This feels like a massive improvement.
We knew it was coming after numerous teasers and several leaks but the 2021 BMW 5 Series is finally here. As a reminder, this is not an all-new model but is merely a facelift of the current, seventh-generation 5 Series. That being said, there are many significant upgrades here for a simple facelift. Pictured here in 530e (blue) and 540i (white) guises, the 2021 5 Series will actually be available with four different engine options.
The 530i and 530i xDrive act as the base cars with a 248 horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine. New 530e and 530e xDrive PHEV models join the range, now producing 288 hp. The mid-level 540i and 540i xDrive are still powered by a turbocharged inline-six producing 335 hp but now feature a 48-volt mild-hybrid system similar to competitors from Audi and Mercedes-Benz. A range-topping M550i xDrive model will sit below the upcoming M5 facelift and feature a 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 producing 523 hp.
The 530i and M550i are carryovers under the hood but the 530e and 540i models both receive significant improvements. The 530e and 530e xDrive feature a new generation of BMW's eDrive technology with a 181 hp 2.0-liter gasoline engine paired with a 107 hp electric motor. A new XtraBoost feature yields an additional 40 hp for up to 10 seconds when the throttle is fully pressed, yielding a 0-60 mph time of 5.7 seconds. The electric range has not been confirmed yet but should be slightly improved over last year's model, which was quoted at 20 miles.
As for the inline-six-powered 540i, it now features a 48-volt starter-generator to improve fuel economy and make the stop/start smoother. The system can recapture energy when coasting or braking that can be used to supply 11 hp when the turbocharger isn't fully spooled. BMW says the 540i will hit 60 mph in 4.9 seconds or 4.6 seconds with xDrive. For reference, the 530i hits 60 mph in 5.9 seconds (5.8 with xDrive) while the V8-powered M550i xDrive takes just 3.6 seconds. All fuel economy figures are yet to be determined.
All 2021 5 Series models have been given a new front fascia with an updated kidney grille design and sculpted LED headlights while the rear end features new L-shaped taillights and trapezoidal tailpipe finishers. M Sport Package CARS benefit from redesigned front and rear bumpers, larger front air intakes with mesh inserts, and a re-sculptured rear diffuser. The M550i xDrive model receives an Aerodynamic kit from the M Sport Package, adding a rear trunk lid spoiler and Cerium Grey exterior accents.
Inside, the 5 Series has been given a massive technology upgrade with standard Live Cockpit Professional with iDrive 7. This system includes a 12.3-inch digital instrument display and a 12.3-inch touchscreen that now features both Apple CarPlay and long-awaited Android Auto. Perforated SensaTec upholstery comes standard on four- and six-cylinder models while Dakota Leather comes standard on the M550i and optional on other models. Sports seats are the standard chairs on lower models while M Multi-contour seats come standard on the M550i xDrive.
Even though fuel economy has not been announced, BMW has already priced out all 2021 5 Series variants apart from the still-to-be-released M5. Pricing starts at $54,200 for the 530i while xDrive brings it to $56,500. The plug-in hybrid 530e and 530e xDrive cost $57,200 and $59,500 respectively and should qualify for a federal tax credit. BMW has priced the inline-six-powered 540i and 540i xDrive at $59,450 and $61,750 respectively while the range-topping M550i xDrive sees a large price jump to $76,800.
Order books open in May 2020 with the first deliveries scheduled as soon as July 2020.