BMW 5 Series Sedan
Generations Timeline, Specs and Pictures
The BMW 5 series reached its 7th generation, with the first one being revealed in 1972.
The popular vehicle caught the eyes of the buyers due to its luxurious look, both the exterior and the interior design, along with the sportiness and comfort offered over the years, thus the Bavarian company managed to sell over 600,000 units of the 5 Series, both sedan and touring versions.
The 5-Series won several awards such as the Executive Car of the Year, Connected Car Award (winner) and others, proving that its success lasted for over 28 years and still counting.
The new 2020 model brought a refined look, with a bigger kidney grille in contrast with slimmer headlights. The car’s proportions were not changed, however, it gained a few inches in length. A longer wheelbase version was also available, only for the Chinese market though.
The 5-Series was already known for its low coefficient drag, thus keeping the tradition, the new 2020 G30 had a Cd of 0.23 (sedan) and 0.26 for the touring, both achieved with great attention paid to the exterior lines and the air flap control system for the radiator.
While the 5-series used to be the bigger version of the 3-series, the 2020 generation brought it closer to the 7-series, by offering pretty much the same optional features, as well as the standard ones.
The G30 could be ordered with the BMW Laserlight, a system that was introduced in 2019 only for the top-of-the-line 5-series modules. The system became available for all of the existing trim levels.
The 2020 release also brought the M Sport Package with a new design, including a new front apron, enlarged air intakes, kidney grille bars with aluminum matt faces an others.
The new generation BMW 5 Series was unveiled in the fall of 2016, following to be introduced as a 2017 model year.
Design wise, the new sporty sedan comes with a more striking face, standard LED headlights, sharper lines and stoplamps inspired by those on the 7 Series. More tech has been loaded into the car now, and, for example, the lane keep assist now works at speeds of up to 210 km/h. Gesture control and automatic parking are also offered on the new 5 Series. The car is also lighter and safer, while being powered by a new family of engines shared with the larger model and partially with the 3 Series LCI.
Over a million units sold from the sixth generation of the BMW 5-Series since its launch in 2010.
In 2013 the car received a Life-Cycle Impulse, to help sales.
Up until the facelifted version of the sixth generation of the 5 Series, BMW has succeeded to sell more than 5.5 million units of its mid-size executive sedan since its first generation was launched in 1972. Its success was based on performance models and new technologies. The 2010 generation was the first to introduce a hybrid version, a turbocharged V8, and an 8-speed automatic transmission.
The facelift version featured redesigns of the front and rear bumpers, with new air-intakes shapes on the lower side. The car was fitted as standard with Xenon headlights, and a pair of new LED taillights. The option for LED foglights and Adaptive LED headlights was also available. The side-mirrors received new turn-signals as well.
Inside, there was a new instrument cluster and a new infotainment unit. The navigation was fitted as standard. The iDrive’s turning knob was available with a touch-sensitive surface so the driver could write on it for easier input of a new destination for the sat-nav system. The instrument cluster received a new 10.25” TFT screen. Its colors and information were different depending on the selected driving programs such as Comfort, EcoPro or Sport modes.
For the engine compartment there was a new entry-level engine for the 518d model. It was a 2.0-liter turbodiesel unit that offered 143 hp.
The BMW started manufacturing the 5 Series in 1972.
The 5 Series was available in 4 body types: sedan, touring, Gran Tourismo and a 4-door sedan with a longer wheelbase that was only produced for China and the Middle East.
The 2010 BMW 5 Series was at its 6th generation and was unveiled by the German automaker on November 23 in Munich. The new generation 5 Series Sedan was developed on a new platform, dubbed F10 and boasts a larger wheelbase for improved stability and road handling.
The design was thought so the new 5 Series can stand out, but at the same time preserve BMW’s traditional design cues. The front fascia displays the typical kidney grille, while the hood received carefully applied aerodynamic creases that emphasize the car’s muscular look.
The rear fascia exhibits an aesthetic approach derived from the new BMW 5 Gran Turismo, while the coupe-like roofline gives the new 5 Series Sedan a composed and well-proportioned look.
BMW prepared one eight-cylinder and three six-cylinder petrol engines as well as two six-cylinder diesels along with a four-cylinder turbodiesel that develops 184 hp.
The F10 was also the first of the 5 Series to offer a hybrid drivetrain, a V8 turbocharged engine, a dual-clutch transmission for the M5, Integral Active Steering and a Parking Assistant.
The transmission options available were a 6-speed manual or an 8-speed automatic ZF gearbox, excluding the M5 that was available with a 7-speed automatic or a 6-speed manual.
In 2007, the BMW 5-series received a major update at its mid-life cycle.
Besides some minor exterior changes, there were bigger surprises inside and under the hood.
The exterior didn’t change too much. At the front, the headlights had received clear plastic covers, as well as the turn-signal indicators. The front kidney-grille is flush with the rest of the hood, to offer a refined look of the front fascia.
Inside, the 2007 5-Series offered a wide range of innovations in driver assistance. For instance, there is an available Head-up display, new Lane Departure Warning and Active Cruise control that featured a Stop&Go function. Another new option was the Nightvision. The system is based on a thermal imaging camera able to detect people, animals and objects, on and next to the road, up to a distance of almost 1,000 feet, transmitting a clear, high-contrast image to the Control Display.
The inline-six gasoline engine was used for more variants: the 528i, 530i and 535i either naturally aspirated or turbocharged. The top of the range 5-Series, apart from the M5, was the 550i that featured a 4.8-liter V8 unit. With its 360 hp, it was a strong competitor by any standards. In some markets, the standard transmission was a 6-speed manual but a 6-speed automatic with paddle shifters was offered at no extra cost. And that was something very rare in the automotive industry.
Since the introduction of the all-wheel drive (Xdrive) for some BMW models, that system was demanded more and more. And it had its market share on the 5-Series.
While it wasn’t a masterpiece of design, the E60 BMW 5 Series was the first 5 series to have the iDrive, the last to have a naturally aspirated M5 version and the generation with the biggest engines in the 5 Series history.
In 2003, the Flame-surfacing design theme created by Chris Bangle was the main theme for the BMW lineup. After the 7-Series, the 5-Series was touched by it, and the result was the E60.
The dragon-style headlights, the massive cabin, and tall profile were some of the features of the E60 BMW 5-Series. Curved surfaces were blending in to inspire movement and a fluid sculpture. But the overall design was not a pleasant surprise for the BMW fans around the world.
The controversial design was continued inside the cabin, with a center console that was not tilted toward the driver. On the center console, the rotary knob of the iDrive system was in place and changed the way the on-board computers looked for any BMW. A standard, 6.5” display was installed. Also, standard-fit was Bluetooth connectivity.
For better performance and balance of the car, the front side featured aluminum parts. The final result was a claimed 50:50 weight distribution.
The 5th 5-Series started with a wide range of engines, gasoline, and diesel, with displacements ranging from 2.0-liter up to a 4.5-liter unit. Later on, in 2005, a 4.8-liter V8 and the mighty M5 with a 5.0-liter V10 were added. While most of the 5-Series were offered with rear-wheel-drive, some versions were offered with the xDrive all-wheel-drive system.
The fourth generation of the BMW 5-series was unveiled in 2000 in Europe and in 2001 in the U.S. The car was so praised by all the media around the world, that it was hard to be improved.
The E39 5-Series was a successful sedan for the German car-maker. It was available with a wide engine choice, both gasoline, and diesel. It was available as a sedan or a station-wagon (named Sports Touring in the U.S. market). The M5 version was powered by a V8 engine and it stayed that way even after the facelift, or Life-Cycle Impulse (LCI) as BMW named the facelift.
On the outside, there was a slight improvement over its predecessor. The grille was a carryover from the M5, the clear-lens headlights were improved and a new lip was installed on the bottom of the front spoiler. The “angel-eyes” feature was enhanced, to clearly show rounded lightened circles inside the headlights. In the back, the taillights were revised and received LEDs.
Inside the car, there were minor changes to the dashboard and instrument cluster. A factory pre-wired for the telephone was available and, for higher trim-levels, a premium sound system was available. Richer equipment was fitted as standard for the 6-cylinders models, while the 4.4-liter V8 was standard-fit with a 5-speed automatic transmission on specific markets.
Most of the engine range was adjusted to new standards and new performances. The 5-speed manual was standard for most of the range. The M5 still had the 6-speed manual and no automatic option.
The fourth generation of the BMW 5-Series was introduced in 1995.
It was designed from scratch, with a completely new concept in mind. And the result worth it.
After three generations with twin-round headlights, the E39 broke the rules and came on the market with clear glass over the headlights. The car’s designer was Joji Nagashima and the BMW director of the design was Christopher Bangle. The E39 had to prove it can be as successful as its predecessor, the third 5-Series E34.
Unlike its predecessors, the E39 featured smooth and curved lines. It was the beginning of the biodesign era and all cars started to loose their angular shapes. The flowing surfaces and ascending lines of the 5-Series E39 were a revolution for its predecessors and ahead of its main rivals on the market.
Inside the car, there was room for five adults, even if the center rear seat was obstructed by a bulky transmission tunnel. The instrument cluster featured the standard BMW layout with two large dials, two small dials, and a gauge for instant fuel consumption. The air-conditioning and the audio system was offered for the entire range, but only the upper trim levels could have been equipped with high-end audio systems.
Under the hood, BMW 5-series was offered with engine starting with 4 cylinders and went up to a V8 unit. It was equipped with a 4-cylinder turbocharged diesel unit as well. Depending on the engine, it was offered with 5- or 6-speed manual transmission or with a 4- or 5-speed automatic. It wasn’t offered with all-wheel-drive.
The third generation of the 5-Series was introduced by BMW in November 1987 it’s mid-size sedan contender in the premium segment.
In the mid-’80s, the battle for the premium mid-size segment was mainly between the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and the BMW 5-Series. By the time when the third generation of the 5-Series was introduced, the two car-makers already took their paths, with BMW going for sportier models and the Mercedes-Benz for more comfortable cars.
The third generation of 5-Series kept the four-round headlights on the front, with a wide and narrow grille. The BMW “kidneys” were more exposed, with silver or body-colored rim. The plastic bumpers were already a fashion and the older, chromed ones, were part of the history. Still, a black rubber strip was kept.
The dashboard was tilted toward the driver and it offered the controls for HVAC and audio system, plus a pair of vents. The instrument cluster was typical, with the speedometer, tachometer, fuel level, and coolant temperature, plus an additional “economy” dial which showed the instant fuel consumption with a dial.
Under the hood, the 1988 5-Series was offered with a choice of gasoline and diesel engines. It was the first 5-Series available with all-wheel-drive for the 2.5-liter gasoline unit. The standard transmission for most of the engine range was a 5-speed manual, while the 540i was offered with a 6-speed unit. A 4- or 5-speed automatic was offered on selected models. The 5-Series was the first BMW to offer Electronic Damper Control and the introduction of Automatic Stability Control + Traction (ASC+T or ESP).
BMW introduced the second generation of the 5-Series in 1981, and while the exterior didn’t show impressive changes, the engineering department burned the midnight oil.
With a healthy market and an increased demand for premium vehicles, BMW considered growing its market share. But didn’t want to do that by lowering the prices. It did it by improving its cars to higher levels and delivered true sport sedans for its customers.
While it still kept the raked forward front fascia, the 1981 5-Series resembled the front fascia of its already known little brother, the 3-Series. BMW connected the quad-headlamps design and chromed “kidneys” through plastic horizontal slats. Its bumper was no longer a metallic part but a wrapped-around plastic one with chromed strips, a rubber area, and the turn signals. As an option, the carmaker offered additional fog lights. For the North American market, BMW was forced by U.S. regulations to increase the bumper size, which spoiled the car’s overall look.
Inside, there was a new design concept already imagined on the first 3-Series. The dashboard was centered around the driver, and the tilted center stack was straightforward to reach. Its taller center console also made a clear distinction between the “operation center” and the rest of the vehicle.
Under the hood, BMW installed a wide engine choice ranged between 90 hp and 218 hp. Also, in 1983, BMW presented the fastest diesel-powered vehicle in the world, the 524 td. It was able to reach up to 180 kph (112 mph), and it did that due to a turbocharged, inline-six unit. Apart from the regular models, the German carmaker introduced the M5 version in 1985 as a high-performance sports sedan.
The first generation of the BMW 5-Series was launched in 1972.
It represented the natural evolution of the “Neue Classe” introduced by the German car-maker in 1961.
The design of the 5-Series was signed by Paul Braq, following the line cues given by Michelotti and Hoffmeister, the designers of the BMW 1500 “New class sedan”. The bold new design was previewed in 1970 in the BMW 2002ti Garmisch concept-car.
One year before the launch, the German motoring press spied a mule version of the 5-Series and claimed that it resembled the Fiat 132 model. A year later, the series model proved that the car was much different than the Italian car. The twin-round headlights and the chromed elements on the bodywork were stylish. The sloped trunk line completed the aerodynamic look of the car.
Inside, the 5-Series offered a spacious interior, with enough room for five adult passengers according to those times standards. The first models were fitted with only a few comfort features. Some models were available with a 3-speed automatic transmission and power windows were installed later on the model.
Under the hood, the initial models were offered with an inline-four engine. Later on, the engine lineup was completed with inline-six engines, with carburetors or mechanical injection. The most potent version was the M535i that was introduced in 1980 with a 5-speed manual gearbox and a limited-slip differential.