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BMW 5-Series Performance

Reviewers can’t agree on whether the 2015 BMW 5-Series delivers class-leading handling or could use a bit more agility during cornering. However, they do agree that it has a remarkably smooth ride and a strong engine lineup, from the lively turbo four-cylinder in the 528i to the ferocious twin-turbo V8 in the M5. The 5-Series also gets excellent fuel economy in its base and diesel trims, but the hybrid model’s fuel economy is disappointing.

  • "If a luxurious day-to-day experience is more important to you than maximum performance, you're going to like how the 2015 5 Series operates." -- Edmunds
  • "Those seeking ultimate driving will find it in the M5, a beast of a sedan whose turbocharged 560-horsepower V8 obliterates asphalt while its luxurious interior coddles passengers." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "While the 5 model is still quite capable by the numbers, it's more of a high-speed cruiser now than a back-road bomber." -- AutoTrader (2014)
  • "The 5-Series' ride and handling combination continues to set the standard in the premium-midsize class." -- Consumer Guide (2013)

Acceleration and Power

The 2015 BMW 528i comes with a 240-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. The BMW 535i has a turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine that produces 300 horsepower, while the 535d has a 255-horsepower, turbodiesel 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine. The ActiveHybrid 5 features a turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine and an electric motor that combine to produce 335 horsepower. The BMW 550i has a 445-horsepower, twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V8. The 5-Series comes standard with an eight-speed automatic transmission. According to the EPA, the base 528i gets 23/34 mpg city/highway, which is very good for the class, while the 535i gets 20/31, which is high for a six-cylinder upscale midsize car. The 535d gets 26/38, which is excellent for the class. The ActiveHybrid 5 gets 23/30, which is unimpressive for a hybrid upscale car.

The performance-oriented 2015 BMW M5 has a twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 engine that produces 560 horsepower and 500 pound-feet of torque. A seven-speed automated manual transmission and six-speed manual are available. BMW says the 2015 M5 has a top speed of 155 mph and can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 4.2 seconds.

Test drivers think the base 528i has plenty of power, and they say the 535i offers a nice compromise between strong acceleration and good fuel economy. They note that the 535d feels quite strong, the 550i delivers extraordinary acceleration and the M5 is unbelievably fast. Critics note that the standard stop-start system, which helps conserve fuel by shutting off the engine at idle, causes unwanted vibration. However, it can be turned off.

  • "No matter which 5 Series model you choose, power is abundant. Even the base 528i with its turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder has a 0-60 mph time of around six seconds, swift for a car this size and an engine that small. Still, the sweet spot in the 5 Series lineup is the 535i, with an inline-6 that deftly splits the performance/efficiency equation between 4- and 8-cylinder 5 Series models." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Less appealing is the vibration you get when the auto stop-start system fires the engines back up from rest. Other automakers seemed to have figured out how to make their systems smoother." -- Edmunds
  • "Under the hood, the 528i's turbo four makes more power than BMW is letting on, and we can confirm that it feels surprisingly strong. For many drivers, it will be more than enough. Of course, the 535i model's 300-hp inline-6 is mighty seductive if you sample it, and the 535d model's turbodiesel six might even be more satisfying with its massive torque. As for the 550i model's 4.4-liter V8, incredible acceleration from any speed is the name of its game. You have to experience it to believe it." -- AutoTrader (2014)
  • "Depressing the throttle provokes a reaction something akin to hitting Jason Bourne on the head with a spatula. Immediately all 560 horsepower from the twin-turbo, 4.4-liter V8 hurls you down the road at a speed capable of arousing the inmates at San Quentin in an instant." -- Jalopnik (2013 M5)

Handling and Braking

The 2015 BMW 5-Series comes standard with rear-wheel drive, and BMW’s xDrive all-wheel drive system is optional. Some critics wish the 5-Series felt more nimble during cornering and say its steering isn’t very accurate. Others think it’s one of the sharpest-handling cars on the market, and they point out that the performance-oriented M5 is very agile. Test drivers agree that the 5-Series has an exceptionally comfortable ride.

  • "Whether you choose a rear-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive (dubbed ‘xDrive’) model, the 5 Series remains one of the best-driving, best-handling sedans money can buy." --Kelley Blue Book
  • "We also don't like how the 5 Series never feels as nimble or precise as we'd like when going around turns, even with all the settings at their sportiest. The steering also lacks the precision for which it used to be renowned. So that's the bad news. The good news is that the 5 Series is blessed with a smooth, absorbent ride quality." -- Edmunds
  • "The current 5 Series is actually based on the top-dog 7 Series, so it has an ultra-smooth ride." -- AutoTrader (2014)
  • "Over my favorite twisty mountain backroads, the M5 barely batted a headlight as it swept through the turns." -- CNET (2013)
Review Last Updated: 5/15/15

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