2016 550 New Car Test Drive
The BMW 5 Series has been around for a long time, and the 2016 model is expected to be the last of its generation, at six years old. It has aged well with its traditional looks (updated for 2015).
Some impressive challengers have a lot to offer, namely the Cadillac CTS, Audi S6 and S7, and Jaguar XF. Still, the 5 Series endures, with responsive driving dynamics, the right amount of luxury, but most of all some of the world's best powertrains, chassis and safety.
The 5 Series is vast, from sedans to Gran Turismo hatchbacks, and engines including an economical turbo four, smooth inline six-cylinder, turbocharged V8, hybrid, diesel, all offering that great BMW ride and handling. There's nothing new for 2016 except a standard Harman Kardon surround sound system and power trunk lid on the 550i.
The 528i uses a strong turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder making 240 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque, with an eight-speed automatic transmission. The 535i takes a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline six with 300 hp and 300 lb-ft, while the 550i boasts a twin-turbocharged V8 with an awesome 445 hp and 480 lb-ft. There's also a high-performance M5, but the 550i is nearly as quick, with a zero-to-sixty time of just 4.5 seconds.
On the economy side, there's the relaxed and confident 535d, with its 3.0-liter turbodiesel inline six making 255 hp and 433 lb-ft. The ActiveHybrid5 uses a 300-hp turbocharged six with a 54-hp electric motor system and 1.3-kWh lithium-ion battery pack. It's nearly as quick as the 535i.
The M5 is a performance icon. It makes a humongous 560 horsepower, and is available with a Competition Package that boosts it to 575. Choose between a six-speed manual transmission or seven-speed twin clutch and be thrilled either way.
Manual transmissions are available in the 5 Series models except for the hybrid, diesel and xDrive all-wheel-drive cars.
Fuel mileage runs the gamut of the engines, with the 528i bringing a strong 22 mpg city/34 mpg highway, pretty great for a luxury sedan, even better than the hybrid. Even the 4.4-liter V8 in the 550i brings mileage that's not much below 20 combined. Of course it's the 535d diesel that wins, with 26/38. In one city/highway run in cold weather, we got 37 mpg.
The 5 Series get top crash-test scores from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and federal government, except, significantly, for a Marginal rating in the IIHS telephone-pole (small overlap frontal) test.
The BMW 5 Series includes the 528i ($50,200), 535i ($55,850), 535d ($57,350), Active Hybrid5 ($62,100), and 550i xDrive ($68,600).
The 528i comes standard with dual-zone climate control, dynamic cruise control, LED fog lamps, and Bluetooth/USB/smartphone integration, power heated mirrors, rain-sensing wipers, and xenon headlamps.