2013 BMW 5 Series Review
By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating:
What's New for 2013
Vehicles with a production history of more than a few decades typically have a model generation they would rather forget. But, like a perpetual-motion machine, the BMW 5 Series just keeps gaining momentum. To meet the specific demands of the modern car buyer, the 2013 BMW 5 Series offers the most expansive lineup in the nameplate's history. Along with recent additions like the powerful yet fuel-efficient ActiveHybrid 5 and the versatile 5-door Gran Turismo, 2013 marks the highly anticipated debut of the fifth-generation M5 super sedan. In response to the challenges posed by the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Audi A6, Infiniti M and the new Lexus GS, the BMW 5 Series has once again raised the bar to secure its place as the benchmark in the mid-size luxury segment.
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While the majority of its competition tend to lean in a particular direction when it comes to comfort, performance and practicality, the 2013 BMW 5 Series offers equal quantities of all three, even in base form. Additionally, if a third pedal is a requirement in your next luxury-sports sedan, the 5 Series is the only car in the category to offer a manual transmission.
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Compared to the Acura TL and Lexus GS, the pricing structure for the 2013 5 Series is rather complex. Where fully loaded models from Lexus and Acura maintain sensible sticker prices, opting for a 5 Series with all of the trimmings can easily double the base price.
For 2013, the new 560-horsepower M5 joins the 5 Series lineup along with a number of minor performance and cosmetic enhancements. Leading the list of changes is a next-generation navigation system with weather forecasts and crowd-sourced traffic information, newly available bespoke features from BMW Individual and a 45-horsepower bump for Gran Turismo variants sporting the twin turbo V8.
Driving the 5 Series
Regardless of drivetrain – rear-wheel (RWD) or all-wheel drive (AWD) – the 2013 BMW 5 Series family provides a balanced approach to over-the-road performance. And when equipped with AWD, BMW's...
mid-size offering is blessed with "all-weather" performance, going tough when the going gets tough. With your choice of a turbocharged-4, a turbo inline-6 or a pair of twin-turbo V8s, you can truly tailor a BMW 5 Series to your specific performance requirements and, of course, budget. The entry-level 528i is blessed with a surprising amount of urge (0-60 in 6.2 seconds), a modest appetite for fuel (22 mpg city/32 highway) and a throaty – almost lusty – personality on the open road. With that, the sweet spot is probably where the 5 Series began, with a healthy turbo-6 (535i) propelling you at triple-digit speeds (where allowed).
The 2013 BMW 5 Series sedan is available with an integral active-steering system that, depending on vehicle speed, aims the rear wheels in the same or opposite direction of the front wheels for improved handling in both low- and high-speed driving conditions.
M SPORT PACKAGE
Designed for those who wish to squeeze every ounce of performance from their 5 Series sedan, the M Sport Package ups the ante with a sport suspension, lightweight 18-inch alloy wheels and a higher electronically limited top speed.
2013 BMW 5 Series Details
The 5's interior space has grown slightly over the years, while the overall impression has grown almost exponentially. Already a strong suit, BMW paid special attention to ergonomics in the latest 5 Series, with all displays, knobs and buttons located in the central portion of the cabin. And the choice of interior materials reflects a new maturity on the part of BMW management; considering this is where consumers spend most of their time, the new upgrades are fully appropriate to that. We'd take issue, however, with the standard-spec upholstery; black or beige Leatherette, on a car with a base price of over $48K, stretches – we think – credibility.
In assessing the 5 Series, it's helpful to have some background. The development of its chassis and body structure was performed in conjunction with the flagship 7 Series. As a result, the 5 is more grown-up, with the longest wheelbase ever to be found on today's 5 Series. The proportions and overall impressions of this current 5 Series aren't radically different from those of its predecessors, but if you liked the smaller footprint of the previous iteration, the new 3 Series might be worth your consideration. In contrast, the 5 Series sedan's architectural limitations make the spacious Gran Turismo variant an enticing proposition for anyone who needs a 5 Series with SUV-like cargo space.
In sedan or 5-door body style, every 2013 BMW 5 Series includes 10-way power front seats, an 8-speed automatic transmission, run-flat tires, xenon headlights that produce up to three times the light of conventional halogen systems and BMW's iDrive infotainment system paired to a 10-speaker audio system. Unlike the Infiniti M and Acura TL, the 5 Series sedan does not offer leather seating or a moonroof as standard fare. As expected, the 2013 5 Series is packed with a full range of active and passive safety features, including six airbags, adaptive brake lights that become brighter as braking forces increase and BMW Assist with automatic collision notification, emergency assistance and concierge services.
Whether you plan to inject an extra measure of performance or refinement into your 5 Series, BMW offers a variety of appealing stand-alone options and packages to do so. On the performance side, Dynamic Damper Control enhances the overall ride quality by automatically adjusting the suspension characteristics according to the current road conditions, while the available M Sport Package adds 18-inch performance wheels and tires, aerodynamic bodywork and a race-inspired M steering wheel. Luxury and convenience options include a full-color head-up display and active front seats designed to help reduce the fatigue associated with long trips by gradually altering the height of the seating surface.
Under the Hood
Variety, thy name is 5 Series. With the introduction of a new 4-cylinder turbo, BMW offers a "holy trinity" of turbocharged powertrains. Despite its "base" designation, the 2.0-liter four is one of the finest engines ever fitted to an entry-level vehicle. It delivers 240 horsepower, 260 lb-ft of torque and 32 mpg in the EPA's highway cycle. Perhaps the lack of an available manual transmission with the turbo-4 is a down note, but that absence can't last forever; the rumble for its return starts right now. The turbocharged inline-6 and its more powerful hybrid counterpart have their fans, while the 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 and the higher-output M variant seem to maintain the notion that too much power is never enough.
2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4
240 horsepower @ 5,000-6,000 rpm
260 lb-ft of torque @ 1,250-4,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/32 mpg
3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6
300 horsepower @ 5,800 rpm
300 lb-ft of torque @ 1,300-5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/28 mpg (manual, RWD), 20/30 mpg (automatic, RWD), 20/29 mpg (automatic, AWD)
3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6 hybrid
335 horsepower @ 5,800 rpm
300 lb-ft of torque @ 1,300-5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 23/30 mpg
4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8
400 horsepower @ 5,500-6,400 rpm
450 lb-ft of torque @ 1,750-4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/22 mpg (manual, RWD), 17/25 mpg (automatic, RWD), 16/24 mpg (automatic, AWD)
4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8
560 horsepower @ 6,000-7,000 rpm
500 lb-ft of torque @ 1,500-5,750 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/22 mpg (manual), 14/20 mpg (automatic)
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