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 02grandcherokee on Monday, September 15, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 107,000overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "Quiet, comfortable, AWD, it's a BMW!"
Cons: "Maintenance costs, stereo, no Bluetooth Stereo"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"We purchased our 2006 525xi as a Certified Pre-Owned from a BMW dealership in 2008. I can barely tell that we're not the first owners of this car. The only thing I honestly have to complain about is the fact that repairs can be costly. The sound system isn't the best out there, and there's no place to plug in a phone or iPod, and Bluetooth doesn't allow you to stream audio. The AWD works great, though, and it is a quiet car. The coating on the faux wood trim has started to become dull, but I haven't tried polishing it yet. The iDrive system can also be slow to respond at times. But overall, a nice family sedan, which is what we purchased it for."
4 people out of 7 found this review helpful
By BigLuke on Tuesday, September 09, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 165,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Handling, driving experience"
Cons: "Cost of repairs"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Car is a bit under powered, but it is truly a joy to drive. I have 165k miles on it with nothing more than routine maintenance and a water pump. Great car, very reliable, solid quality machine. I would recommend it to anyone looking to get into the BMW market cheap."
3 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By JA on Friday, August 22, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 195,500overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Power handling style comfort total quality"
Cons: "Slow Bluetooth startup. Cost of repairs"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I love this car. Solid! Drives like a sports car. Most of all the handling and response has kept me out of many freeway accidents. Yes it is expensive to repair, however I'm alive and that's fine with me. I am thinking I will hold on to this car and just keep driving it. Three more months of payments and after that the repairs won't seem that bad."
2 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By BenzLuvvr on Sunday, August 10, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 175,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "style, power, room, comfort, performance!"
Cons: "cargo space, oil consumption, cost to maintain."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Stylish and strong with major handles all packaged in a wagon! This car is one of the best wagon's I've owned and I love the panoramic roof. I have a fetish for wagons and have relished my Volvo 700 series wagons (4) and Mercedes E320 wagons (2), but this BMW wagon gets serious points for style and power. I was always a bit reluctant to dig my Mercedes wagons into a curves at 50 mph -- but no problem in this Beemer. It takes curves like a marathoner takes a jog. I'm very impressed! Also, there is more rear leg room in this wagon than the Mercedes, but the cargo area and third seat option in the Benz allows much more versatility. Thank God for the roof rack, because that's the only way we can carry 4-5 people on anything beyond a weekend trip. I'm a little concerned about a couple of trans fail warnings and oil warnings, but I'm finding these to be fairly common issues with high mile ownership. This car will likely make me a BMW 5 series enthusiast. Take a test drive today!"
4 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By Patti on Friday, August 08, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 62,500overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Superb ride & handling"
Cons: "Maintenance is pricey"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I have owned my 2005 545i for 5 years. It has treated me well with just routine maintenance other than run-flat tires that I just replaced with regular tires. The ride is much smoother-the way BMW is supposed to be. My car is loaded with options-sport pkg., cold weather pkg., SMG with 6 speed, navigation, adaptive cruise control, premium sound. This car is a hoot to drive. Sporty & luxurious, doesn't get any better than that. From the rain sensing wipers, heads up display, passenger side mirror that tilts down when in reverse to the SMG clutch ( sport, auto or semi-auto mode ) German engineering has it all over everyone else."
2 people out of 2 found this review helpful
By spock888 on Monday, July 07, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 53,000overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "fuel economy, drive"
Cons: "weird cupholder location, vibrations"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I purchased my 2008 CPO car about 5 years ago. The good thing about this car is the steering. It is awesome and feels very precise. My other American made truck can be driven with my pinky finger and I don't really like that. The car has not broken down so far (knock on wood), but I have had other weird problems that the dealership was not able/not willing to fix. The engine feels powerful with a great fuel economy. I get around 24 mpg (however my drive averages 29 mph with some stop and go miles). The triptronic transmission is good to give it a manual feel, but I have rarely used it. Now the bad things: Firstly, the ride is a bit rough. You feel every seam and joint on the road. Feels good at first, but then it is not exactly an M5. The suspension could've been a little softer, or at least adjustable. Secondly, there are vibrations when idling which the dealer was not able to fix. They made me change the engine mounts at my own expense when the car was not even 4 years old, and said the warranty does not cover it. It has gone down quite a bit, but still feel it every now and then. It is very irritating to have paid so much for a car that the dealer and BMW does not stand behind. The window regulator is going, which is a common problem for most BMWs. The sunroof leaks in most BMWs, but I park mine under a roof 99% of the time. Everything is $$$. Even an oil change is $150 (though they recommend you change it every 15,000 miles, which I think is too infrequent)."
5 people out of 7 found this review helpful