By KBB.com Editors
While the 2010 BMW 5 Series is the most technologically advanced entry in the luxo-sport sedan category, the fact that it's the only one to offer a manual transmission more accurately captures the basis of its appeal. As it's quietly grown into a living legend, the continuing success of the performance-oriented 5 Series has helped to invigorate the entire category in which it competes. The softer Mercedes-Benz E-Class and Audi A6 are still sportier than ever, while the latest Infiniti M is the stiffest competition the 5 Series has faced yet – from a performance standpoint, anyway. Anchored by the 528i, 535i and 550i sedans, the lineup also includes the all-wheel-drive 528xi and 535xi sedans plus a 535xi wagon and 550 Grand Turismo Wagon.
The BMW 5 Series earned its deserved reputation as the supreme mid-size sport sedan almost on driving dynamics alone. Combined with standout styling, a well-appointed cabin and some of the most sophisticated technologies available in an automobile, the 5 Series offers something for everyone.
If you aren't overly swayed by the BMW badge, the bold styling or the renowned driving feel, you might find it harder to live with the driver's awkward cupholder, the improving (but still complex) iDrive central control system or the significant price premium when compared to competitors like the Infiniti M.
The 5 Series gains two significant changes for 2010. First is the addition of the newest iDrive system on cars equipped with the available navigation system, and second is the creation of a new M Sport Package that adds an Anthracite headliner, an exterior aerodynamic package with Shadowline trim, and M-specific wheels, door sills, footrest, gearshift lever, and steering wheel.
Driving Impressions Sandwiched between a positively turbine-like V8 and a base six-cylinder that's strong enough for more drivers than will buy it is the bread and butter of the model's powertrain lineup,...the twin-turbo six-cylinder. Along with virtually lag-free response, this excellent engine combines zero-to-60-mph sprints just a couple ticks slower than the V8, according to BMW, with fuel economy very close to the base engine's. Feel free to pick whichever engine you like, as there isn't a bad choice among them. Whichever powerplant you might choose, response, feel and feedback from all the systems – steering, suspension, brakes – are exceptional as expected. We especially like the sport version of the new faster-shifting automatic, which includes paddle shifters and rev matching for smooth downshifts.
Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go
The 5 Series' available radar-based cruise control will detect a slower-moving vehicle ahead and reduce speed accordingly. The system can even slow the car to a complete stop, enabling use in stop-and-go traffic.
For an even sportier sport sedan, the available "sport pack" fortifies the 5 Series with a more aggressive suspension and Active Roll Stabilization, which further minimizes body lean in corners. Other highlights include unique wheels and 20-way adjustable seats.
The 2010 BMW 5 Series' 10-way and available 20-way adjustable seats are some of the most comfortable and supportive in the class, excelling on twisty roads and long highways alike. Some of the more notable changes made last year include a revised center console with a new electronic shifter, more intuitively positioned window switches and a mostly subtle increase in overall refinement. The overall air of firm luxury remains, although there's a vague starkness not found in Audi or Lexus brands. Rear-seat room and trunk space are on par for the segment.Exterior
The bustle-back trunk, sharp-creased edges and cat's-eye headlights that caused such a stir when the model was introduced for the 2004 model year have helped the current-generation 5 Series become the best-selling iteration yet. A mild makeover in 2008 smoothed out some of the more controversial elements, adding a revised front and rear fascias and reworked headlights and taillights. For 2010, a new M Sport Package adds even more aggressive styling components creating the look deserving of a true high-performance luxury sedan.
Standard equipment on a 2010 BMW 528i includes a moonroof, 10-speaker AM/FM/CD sound system, iDrive central control (with six programmable memory buttons), 10-way power seats, Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity and no-charge maintenance for four years or 50,000 miles. Safety equipment includes electronic stability control plus front, front-side and two-row curtain airbags. Unique to the 535xi Sport Wagon are a dual-panel panoramic sunroof and a power liftgate.
In addition to a long list of modern features that have become commonplace in the category, the 5 Series lineup offers such desirable extras as Active Steering (everyday benefits include reduced steering wheel movement in parking lots), a head-up display, night vision system, lane departure warning system, active cruise control with new "Stop & Go" feature, navigation system with real-time traffic information and HD radio. The 2010 BMW 5 Series is one of the most tech-savvy vehicles on the road.
Although it shares the same 3.0-liter displacement as the base engine, the strong but silky twin-turbocharged in-line six from the 535i and 535xi produces 70 more horsepower and 100 pound-feet more torque. The V8 remains the quintessential power fiend's engine of choice, but it comes with such a heavy price tag that the twin turbo begins to look like the better pick. A six-speed manual transmission is standard across the line, but a quick-shifting six-speed automatic is a no-charge option. The 535i and 550i models offer a Sport version of the automatic transmission with paddle shifters and rev-matching downshifts.
3.0-liter in-line 6
230 horsepower @ 6500 rpm
200 lb.-ft. of torque @ 2750 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/28 (manual), 18/27 (automatic), 17/25 (AWD)
3.0-liter twin-turbocharged in-line 6
300 horsepower @ 5800 rpm
300 lb.-ft. of torque @1400-5000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/26 (RWD), 17/25 (automatic, AWD), 16/25 (manual, AWD), 16/24 (automatic, AWD wagon), 16/23 (manual, AWD wagon)
360 horsepower @ 6300 rpm
360 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/22 (manual), 15/23 (automatic), 15/21 (Wagon)
By Dano on Monday, April 14, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 185,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Comfort, performance, looks"
Cons: "Cost to maintain"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I truly have so few complaints about this car I would have to really dig for them. The car is expensive to maintain... it is not your average American made car when it comes to maintenance, but when you buy high end, you need to expect it. It was great until the warranty ran out.. now it feels like $1000 every time it is time to have work done. That's it with the bad stuff. The car is comfortable and a pleasure to drive... when it needs to get up and go, it does. I'm not crazy about the placement of the cup holders... but other than that, all the controls are easy and well placed. Pure comfort to ride in..."
1 person out of 2 found this review helpful
By chiro on Wednesday, March 05, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 90,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "great driving car"
Cons: "cockpit deficient"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"Great driving car. Could be more comfortable, driver and passenger friendly. Great handling and road stability. No back seat leg room with tall driver. Ridiculous excuse for front cup holders. Difficult getting satisfaction from dealership."
2 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By BMWAfficiando on Friday, February 28, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 49,500overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Had been looking for a 4 cyl car and ended up getting this 8 cylinder beast that purrs. This car had a HUD - and that compelled me to test drive it and the rest is history. Smooth power on tap with Sport Pkg, Cold Weather Package, HUD,Active Steering, NAV, Parking aid, heated mirrors and all that jazz. But the V8 is powerful, and can it corner. I drive moderately and I get these hotheads tailing me on off ramps and then I just get miffed and step on it and these hotheads just drop away - they may have V8's in the truck or whatever - they cannot cope with BMW's ability to laugh at curves and if I have DS mode selected, well they fall away so fast, its funny. That is so much fun right there. AND the car is QUIET - whisper quiet refinement in the cabin. A fire truck with siren blaring stuck at an intersection is not agonizing to the ear drums, merely irritating to the psyche. The HUD posts direction on the windscreen , warnings, speed etc. one cool gadget that. All in all this car is real fun thing to drive. All that power is sheathed until needed, and then the thing roars & sprints off without skipping a beat. The rest of the time its refined interior and 10 speakers invite you to listen to Smooth Classics on the radio or CD, or SAT if you like to pay."
5 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By M Harrell on Friday, February 28, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 130,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Very stable and handles great"
Cons: "Make sure it is under a warranty."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5
"Nothing better on snow or ice than the X drive BMW. Great to own under warranty but be prepared to dig deep, real deep for repairs. Decent MPG from the standard engine (26-32)."
6 people out of 7 found this review helpful
By Bimmer Lover on Thursday, February 27, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 62,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Handling and performance. Styling and sleek look"
Cons: "Repairs can be pricy"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I have owned this car for 6 months. It's the third Bimmer I have owned. I drive 28 mikes to work everyday and this car simply is a joy to drive. The handling is precise and it rides comfortably. No matter what weather I drive in I feel safe and secure in this car. The all wheel drive can run through the heaviest monsoon with no hydroplane. I love the sound of the engine as I accelerate from every traffic light or stop sign. The brakes are great too as I can stop suddenly if I need to. The seats hug me and are so comfortable. The heated seats and steering wheel is a nice luxury to have especially on very cold mornings. The iDrive system is easy to use and it's easy to control everything from the radio to the climate settings. Any computer literate person won't have a problem using the iDrive system. Night driving is easier too with the Xeon headlights that swivel to the left or right in sharp curves making it easier to see what's ahead. Overall this car is a pleasure to drive and is truly one of the best sport sedans on the road. It's a true machine that is a work of art."
2 people out of 2 found this review helpful
By Lucky on Thursday, February 27, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 80,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "World known as the perfect sports sedan"
Cons: "No nav, 08 nags antiquated. Chose 2014 Garmin tech"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Hands down the finest all around vehicle, handling, comfort, appearance. Under warranty from day 1, perfectly maintained. Warranty expired 2/20/14. No accidents, new tires. Wife has MS and totaled minivan. Need to get into an SUV for equipment. Our 535xi will be sorely missed."
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful