If you’re like me, you love sedans. SUVs and pickup trucks have their strengths, no doubt about it. But the sedan? There’s just something about it that’s hard to beat. Perhaps it’s the low-to-the-ground position that gives me the sensation of racing. Maybe it’s how a sedan can so easily gain a sporty feel. Or it could just be that growing up, my dad always purchased sedans, so I associate the road with those. Nostalgia tends to have a powerful allure.
If you’re a sedan lover, though, you know that the gold-standard manufacturer is BMW. Those three letters may as well spell out excellence. There’s a reason James Bond started driving them in the 1990s films (included in the very underrated Tomorrow Never Dies, but I digress). BMW’s recent lineup has been particularly exciting, showing the sedan still has power in a world that has increasingly gone towards SUVs and crossovers. If you look for a BMW 5 Series for sale, you will find some truly impressive works of art. Let’s examine this midsize model and see why it’s making sure BMW sedans remain top-tier rides and not just for those who like sedans. Even SUV drivers might be won over.
BMW 5 Series: Wowing Drivers Since 1972
The BMW 5 Series first rolled out in 1972 (well, provided you lived in Europe; it reached the United States in 1975) and quickly gained a reputation for mastery in all areas. Instead of aiming to impress with one element, the 5 Series debuted as enviable no matter your expectation. While you might have been attracted to its straight-six engines, you quickly found out that the BMW’s other elements were just as outstanding.
Class and wealth quickly became words associated with this German car. Unsurprisingly its initial price tag was high: $9,097 in 1975 for the six-cylinder version. That sounds cheap, but adjusted for inflation, it meant the BMW cost about $52,000 in today’s dollars. To come to market with that price tag, BMW had to be quite confident in its new sedan. A few decades later, it feels safe to say the brand made the right call by betting on itself.
The 5 Series continued to adapt to the times, with the generations following its debut receiving upgrades, both technological and mechanical. Like all BMWs, the 5 Series came to be associated with style and swag in the public’s eye (sadly, the BMWs that appeared in the James Bond films were not part of the 5 Series, but I’m holding out hope for his next film featuring one). As the years went by, the 5 Series became one of BMW’s best selling cars. Its generational changes were difficult to predict, which only added to the sedan’s exotic image. Sometimes, the changes would be minor; other times, the new generation would seem lightyears ahead of the previous generation.
As it stands now, the 5 Series offers a luxury vehicle with a sense of class and a charmingly old-fashioned aesthetic that nonetheless feels relevant today. It’s timely while also timeless, an interesting paradox that may be part of the car’s allure.
The 5 Series Models
The current 5 Series is the seventh generation of the car. It features the 530i as the base model, but do not let the word “base” fool you: this is still a BMW we are talking about. If you buy the 2023 BMW 530i, you will have a sedan with a 2.0L turbocharged engine with 248 hp. That can be upgraded to a 3.0L turbocharged inline-six with 335 hp if you opt for the 540i. Fuel efficiency, always an interest of mine, is actually stellar with the 5 Series. European cars have a reputation for solid efficiency ratings, and this BMW will not let you down on that front, with up to 28 MPG combined.
The modern 5 Series features a plug-in hybrid model, the 530e. What I find most impressive about the 530e is its look. We all recall when hybrids were boxy and cramped, good for the environment but bad on the eyes. However, the 530e is as sleek as any upscale gas-powered sedan. In my opinion, its available Arctic Race Blue Metallic paint gives it one of the most enviable looks of any sedan in recent history. But if that color isn’t for you, no need to be worried: BMW’s 5 Series is all about options. From exterior color to upholstery (I like the Cognac Perforated upholstery), the 5 Series’ hybrid offers a slew of choices.
Above the 530i, 530e, and 540i is the M550i xDrive sedan. This M Performance model comes with a 4.4L twin-turbo V8 engine generating 523 hp for those who want a little more muscle in their BMW. It’s a perfect fit for anyone who aims to be able to take long, fast drives in a luxurious ride. You won’t have to worry about performance when you are behind the wheel of the M550i; it hits 60 mph in 3.6 seconds, putting it 0.1 seconds behind the supercharged Chevy Camaro ZL1.
But if you want the absolute top-of-the-line for the 5 Series, then there’s no question about it: you need to go with the M5. Even the name M5 has an aspect of cool about it like it’s a code word for an expensive party, which goes well with this effortlessly awesome sedan. It’s sporty and classy, fast and aggressive, luxurious and intimidating. The 2023 model comes with an upgraded 4.4L twin-turbo V8 engine that can provide up to 617 hp, but even models a few years older are more powerful than virtually all other sedans. If you want to see a number that’ll really blow your mind, the 2023 M5 goes from zero to 60 mph in 2.8 seconds, making it faster than a C8 Corvette. If James Bond decides to equip himself with another BMW, I will put good money on it being the M5.
The 5 Series’ Future
The BMW 5 Series is about to enter its eighth generation. Specifics are due to be revealed later this year for the 2024 models, but it is such an anticipated event that fans of the 5 Series have gone out of their way to try and photograph test models, eager to get a clue about what awaits. If history is any guide, the eighth generation will be as edgy and exciting as ever. BMW plans to continue its electric options in the 5 Series, too, with an upcoming fully electric i5.
The i5 is sure to take the market by storm as electric vehicles become more in demand. Any connoisseur of the automobile industry will have noted the shift to electric vehicles over the past half-decade. While once thought to be a thing of the past, electric vehicles have been making their way back into the market. A number of manufacturers foresee EVs making up most of their production line within a decade or so. BMW’s 5 Series answers the cry for more EVs with the i5, and I cannot wait to see it on the road.
There’s no doubt the 5 Series will continue to impress. For folks like me who love sedans, this model will be the one to keep an eye on. BMWs have always stood out as the cream of the crop, and there’s no reason to expect anything less from what’s to come. In fact, I daresay that the 5 Series’ future will help dictate the look of other manufacturers’ sedans as they desperately try to keep up with BMW’s innovation.