By Joe Tralongo, Contributing Editor
KBB Expert Rating: 8.2
The 2016 BMW 5 Series remains the benchmark sedan for the midsize luxury- performance market. Earning its performance credentials over many years, the 5 Series continues to grow both its model range and its fan base. With models ranging from a $51,000 4-cylinder turbo to a tire-smoking M5 costing twice as much, the 5 Series offers a dizzying number of choices. Need something with more versatility? There’s the 5-door Gran Turismo. Looking for power and fuel economy? Try a 5 Series diesel or hybrid trim. You can find similar levels of luxury in a Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Audi A6 or Lexus GS, but not the same performance. Conversely, the Cadillac CTS-V can challenge the M5 at the track, but not quite yet at the country club.
If you’re seeking perfection in performance, image and luxury, you’ll find BMW’s new 5 Series is on a similar quest. From the fuel-efficient diesel and 4-cylinder turbo to the fire-breathing M5, there is a 5 Series sedan to please just about every desire.
KBB Expert Ratings
Changes for the 2016 BMW 5 Series are modest. A power tailgate and harman/kardon Surround Sound audio system are now standard on the 550i, while all models receive enhanced USB and Bluetooth.
Regardless if you want a rear-drive or all-wheel-drive 5 Series (dubbed “xDrive” by BMW), you’ll end up with one of the best driving, best handling sedans available. The 2016 BMW...
... 5 Series luxury performance sedans are noted for their power and excellent driving characteristics. Even the base 528i with its 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder can scoot to 60 mph in around six seconds, an impressive feat considering the 5 Series’ size. However, those in the know will probably be more comfortable with the 535i, which features an inline 6-cylinder engine offering up more muscle without a significant downturn in fuel economy. If money is no object, however, then the ultimate 5 Series is the M5. With a 560-horsepower turbocharged V8 under its hood, the 2016 BMW M5 demonstrates scorching performance, an advanced and luxurious interior and a pedigree that is the envy of the sports-car world.
Soot-free, quiet and sophisticated, today’s diesel engines have come a long way. In the 2016 BMW 535d sedan, the diesel engine delivers gobs of torque, great fuel economy and less maintenance.
M SPORT PACKAGE
Designed with the driver in mind, BMW’s M Sport Package beefs up the factory 5 Series with lightweight 18-inch alloy wheels, a sport suspension and an increase in the limited top speed.
The 2016 5 Series from BMW features a wide, driver-centric dash and controls, premium materials, and good room for occupants and their luggage. Controls for climate, audio and vehicle dynamics are generally easy to use. BMW's large command dial to the right of the stubby gear selector requires a learning curve – we suggest putting the vehicle in park and practicing its functions before getting under way. The sedan's 14-cubic-foot trunk offers good space, and standard 60/40-folding rear seats have more flexibility. With its hatchback design and flat load floor, the 5 Series Gran Turismo offers even more cargo capacity.
The 2016 BMW 5 Series sedan's design announces the car's athleticism without chasing fads. Up front is the requisite twin-kidney grille, the sides are crisply creased, and the rear features a nicely tapered trunk and contoured LED light strips. M5 models are identified by their quad-exhaust outlets. While the 5 Series sedan is anything but controversial, the same cannot be said about the somewhat bloated 5 Series Gran Turismo. Despite its awkward rear, the tailgate sports a dual-access design that allows you to open a smaller trunklid or the entire hatch to load larger items.
Even a base BMW 528i is well-equipped, as should be expected in a $51,000 sedan. Highlights include a standard navigation system, moonroof, bright xenon headlights, automatic climate control, a 10-speaker AM/FM/CD system with HD Radio reception, and 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels with all-season run-flat tires. Surprisingly, leather is still an option on base models, which use leather-like upholstery. Go one trim higher with the 535i and you get the real thing. Also extra is a rearview camera, something becoming standard on cars from mainstream brands. New BMWs include Ultimate Service, which includes four years/50,000 miles of scheduled maintenance.
As with all BMWs, the 2016 5 Series offers a lengthy options list both in package and stand-alone form. As daunting – and expensive – as this may be, one nice aspect is that most features are available across the line. That means you don't have to step up trims to have the 20-way climate-controlled front seats with massage function, hands-free trunk opener, full LED lights, Bang & Olufsen audiophile system, rear-seat entertainment screens, or a package that bundles features like lane-departure warning, active cruise control and a bird's-eye-view camera system. And we haven't even mentioned performance upgrades.
Because it’s a 5 Series, even the base 4-cylinder is lively and efficient, delivering up to 34 mpg in the EPA’s highway cycle. The 5 Series' mid-tier powerplant is a turbocharged inline-6. The turbodiesel, also an inline-6, generates a monstrous 413 lb-ft of torque yet soundly beats the gasoline-electric ActiveHybrid 5 in fuel economy. In addition to not matching the diesel's fuel economy, the pricier hybrid's 26-mpg city/highway combined rating is only two better than a 535i and its highway rating is less. At the top is a 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 that motivates the 550i and M5 models. Rear-wheel drive (RWD) is the standard format, but all-wheel drive (AWD) is available on most models. Only the M5 offers the choice of a manual transmission.
2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 (528i)
240 horsepower @ 5,000-6,500 rpm
260 lb-ft of torque @ 1,450-4,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 23/34 mpg (RWD), 22/34 mpg (AWD)
3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6 (535i, 535i GT)
300 horsepower @ 5,800-6,000 rpm (535i), 5,800-6,400 rpm (535i GT)
300 lb-ft of torque @ 1,300-5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/31 mpg (automatic, RWD), 20/29 mpg (automatic, AWD), 19/28 mpg (GT, RWD), 18/26 mpg (GT, AWD)
3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6 hybrid (ActiveHybrid 5)
300 horsepower @ 5,800-6,400 rpm
300 lb-ft of torque @ 1,300-5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 23/30 mpg
3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6 diesel (535d)
255 horsepower @ 4,000 rpm
413 lb-ft of torque @ 1,500-3,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 26/38 mpg (RWD), 26/37 mpg (AWD)
4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8 (550i, 550i GT)
445 horsepower @ 5,500-6,000 rpm
480 lb-ft of torque @ 2,000-4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/25 mpg (RWD), 16/25 mpg (AWD), 16/25 mpg (RWD, GT), 16/24 mpg (AWD, GT)
4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8 (M5)
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)
The 2016 BMW 5 Series has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting just over $51,000 for a base 528i. Prices increase by several thousand dollars as you climb trims, with a 535i starting over $56,500 and a 550i debuting beyond $67,000. The sizzling M5 begins around $96,000. The 5 Series Gran Turismo variants start just shy of $62,000. And keep in mind, these prices are before options. Competitors such as the Mercedes E-Class, Infiniti Q70, Jaguar XF and Lexus GS all share the 5 Series' roughly $50,000 starting price, while the Audi A6, Cadillac CTS and Acura TLX start several thousand less. Before buying, check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others are paying. The BMW 5 Series' resale value is expected to be in line with competitors like the E-Class, except for the ActiveHybrid 5 and Gran Turismo models, which have poor residual value.