76/80, 95%)
The 2018 BMW 5 Series sees a two point jump in scoring this year versus last year, thanks to the newly added models for fuel economy and performance. That said, the midsize luxury sedan market is thick with excellent competition for the BMW.
The most competitive may be the, which was introduced last year and continues to dominate segment sales. The E is comparable in every way to the 5 Series, but does not yet offer a plug-in hybrid or a technology-laden option to compare with what the 5 Series has now.
Similarly, the Lexus ES is an option that has more interior luxury than the BMW 5. Pricing will also be a draw for the Lexus, though style and a lack of a true performance model may turn some buyers away.
The 2018 BMW 5 Series is a well-rounded, well-done vehicle that sets benchmarks for the class. With a balanced mix of luxury, style, performance and fuel economy (for the class), the 5 Series now has models to cover the needs of most buyers in this segment. The very advanced technology available for the vehicle is just another selling point among many.
Read the FULL REVIEW Now to get expert tips on the 2018 5 Series’ safety, reliability, fuel economy, exterior, technology and more.