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2020 BMW 5 Series Sedan

$53,900 - $76,650
Price Range (MSRP)
BMW 5 Series Sedan

2020 BMW 5 Series Sedan Review - Quintessential Midsize Luxury

by Adam Lynton

BMW's venerable 5 Series executive sedan was introduced in its current, seventh generation in 2017, which means the time has arrived for a mid-cycle update. With such esteemed rivals as the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and Audi A6, the revisions ensure that the 5 Series maintains its lofty position in the segment. Much like other modern BMW sedans, the 5 Series has traded some of its famed dynamism for increased refinement and ride comfort. While this remains a controversial aspect of a car sporting the BMW badge, there's nothing controversial about the way the 5 Series performs, with everything from the 530i to the 523-horsepower M550i delivering superb acceleration. The handsome and spacious cabin remains a highlight and now receives several technological upgrades seen in newer BMWs, one of them being the Live Cockpit Professional digital instrument cluster. While some competitors may offer more flair inside and out, the 5 Series is an outstandingly accomplished executive sedan with few vices, and remains a top choice in the segment.

2020 BMW 5 Series Sedan Changes: What’s the difference vs 2019 5 Series Sedan?

The 5 Series gets a host of technological upgrades in the cabin, with the latest iDrive 7.0 operating system and BMW's Live Cockpit Professional digital instrument display now fitted across the range. Other standard features which have been added are navigation and keyless passive entry. On the performance front, the M550i gets an increase in power from 456 hp to 523. This model also boasts heated front seats and an M Sport Differential as standard items. BMW has discontinued the diesel-powered 540d for 2020.

Pros and Cons

  • Exemplary highway cruiser
  • Opulent and rock-solid cabin
  • Impressive array of technological features
  • Powerful and refined engines
  • Large trunk capacity
  • Restrained overall design doesn't stand out
  • Lacks that traditional sporty BMW feel
  • Expensive optional extras

5 Series Sedan Exterior

Unlike the X7 and 7 Series, for now, the 5 Series retains a less radically-sized grille design, and it's all the better for it. This remains a handsome and imposing mid-size sedan but, for some, the 5 is a bit too discreet in its styling. 530i and 540i models get 18-inch double-spoke wheels and run-flat tires as standard, along with power-folding and heated side mirrors. The M550i is differentiated by 19-inch M double-spoke wheels, Shadowline exterior trim, an M rear spoiler, and an aerodynamic kit. All models are fitted with a power glass moonroof.

2020 BMW 5 Series Sedan Front View
2020 BMW 5 Series Sedan Front Angle View
2020 BMW 5 Series Sedan Front Angle View
See All 2020 BMW 5 Series Sedan Exterior Photos

Dimensions

The 5 Series has grown significantly over the years, with the current model a full four inches longer than the E60 generation. Key dimensions are 194.6 inches in length, 58.2 inches in height, and 73.5 inches in width - these measurements are all slightly greater than that of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class. The M550i, featuring exclusive exterior enhancements and a sportier suspension setup, is marginally longer and lower than cheaper models - it is 195.4 inches long and 57.8 inches in height. The wheelbase for all models is the same at 117.1 inches. Curb weight ranges from 3,713 lbs for the 530i rear-wheel-drive to a substantial 4,456 lbs for the V8-powered, M550i xDrive.

Exterior Colors

A wide color palette is available for the 5 Series range, with a choice of 14 shades. Standard colors are Alpine White and Jet Black. For an additional $550, the following metallic colors can be ordered: Carbon Black, Black Sapphire, Glacier Silver, Imperial Blue, Dark Graphite, Mineral White, Mediterranean Blue, and Bluestone. A further four exclusive colors cost $1,950 each, but can only be added together with specific packages - they are Almandin Brown II, Azurite Black II, Champagne Quartz II, and Rhodonite Silver. The M550i can only be specified in ten of these colors, with Jet Black, Glacier Silver, Imperial Blue, and Mineral White not being available for this sportier model.

  • Glacier Silver Metallic
  • Imperial Blue Metallic
  • Mineral White Metallic
  • Carbon Black Metallic
  • Black Sapphire Metallic
  • Dark Graphite Metallic
  • Mediterranean Blue Metallic
  • Bluestone Metallic
  • Almandin Brown II Metallic, Priority 1
  • Azurite Black II Metallic, Priority 1
  • Champagne Quartz II Metallic, Priority 1
  • Rhodonite Silver Metallic, Priority 1
  • Azurite Black II Metallic, Priority 1.
  • Almandin Brown II Metallic, Priority 1.
  • Champagne Quartz II Metallic, Priority 1.
See all 17 colors

5 Series Sedan Performance

Three distinct powertrains each provide impressive and class-leading performance. Rear-wheel-drive is standard, with BMW's all-wheel-drive xDrive system optionally available on the 530i and 540i, but standard on the M550i. The 530i uses a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces 248 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. This model will complete the 0-60 mph sprint in a claimed 5.9-seconds. Stepping up to the 540i, outputs increase to 335 hp and 331 lb-ft from the smooth 3.0-liter turbocharged inline six-pot. Using the same eight-speed automatic transmission as the 530i, the 540i manages the benchmark sprint in only 4.9-seconds (4.6-seconds for the xDrive model). The M550i's turbocharged V8 has sensational outputs of 523 hp and 553 lb-ft, and it takes a scant 3.6-seconds to reach 60 mph on its way to an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph. Besides providing stupendous acceleration that would embarrass an M5 driver who isn't paying attention, the M550i's burbling V8 also sets it apart from the Mercedes-AMG E53, which uses a six-cylinder engine. Overall, every 5 Series matches or surpasses rivals in terms of performance and all are fine examples of BMW's proven powertrain expertise.

2020 BMW 5 Series Sedan Front View Driving
2020 BMW 5 Series Sedan Rear View Driving
2020 BMW 5 Series Sedan Engine

Engine and Transmission

While the idea of a four-cylinder engine in a big, luxurious sedan like the 5 Series may have seemed odd just 15 or so years ago, the 530i's turbocharged mill is refined, efficient, and powerful. From a capacity of 2.0-liters, the TwinPower inline four-cylinder's outputs of 248 hp and 258 lb-ft are admirable and do well to mask the size and weight of the 5 Series. Acceleration is smooth, and the car is always responsive; the eight-speed automatic transmission is always slick and unobtrusive. The 530i also has no trouble keeping up with faster traffic on the highway.

The 540i uses BMW's much-loved 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine, with turbocharging helping to deliver strong outputs of 335 hp and 331 lb-ft of torque. As refined as the 530i is, the 540i is a joy to rev to its red line and power delivery is silky smooth. Performance is exceptional and, at times, it's hard to believe that there are two versions of the 5 Series which are even more potent than this (the M550i and the M5, the latter reviewed separately).

As if it needed more power, BMW saw fit to increase the M550i's outputs from 456 hp to 523 hp for this 2020 model. Torque is rated at 553 lb-ft. This 4.4-liter turbocharged V8 may not sound quite as characterful as a fully-fledged BMW M engine, but it gives away awfully little in the performance stakes. A gentle prod of the throttle is all that's needed to pass slower traffic, while in Sport mode, the M550i fires off rapid gear shifts to deliver mind-blowing performance. The versatility of that eight-speed transmission can't be overstated, as it is smooth when it needs to be but pleasingly holds onto gears when you want it to. It's one of the best automatic transmissions in the business.

  • Engines
    2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas, 3.0-liter Turbo Inline-6 Gas, 4.4-liter Twin-Turbo V8 Gas
  • Transmission
    8-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrains
    AWD, RWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

Yes, a BMW 5 Series can still carve its way through a series of acute bends with more control and while carrying greater speeds than many competitors. This remains a supremely engineered machine - it's just that it doesn't thrill in the same fashion as older BMWs once did. The electronically assisted steering is muted, offering minimal feedback. However, buyers seeking ultimate refinement and that feeling of stark isolation from the outside world will appreciate it. A lack of feel aside, there is plenty of grip on offer, and oversteer only comes into play at far higher velocities than most will indulge in. There are three driving modes: Eco Pro, Comfort, and Sport, with the latter adding a bit more heft to the helm, although actual feedback remains lacking.

The upside of the current suspension setup is that the 5 Series is a properly cosseting executive sedan, with a pliant and controlled ride quality that is wonderfully relaxing when covering long distances. Typically well-damped, the suspension resists the floatiness that besets some luxury sedans. Even in the sportier M550i, this is evidently a car tuned more for comfort than thrilling dynamics.

5 Series Sedan Gas Mileage

With EPA-rated fuel economy estimates of 25/33/28 mpg on the city/highway/combined cycles, the rear-wheel-drive 530i is the most efficient variant in the 5 Series range. With an 18-gallon gas tank size, it will manage a useful range of 522 miles in a mix of city and highway driving. The heavier 530i xDrive's figures are 24/31/27 mpg. These numbers are superior to the Mercedes-Benz E300's 21/30/25 mpg. The 540i, with its powerful 3.0-liter six-pot, manages estimated consumption numbers of 21/29/24 mpg and a combined range of 432 miles, with the xDrive variant rated at 22/29/25 mpg. As expected, it's the M550i with its large-capacity V8 that uses the most fuel. EPA-rated estimates are 18/25/20 mpg, equating to a mixed driving range of 360 miles - here, the fast BMW loses out to the Mercedes-Benz E53 AMG with its mild-hybrid system capable of returning 21/28/24 mpg.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    18.0 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 25/33 mpg
* 2020 BMW 5 Series 530i Sedan

5 Series Sedan Interior

While the overall design of the 5 Series' interior isn't the most adventurous, it's a cabin with real substance. Rich materials abound, with soft-touch surfaces everywhere you look. While Audi has largely replaced physical buttons with expansive touchscreens in the new A6, the 5 Series successfully melds familiar knobs and switches with the latest iDrive system and the new digital instrument cluster. Seat comfort is superb, and space utilization is excellent, although rear knee room isn't exceptional considering the size of the BMW. While there are many standard creature comforts, the 5 Series can also be specified with a host of advanced extras such as remote control parking, LED adaptive headlights, and a rear-seat entertainment system.

2020 BMW 5 Series Sedan Dashboard
2020 BMW 5 Series Sedan Dashboard
2020 BMW 5 Series Sedan Rear Passenger Seats
See All 2020 BMW 5 Series Sedan Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

Five passengers can be accommodated comfortably in the 5 Series, although as is often the case, the rear middle seat occupant will be less comfortable than those in the outer two seats because of a raised center seat. The driving position is comfortable and highly adjustable, with the steering column also offering enough range for most. Legroom and headroom are generous front and rear, although rear-seat passengers have only average space for feet under the front seats. Rear legroom can get a tad pinched if the driver and front-seat passenger are taller. Ingress and egress are made easy thanks to wide-opening doors. In terms of visibility, the 5 Series offers a clear view out of the rear window, and the rear headrests don't get in the way of the driver's view out. A decently sized glasshouse all-round ensures that there are no awkward neck-craning moments for the driver.

  • Seating capacity
    5-seater

Interior Colors and Materials

As with the exterior, the interior of the 5 Series can be specified in a wide range of colors and materials. The comprehensive color palette is made up of the following shades: Canberra Beige/Black, Black, Ivory White, Cognac, Night Blue, Mocha, Caramel/Black, Smoke White/Black, and Tartufo Full. On the 530i, Canberra Beige/Black or Black are the standard color options, along with SensaTec-upholstered seats. Dakota leather is a $1,450 option, Nappa leather is $2,450, and Merino leather is $5,150. Opt for the 540i, and Dakota leather is standard, with Nappa leather being a $1,000 option and Merino leather costing $3,700. Dakota leather is also standard on the M550i, with Nappa leather an additional $1,000 and Merino leather an extra $3,200.

On all variants, a range of standard wood trims can be chosen including Fineline Ridge Wood and Burl Walnut Wood. Aluminum Rhombicle is a sportier alternative. Upgrades include an Individual Piano Black finish and Individual Plum Brown Wood, each costing $1,080. The M550i also gets a SensaTec-finished dashboard for an even more luxurious feel.

5 Series Sedan Trunk and Cargo Space

There's a surprisingly large gulf in trunk size between the 5 Series and its key rival, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class. While the BMW offers a commodious 18.7 cubic feet of space, the Mercedes can only manage 13.1 cu.ft. The 5 Series' trunk is large enough to accommodate six carry-on suitcases or four sets of golf clubs, while the 40/20/40 split-folding rear seats make it possible to load a bicycle, provided the front wheel is removed. Tethering hooks and small nets are also fitted in the trunk to prevent items from rolling around once on the move.

Small-item storage space is fair, with water bottle holders in all the doors and a covered compartment in front, which is ideal for storing your mobile phone. Both the glovebox and the compartment below the center armrests are decently sized.

2020 BMW 5 Series Sedan Open Trunk Lid Window
2020 BMW 5 Series Sedan Rear Passenger Seats
2020 BMW 5 Series Sedan Rear Passenger Seats
  • Trunk Volume
    18.7 ft³

5 Series Sedan Infotainment and Features

Features

A quick look at the extensive range of optional features would lead you to think that the 5 Series is poorly equipped, but this isn't the case. The base 530i gets keyless entry, 16-way power front sports seats with a memory system for the driver, dual-zone climate control, a two-way power glass moonroof, BMW's extended ambient lighting with 11 predefined lighting designs, a backup camera, adaptive LED headlights, and rain-sensing windshield wipers. The 540i is very similarly equipped, but gets leather upholstery as standard. Moving up to the M550i ups the luxury feel and adds a SensaTec dashboard, 20-way power multi-contour front seats, and hands-free trunk-lid opening/closing. A dizzying array of options - both standalone and bundled together in several packages - means that customizing your 5 Series can quickly become an eye-wateringly expensive exercise. Available extras include remote control parking, a rear-seat entertainment system, a head-up display, BMW's gimmicky-but-interesting gesture control, and an essential in luxury car motoring from a class above: automatic soft-closing doors.

Infotainment

The 2020 BMW 5 Series gets two significant upgrades: the iDrive 7 infotainment system and the addition of BMW's latest Live Cockpit Professional digital instrumentation display. The iDrive system can be used to control the crisp 10.25-inch central display by voice, via the touchscreen, or using the traditional touchpad central controller. While there is an initial learning curve to master, the system is otherwise intuitive and slick. Live Cockpit Professional is a bit less successful - while the large 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster certainly looks modern, the counterclockwise tachometer, and the general layout of information is fussier and less customizable than systems from Audi and Mercedes-Benz.

Standard connectivity features include Apple CarPlay integration, but only with a one-year free trial. Android Auto, unfortunately, is still missing from every BMW. There's also USB connectivity, HD radio, Bluetooth streaming audio, and navigation, while the 530i and 540i feature a 12-speaker HiFi sound system. Connected Package Professional gets you real-time traffic updates and includes BMW's new natural language voice command system. The M550i gets a superb Harman Kardon surround sound system with 16 speakers, along with SiriusXM Satellite Radio with a one-year all-access subscription.

5 Series Sedan Problems and Reliability

While the 2020 model hasn't received an official reliability rating yet, the 2019 BMW 5 Series had an excellent predicted reliability rating of four-and-a-half out of five stars according to J.D. Power, so there is little reason to doubt that the mechanically similar 2020 model won't prove equally dependable. There was a single recall issued by the NHTSA for the 2019 5 Series for a faulty charging cable, but this only affected 530e hybrid models (reviewed separately). The 5 Series is covered by a four-year/50,000-mile limited warranty and a four-year/50,000-mile powertrain warranty. This represents average coverage in this segment, although Jaguar does offer a superior warranty with its XF.

5 Series Sedan Safety

The 5 Series hasn't been tested by the NHTSA as yet, although the 2019 model was chosen as a top safety pick by the IIHS, evidence of the G30 generation's strong crash safety cell. The only blemish is related to the standard headlights which received a 'marginal' rating.

Key Safety Features

At this price level, safety feature expectations are high, and the 5 Series does not disappoint. Dual-front airbags, seat-mounted front side airbags, front head airbags, and rear head airbags are all standard, with the front airbag system offering dual-threshold, dual-stage deployment.

Further standard safety features include adaptive LED headlights, LATCH child seat anchors, front and rear park distance control, a rear-view camera, and BMW's Active Protection System which detects imminent accidents and prepares the car for them by, for example, closing the windows. Active driver assistance features amount to daytime pedestrian protection, frontal collision warning with city collision mitigation, lane departure warning, active blind spot detection, and rear cross-traffic alert. Adaptive cruise control is available.

Verdict: Is the 2020 BMW 5 Series Sedan a good car?

Despite SUVs accounting for a larger percentage of BMW sales than ever before, the marque continues to deliver outstanding luxury sedans and the 2020 BMW 5 Series is no different. While this isn't a car that bowls you over the first time you see it, it's the 5 Series' remarkably consistent spread of abilities that position it at the top of the class. Not only is it supremely comfortable, but it still corners with confidence. While the interior is now a feast for technophiles, most of it remains easy and natural to use. Add in those superb powertrains, the exemplary build quality, and enough space for the family, and it's easy to see why the BMW remains a default choice in this segment. While the privilege doesn't come cheaply - and accomplished rivals like the cutting-edge Audi A6 and opulent Mercedes-Benz E-Class are deserving of consideration - the 5 Series is one of BMW's best efforts, and this latest mid-cycle update only adds to its appeal.

What's the Price of the 2020 BMW 5 Series Sedan?

The most affordable route to 5 Series ownership is the 530i at an MSRP of $53,900. This price is exclusive of tax, licensing registration, and a destination and handling charge of $995. Next is the mid-range 540i at an MSRP of $59,450. Topping the range is the fully-loaded M550i xDrive at an MSRP of $76,650. xDrive all-wheel-drive is available on both the 530i and 540i for an additional $2,300.

2020 BMW 5 Series Sedan Models

The 5 Series range comprises five gas-fed models: 530i, 530i xDrive, 540i, 540i xDrive, and M550i xDrive. All are fitted with an eight-speed automatic transmission.

The base 530i / 530i xDrive twins don't feel sparse thanks to a well-chosen list of standard features. These include 18-inch alloy wheels, SensaTec upholstery, Apple CarPlay integration with a one-year subscription, BMW's Live Cockpit Professional with a 12.3-inch screen, the iDrive infotainment system linked to a 10.25-inch central screen, navigation, dual-zone climate control, a 12-speaker audio system, and 16-way power front seats. The only notable omission is standard heated seats. The 540i adds Dakota leather upholstery, while the M550i packs on a 16-speaker Harman Kardon sound system, a SensaTec-trimmed dashboard, SiriusXM satellite radio, and 20-way power multi-contour front seats. Safety is well catered for across the range with driver assistance features including lane departure warning and rear cross-traffic monitoring.

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
530i Sedan
2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
$53,900
530i xDrive Sedan
2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
$56,200
540i Sedan
3.0-liter Turbo Inline-6 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
$59,450
540i xDrive Sedan
3.0-liter Turbo Inline-6 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
$61,750
M550i xDrive Sedan
4.4-liter Twin-Turbo V8 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
$76,650
See All 2020 BMW 5 Series Sedan Trims and Specs

Additional Packages

Up to ten packages are available for the BMW 5 Series, which means that it will take some restraint to keep the price reasonable when adding on options. Still, variety is always a good thing.

Starting with the exterior design, the Luxury Package adds chrome finishes and a SensaTec dashboard, among other items, for $1,950 on the 530i and $500 on the 540i. The popular M Sport Package boasts M sport suspension, Shadowline exterior trim, LED fog lights and an aerodynamic kit for $5,000 on the 530i and $3,550 on the 540i. Heated front seats, SiriusXM satellite radio, and a power tailgate are part of the $950 Convenience Package. The advanced Premium Package packs in a head-up display, enhanced USB/Bluetooth, and gesture control for $2,200. For a 7 Series-esque experience, the Executive Package adds features like soft-closing automatic doors, a power rear sunshade, and automatic high beams for $3,800. Also available are a Lighting Package ($1,050), a Luxury Seating Package ($1,600), and the Driver Assistance Plus Package ($1,700). Appealing standalone options are ceramic controls ($650), a leather dashboard ($1,200), and a spectacular Bowers & Wilkins diamond surround sound system for a hefty $4,200.

With the M550i having many of these items included as standard, these optional packages make the most sense for the 530i and 540i, with the Convenience and Premium packages offering a good combination of additional convenience and value.

What BMW 5 Series Sedan Model Should I Buy?

The 540i represents the sweet spot in the 5 Series range. Offering all the performance you could ever need from that creamy turbocharged six-pot, it is also over $17,000 cheaper than the M550i. By adding the executive package and one or two tempting standalone features such as the fabulous multi-contour seats, upgraded Nappa leather, and the Harman Kardon sound system, you'll still come in at more than $10,000 below the M550i's starting price. At the lower end of the range, the 530i is also an exceptional executive sedan, and its lower price leaves even more room to play with when delving into the options list.

Check out other BMW 5 Series Styles?

2020 BMW 5 Series Sedan Comparisons

2020 BMW 5 Series Sedan
2020 BMW 5 Series Sedan

2020 BMW 5 Series Sedan vs BMW 3 Series Sedan

At an earlier stage in its life cycle than the 5 Series, the all-new BMW 3 Series is the more modern-looking and aggressive of the two. An equivalent 330i is also over $12,000 less expensive than the 530i. However, with its latest raft of tech upgrades, the 5 Series now offers the same level of functionality found in the 3. The 3 Series is the more agile handler of the two, but the 5 Series offers a much smoother ride. While the 3 Series has an edgier and more interesting cabin design, it also can't match the 5 Series for material quality. If comfort and a more sedate driving experience are high on your list of priorities, the 5 Series remains worth the extra cost over its younger brother.

See BMW 3 Series Sedan Review

2020 BMW 5 Series Sedan vs Mercedes-Benz E-Class Sedan

These arch rivals are more evenly matched than ever before. While both are conservatively styled, the E-Class' cabin boasts a greater sense of occasion, although actual quality is on par with the 5 Series. The Benz's expansive dual-screen infotainment and instrumentation setup is certainly striking, but the BMW's ergonomics are superior. Both are spacious, provide exceptional performance, and are packed with the latest technologies. However, the 5 Series provides a better ride and handling balance, especially since the E-Class rides a bit too stiffly on its standard suspension. The E-Class also has the smaller trunk capacity of the two. Still, both represent the cream of the mid-size sedan crop, and brand loyalists of each are unlikely to be swayed.

See Mercedes-Benz E-Class Sedan Review

BMW 5 Series Sedan Popular Comparisons

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