While the next-generation M5 won't go on sale here until the last half of next year, the first taste of M-style magic for the recently introduced 2011 BMW 5 Series sedan can be had starting in September when the automaker launches a new M Sport Package. At the same time, the first of the all-wheel-drive 5 Series xDrive versions also will roll into BMW showrooms. Available across the entire lineup, the latest M Sport Package won't bring any changes to powertrain components in the 2011 528i, 535i/535i xDrive and 550i/550i xDrive sedans. But it will endow these sleek mid-size four-doors with a number of enthusiast-oriented visual and functional improvements.
Key exterior enhancements in the M Sport Package include an M Aerodynamic kit that bring a bolder front fascia with larger air intakes, more aggressively styled side sills and a revamped rear fascia set off by lightweight M-spec alloy wheels. The 528i will be fitted with 18-inch rims while all other models will get 19-inch upgrades. On rear-drive cars, they'll be wrapped in high-performance run-flat tires while xDrive variants will roll on all-season run-flat alternatives.
To enhance corner-carving proficiency, the new M Sport Package bolsters its tauter suspension tuning with elements contained in the 5 Series Dynamic Handling Package. These include Electronic Damping Control, Active Roll Stabilization and BMW's four-mode Adaptive Drive setup -- although the latter two items are not part of the formula on the 528i.
Inside, the M Sport Package brings an ergonomically optimized M steering wheel, a unique Anthracite headliner, M-design aluminum footrest and standard Aluminum Hexagonal interior trim bits -- although real wood accents also are available for those who favor balancing these dedicated enthusiast touches with a measure of traditional luxury.