2015 550 New Car Test Drive
The BMW 5 Series offer a delightful balance of comfort and performance. Once known only as a four-door gasoline-powered sedan in the U.S., the 5 Series lineup has multiplied into more than a dozen variants, including a larger Gran Turismo body style, and a new diesel-powered sedan.
Mildly refreshed for 2014, the 5 Series gets a revised twin kidney grille, redesigned lower air intakes and new tail lamps. Like other BMW models on the market, the 5 Series is available in different lines: Luxury, Modern and M Sport, each with its own unique styling and trims.
Inside, the interior has been updated with standard navigation on all models and slightly more storage space, as well as new options like a rear entertainment system and personal concierge service. The updated iDrive interface also allows users to finger-trace letters and numbers on top of the control knob to enter information (similar to the touchpad found on Audi models).
The biggest news for 2014 is the 535d, available in both rear-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive (xDrive) models, which uses a turbocharged, 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine that makes 255 horsepower and 413 pound-feet of torque. Not only does it get an EPA-rated 26/38 mpg City/Highway, but diesel's well-known range helped our 535d test car go more than 500 miles on a single tank, and that's with spirited driving. Although it has a $1,500 price premium over the gasoline-powered 535i, those who travel long distances, especially at highway speeds, could be very satisfied with their return on the money.
Carrying over are the BMW 528i, BMW 535i and BMW 550i variants, powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, and a 3.0-liter turbocharged six-cylinder, respectively. An 8-speed automatic transmission is standard; the 535i can be equipped with an optional 6-speed manual.
Line-topping 550i models continue to use a 4.4-liter V8, but for 2014, the engine has been retuned to make 445 hp, and 480 lb.-ft. of torque, an increase of 45 hp and 30 lb-ft., respectively. BMW says the 550i can speed from 0-60 mph in 4.5 seconds.
Gran Turismo models ride on a wheelbase extended by four inches, with 2+2 seating behind a long hood and under a coupe roofline. The Gran Turismo come in two versions: 535i GT with the turbo I6 and 550i GT with the V8. Each is available with xDrive all-wheel drive.
The performance-oriented M5 sedan is equipped with a 560-horsepower V8, available with a 6-speed manual 7-speed dual-clutch transmission with paddle shifters. In addition to minor styling updates, the Competition package is also new for 2014, which bumps up horsepower to 575, and includes a different exhaust system, minor tuning revisions and unique 20-inch wheels.
Competitors to the 2014 BMW 5 Series are formidable, including the Audi A6, all-new Cadillac CTS (now larger than before), Lexus GS and the recently redesigned Mercedes-Benz E-Class. Those considering the 5 Series Gran Turismo might also consider the elegant Audi A7, with its ample cargo space. Rivals to the high-powered M5 include the Jaguar XF-R and the Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG.
The 2014 BMW 5 Series comes in two body styles: a four-door sedan and a stretched Gran Turismo, or GT. Rear-wheel drive is standard, and all-wheel-drive xDrive versions are available. Five different engines are available.
BMW 528i ($49,500) and 528i xDrive ($51,800) sedans come with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine; BMW 535i ($55,100) and 535 xDrive ($57,400) sedans use with a 3.0-liter inline-6; 550i ($63,900) and 550i xDrive ($66,200) sedans boast a 4.4-liter V8. BMW 535d ($56,600) and 535d xDrive ($58,900) models use a diesel-powered 3.0-liter turbocharged six-cylinder engine.
Gran Turismo body styles add four inches to the wheelbase and feature a sleek, coupe-like roof. Models include the 535i GT ($60,200), 535i xDrive GT ($62,500), 550i GT ($68,100) and 550i xDrive GT ($70,400).
In addition, all of the 5 Series sedans and GT models are available in distinct lines, which offer unique interior and exterior styling: Luxury, Modern and Sport.
Standard equipment on the BMW 528i includes dual-zone automatic climate control, vinyl upholstery, 10-way power front seats with four-way power lumbar, power tilt-and-telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel, driver memory function, pushbutton start, cruise control, split-folding rear seats, the iDrive infotainment interface with smartphone app integration, navigation, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a 10-speaker sound system with CD player, HD radio, auxiliary jack and iPod/USB connectivity, power sunroof, automatic wipers, auto-dimming mirrors, heated exterior mirrors, adaptive bi-xenon headlights and 17-inch wheels.
BMW 535i and 535d models are equipped similarly, adding leather upholstery and 18-inch alloy wheels to the above features.
BMW 550i upgrades further with 20-way power front seats with four-way power lumbar, sport steering wheel with paddle shifters (along with a sport-tuned version of the automatic transmission), front and rear parking sensors and a rearview camera.
The BMW M5 sedan ($92,900) makes 560 horsepower from its 4.4-liter V8, and comes standard with a choice of 7-speed dual clutch automatic manual gearbox or 6-speed automatic. Standard features include dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering column, 16-way power sport front seats, heated front seats with memory settings, and split-folding rear seats, the iDrive infotainment interface, a navigation, with voice activation, a rearview camera, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a 16-speaker Harman Kardon audio system with a six-CD changer, HD radio, an auxiliary audio jack and iPod/USB connection, power sunroof, driver-adjustable adaptive suspension, adaptive xenon headlights, adaptive cruise control, front and rear parking sensors, auto-dimming mirrors and19-inch alloy wheels with summer performance tires. The M5 Competition Package bumps horsepower up by 15 thanks to a specialized exhaust system and adds a rear M differential, more aggressive steering and suspension tuning, black chrome tailpipes and unique 20-inch wheels.
Safety equipment that comes standard on all 2014 5 Series includes front-seat side airbags, side curtain airbags, active front head restraints, stability control, traction control, antilock disc brakes, and the BMW Assist emergency telematics system with a 10-year subscription, which includes automatic crash notification. Optional safety features include the Driver Assistance Plus package, which adds an upgraded camera that shows a full picture of vehicle surroundings, blind-spot warning, a lane-departure warning and forward collision mitigation with pedestrian detection. The optional night-vision system can display possible hazards in the road the driver might not see otherwise.