BMW 5 Series
The 2014 BMW 5-Series is available with 4-cylinder 528i, 6-cylinder 535i or V8 550i models, as well as with rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. 528i models include a 2.0L four making 241 hp and 258 ft-lb of torque, with that peak torque achieved at just 1,250 rpm. The 3.0L six in 535i models makes 300 hp and 300 ft-lb, while a diesel option in the new 535d produces 256 hp and 413 ft-lb. The 4.4L V8 in the 550i generates 445 hp and 480 ft-lb.
Each of these engines is twin-turbocharged, with direct injection and BMW's Valvetronic system, which can vary intake valve lift to both save fuel and aid responsiveness, and each is paired with an 8-speed STEPTRONIC automatic transmission. Engine Auto Start/Stop also helps save fuel in stop-and-go driving by stopping the engine momentarily, then starting it smartly when you begin to ease off the brake pedal. An "Eco Pro" mode allows for more mindful driving, while a single Driving Dynamics Control selector lets the driver click between Comfort, Normal, Sport and Sport+ modes that coordinate throttle and transmission response, steering boost, stability-control intervention and in affected cars, the Dynamic Damping Control suspension (which helps combine a soft ride with crisp response when you need it) and Active Roll Stabilization (which reduces lean in cornering). Additionally, a system called Integral Active Steering is available and gives the 5-Series sedan a more nimble feel by steering -- slightly -- with the rear wheels.
While BMW claims 36 mpg from the new 535d, those looking for even greener performance will want to look at the ActiveHybrid5, which pairs the 300-hp turbocharged 6-cylinder engine with a 54-hp electric-motor system and 1.3-kWh lithium-ion battery pack; the hybrid system delivers its power through the 8-speed automatic and it accelerates to 60 mph in about 5.5 seconds. In other words, it's just as quick as the 535i, only more fuel-efficient.
The 5-Series lineup includes great seats in all variants; in front they're widely adjustable and especially good for taller drivers. BMW's iDrive screen-driven interface comes in all 5-Series models and it's been improved in recent years with more intuitive, streamlined menus and controls.
BMW's 5-Series models have traditionally touted some of the most advanced safety-technology features in the business, and in this respect the latest models don't at all disappoint. Options on the lineup include active cruise control, a night vision system, a head-up display, a parking assistant and Driver Assistance packages bring lane departure warning with collision mitigation plus active blind-spot detection and multiple camera views.
Either through the Sport Package or through the M Sport Package, sport suspension is available as well as larger wheels, an M Sport steering wheel and an aero kit. A 15-speaker sound system is available as an a-la-carte option, but those willing to splurge will appreciate the awesome sound of the 16-speaker Bang & Olufsen premium system.
All 5-Series models include dual-zone climate control, rain-sensing wipers, power heated mirrors, xenon adaptive headlamps, dynamic cruise control, navigation and other extras. All but the base 528i get a few additional upgrades, to Dakota leather plus power multi-contour front seats, a rear-view camera and park distance control. A 10.25-inch multifunction instrument display allows multiple gauge layouts depending on which Driving Dynamics mode is engaged.
There's no 5-Series wagon, but there is a 5-Series Gran Turismo (GT), which is a unique body style that is part wagon and part hatchback, with a somewhat taller seating position more like that of a utility vehicle. Back-seat space in the Gran Turismo is superior to that in the 5-Series sedan, with a better view outward and a unique 2-piece tailgate and folding rear seats add more cargo versatility and convenience.
Available packages on the 5-Series include one for cold weather that includes a heated steering wheel and seats, a Dynamic Handling Package and an Executive Package and Luxury Package, which both add ultra-premium touches like exclusive leather surfaces, ceramic controls, a power tailgate, upgraded wood trim and a Bang & Olufsen sound system.