2019 BMW 5-Series
2019 BMW 5-Series
The 2019 BMW 5-Series sedan follows on a long line of sport sedans that have set the benchmark for handling prowess.
BMW last redesigned the 5-Series in 2017. For 2019 it gains automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitors, and lane-departure warnings. The diesel edition has been dropped.
That still leaves four engines, counting the hybrid. The 530i uses a turbo-4 with 248 horsepower; the 530e hybrid adds an electric motor and 9.2-kwh battery. The 540i uses a turbo-6 making 335 horsepower. And the M550i xDrive uses a 4.4-liter twin-turbo V-8 making 450 horsepower with all-wheel drive. All of these engines are mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission.
The 530i is EPA-rated at 24 mpg city, 34 highway, 27 combined, with the same combined mileage for available all-wheel drive. The 530e hybrid gets 29 mpg combined, and can travel for 16 miles on battery power alone. With all-wheel drive it goes one less mile on the batteries and gets one less mile per gallon. The 540i with its turbo-6 gets 21/29/24 mpg, same with all-wheel drive. M550i xDrive gets 18/25/20 mpg, while the high-performance M5 drops to 15/21/17 mpg. All the engines need premium fuel.
The 2019 5-Series hasn’t been fully tested for safety, but in 2018 it earned a Top Safety Pick+ rating from the IIHS. It comes with automatic emergency braking; a Driving Assistance Plus package for $1,700 tags on adaptive cruise control, active lane control, and cross-traffic alerts. Other safety options include a surround-view camera system with parking sensors, as well as a night-vision system.
Models include the 530i, 530e, 540i, and M550i xDrive (as well as a high-performance M5 spin-off).
The 530i starts at around $54,000, while the 530e qualifies for federal tax credits and some state rebates that can drop the price below $50,000. A fully loaded M550i xDrive can top $110,000.
Standard equipment in the 530i includes 17-inch wheels, a moonroof, power front seats, synthetic leather upholstery, an 8.8-inch digital instrument cluster, and a 10.2-inch touchscreen for infotainment with Bluetooth connectivity and Apple CarPlay compatibility that’s free a year and $80 per year after that.
The 540i adds real leather.
Few sedans offer as many options as the BMW 5-Series. A $1,400 convenience package for the 530i and 540i adds heated front seats, a power trunk lid, keyless ignition and satellite radio. For $4,200, the Bowers & Wilkins sound system is one of the best we’ve ever heard. All-wheel drive is a $2,300 option on every model except the M550i, where it’s standard equipment.
In profile, the 5-Series looks more like the larger and more luxurious 7-Series than it does the smaller 2-, 3- and 4-Series. The details are different, however, namely sharper character lines in the doors under the rear windows, and chrome exhausts. In the rear, the bumper is aggressive, with LED taillights.
The interior is comfortable and opulent, more daring than the exterior, especially in its use of contrasting colors. In the top trims, fancy details include seat controls with rubber grips, ceramic control knobs, and a touchscreen key fob.
BMW’s iDrive infotainment system, updated with the 2017 redesign, remains powerful and complex; the touchscreen makes the rotary knob redundant. There’s a rich array of connectivity options enabling owners to do things with their phone, such as notify contacts when you’ll arrive, and help find a parking spot.
The roomy front seats can be optionally wrapped in Nappa leather, heated, cooled, made to give massages, and adjusted 20 ways.
The rear split-folding seat is comfortable in the outboard positions, and livable in the center position. We’ve driven for several hours with five passengers.
The trunk holds a lot, with 18.7 cubic feet of space, although the 530e’s batteries reduce that to 12.1 cubic feet.
BMW’s 5-Series grows more engaging as its sticker price rises, no surprise there. The turbo-4 engine in the 530i is a strong performer. It can power the sedan to 60 mph in about 6 seconds. The 530e hybrid carries more weight, but that weight actually makes the already-smooth ride even smoother. We got seat time in a 530e with the optional adaptive dampers, and that ride was the best.
The turbo-6 in the 540i makes the traditional BMW noises and develops very strong acceleration. It hits 60 mph in less than five seconds, with its ample torque arriving smoothly and progressively.
The M550i xDrive brings that throaty V-8 with twin turbos. It makes 456 hp and 480 lb-ft, while cutting the 0 to 60 mph acceleration down to below four seconds. It comes only with all-wheel drive because the grip at all four wheels is needed with all that power. The adaptive dampers that are optional on the other models are standard on the M550i.
We love the 8-speed automatic, with its fast shifts and programming that read our minds.
All of the 5-Series models steer with surety, although the steering is light in Normal and Comfort modes. In sportier modes, the steering and suspension work well together to inspire confidence in the handling.
Yet another option (in a package) is active rear steering, which turns the rear wheels a small amount. We got some seat time with this system, and we liked it a lot in parking lots, where the rear wheels turn in the opposite direction and tighten the circle. At high speeds, the rears turn in the same direction as the fronts to quicken maneuvers, and tighten cornering as well.
The 2019 BMW 5-Series earns all the accolades that can be applied to a luxury sport sedan. The 540i, with its turbo-6, is a particularly good choice in a lineup filled with good choices. No matter which engine is fitted to the 5-Series, its 8-speed transmission is superb, the ride is smooth, the handling is good, and the cabin is stellar in quality.