BMW 5 Series

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This article is about BMW executive saloons built since 1972. For the BMW luxury cars built in the 1950s, see BMW 501.
BMW 5 Series
BMW 530d (F10) front-1 20100821.jpg
Manufacturer BMW
Production 1972–present
Body and chassis
Class Executive car / Mid-size luxury car
Body style Sedan
Station wagon ("Touring")
Predecessor BMW New Class

The BMW 5-Series is an executive/mid-size luxury car manufactured by German automaker BMW since 1972. The car, now in its sixth generation, is sold in sedan and touring body styles. It is BMW's second best-selling model after the 3-Series and in 2010 produced about 50% of the BMW's profits.[1]

On January 29, 2008, the 5 millionth 5-Series was manufactured, a 530d Saloon in Carbon Black Metallic.[2]


The pre-facelift 5-Series (left, right) in comparison to the E65 pre-facelift BMW 7 Series (middle)

The 5-Series got its name by being the fifth of the "new series" cars after the V-8 and Isetta era[citation needed] and was the replacement for the older four-door New Class sedans. The current BMW naming convention was introduced with the E12 5-Series.

E12 (1972–1981)[edit]

BMW 5-Series (E12)
Bmw e12 v sst.jpg
Production 1972–1984
699,094 built[3]
Assembly Dingolfing, West Germany
Rosslyn, South Africa
Toluca, Mexico[4][5]
Cairo, Egypt
Shenyang, China
Jakarta, Indonesia
6th of October City, Egypt
Manaus, Brazil
Layout FR layout
Engine four-cylinder petrol
six-cylinder petrol
Transmission 4-speed manual
5-speed manual
Wheelbase 2,600 mm (102.4 in)
Length 4,600 mm (181.1 in)
Width 1,690 mm (66.5 in)
Height 1,425 mm (56.1 in)
Predecessor BMW New Class
Successor BMW E28
Main article: BMW E12

The E12 5-series was produced from 1972-1981 (produced until 1984 in South Africa). The E12 is the first series to bear the 5-Series name: the '5' denoting BMW's fifth 'New Class' platform. Designed as a replacement for the BMW New Class mid-size sedan, the E12 5-Series models were smaller than the large BMW E3 sedan but larger than the two-door 2002 models.

The first generation's body was styled by Paul Bracq and Pietro Frua,[6][7] based on the Bertone 1970 BMW Garmisch 2002ti Geneva show car.[citation needed] The E12 was available only in the sedan body style with a manual transmission. There was an automatic transmission available for US and Japan-only versions.[6]

While there was no E12 BMW M5 produced, the E12 M535i is seen as the predecessor to the M5.

E28 (1981–1988)[edit]

BMW 5-Series (E28)
1987 BMW 520i LUX.jpg
Manufacturer BMW
Production 1981–1988
722,328 built[3]
Engine four-cylinder petrol
six-cylinder petrol
six-cylinder diesel
Wheelbase 2,628 mm (103.5 in)
Length 4,620 mm (182 in)
Width 1,700 mm (67 in)
Predecessor BMW E12
Successor BMW E34
Main article: BMW E28

BMW E28 is the second-generation BMW 5-Series, produced from 1981-1988. Styling changes to this model included revised headlights, thicker rubber bumper surrounds and large rectangular taillights. Mechanical changes included the addition of a six-cylinder diesel engine (in both naturally aspirated and turbocharged forms) and an automatic transmission.

The M5 model line began with the BMW E28 M5, which uses the S38 six-cylinder engine. At its launch in 1984, the European specification E28 M5 was the fastest production sedan in the world.[citation needed]

E34 (1988–1996)[edit]

BMW 5-Series (E34)
E34 525i skyline.jpg
Production 1988–1996
1,333,412 built[8]
Assembly Dingolfing, Germany
Toluca, Mexico[9]
Designer Claus Luthe; Ercole Spada (1982, 1985)[10][11]
Body and chassis
Body style sedan
station wagon
Layout FR layout
all-wheel drive
Engine four-cylinder petrol
six-cylinder petrol
V8 petrol
six-cylinder diesel
Wheelbase 2,761 mm (108.7 in)[12]
Length 4,720 mm (185.8 in)
Width 1,751 mm (68.9 in)
Main article: BMW E34

The BMW E34 is the third-generation 5-Series, produced from 1988-1996. It had a stiffer body and was more streamlined than its predecessor.[citation needed] The E34 was among the most reliable luxury cars on the market, earning the best-in-class ratings from Intellichoice in 1991, and still considered one of the most reliable BMWs ever made.[13] It was also one of the safest cars on the road during its production, providing airbags, 4-wheel anti-lock brakes, and a very rigid body structure to protect occupants in the event of an accident.[13] It was also equipped with automatic stability control (ASC) or traction control (ASC+T) in later years on higher-specification variants.[14]

Mechanical changes over its predecessor included the availability of a V8 engine, all-wheel drive and a station wagon ("touring") body style.

The BMW E34 M5 uses upgraded versions of the S38 six-cylinder engine.

E39 (1995–2003)[edit]

BMW 5-Series (E39)
2000-2003 BMW 525i (E39) Executive sedan (2010-10-02) 01.jpg
Production 1995–2003 (sedan)
1996–2003 (station wagon)
Assembly Germany: Dingolfing
Mexico: Toluca[15]
Russia: Kaliningrad[16]
Layout FR layout
six-cylinder petrol
V8 petrol
four-cylinder diesel
six-cylinder diesel
Transmission 5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
5-speed automatic
6-speed manual
Wheelbase 2,830 mm (111.4 in)
Length 4,775 mm (188.0 in) (saloon)
4,806 mm (189.2 in) (estate)
Width 1,801 mm (70.9 in)
Main article: BMW E39

The BMW E39 is the fourth-generation 5-Series, produced from 1995-2003. The design draws heavily from the E38 7 Series in body construction and electronic technology[citation needed] and the wheelbase grew by 68 millimetres (2.7 in) and overall length by 55 millimetres (2.2 in) over the E34.

Car and Drive often featured the E39 in its "10Best list".[17] The E39 BMW 5-series was considered the benchmark of its class[18] and Consumer Reports gave the 2001 530i its highest car rating ever.[citation needed]

The BMW E39 M5 uses the S62 V8 engine.

E60/E61 (2003–2010)[edit]

BMW 5-Series (E60/E61)
BMW 530i (E60) Facelift 20090615 front.JPG
Production March 2003-2010
Assembly Dingolfing, Germany
Chennai, India
Rayong, Thailand
Toluca, Mexico[19]
6th of October City, Egypt[20][21]
Shenyang, China (BMW Brilliance)[22]
Kaliningrad, Russia (Avtotor)[23]
Jakarta, Indonesia (Gaya Motor)
Designer Davide Arcangeli (2000)[24]
Body and chassis
Body style sedan (E60)
station wagon ("touring", E61)
Layout FR layout
all-wheel drive
Engine four-cylinder petrol
six-cylinder petrol
V8 petrol
V10 petrol
four-cylinder diesel
six-cylinder diesel
Transmission 6-speed manual
6-speed automatic
7-speed SMG
Wheelbase 2,888 mm (113.7 in)
Length 4,841 mm (190.6 in)
Width 1,846 mm (72.7 in)
Main article: BMW E60

The BMW E60 is the fifth-generation 5-Series, produced from 2003-2010. Its non-traditional styling (designed by Chris Bangle and Adrian van Hooydonk) and many of its features received mixed reviews. Despite criticism over its exterior design and interior electronics, this became the best-selling 5-Series.[25]

The E60 represented a significant step forward in technology over the previous generation.[26] The controversial iDrive interface is used to control many aspects of the vehicle. All-wheel drive returned as an option to the 5-series for the E60. The E60 535i is the first 5-series to use a turbocharged petrol engine.

The BMW E60 M5 uses the S85 V10 engine.

F10/F11/F07 (2010-present)[edit]

BMW 5-series (F10/F11/F07)
2011 BMW 535i -- NHTSA 2.jpg
Production 2010–present
Assembly Dingolfing, Germany
Cairo, Egypt(BAG)
Toluca, Mexico[27]
Rayong, Thailand
Shenyang, China(BMW Brilliance)[28]
Kaliningrad, Russia (Avtotor)
Shah Alam, Selangor, Malaysia[29][30]
Chennai, India
Jakarta, Indonesia (Gaya Motor)
Designer Jacek Fröhlich (Sedan) [2006][31]
Jean-Francois Alexandre Huet (Station Wagon) [2008][32]
Body and chassis
Body style saloon (F10)
station wagon (F11)
five-door fastback (F07)
Layout FR layout
all-wheel drive
Engine four-cylinder petrol
six-cylinder petrol
V8 petrol
four-cylinder diesel
six-cylinder diesel
Transmission 6-speed manual
8-speed ZF 8HP automatic
Wheelbase 2,968 mm (116.9 in)
Length 4,899–4,907 mm (192.9–193.2 in) (2011- sedan)
Width 1,860 mm (73.2 in)
Main article: BMW F10

The F10/F11/F07 is the sixth-generation 5-Series, produced from 2010–present. The platform is based on the F01 7 Series; improvements include a front dual ball joint short-long arm suspension (replacing the MacPherson strut suspensions BMW previously used), and a rear multilink suspension.[33]

The interior marks the return of the centre console being clearly angled towards the driver, another marked change from its immediate predecessor which was noted for its non traditional BMW design.[34][35] However, opinion is divided, as a reviewer described the F10 as too bland and conservative, compared to the E60 predecessor, as well as having too much of a resemblance to the E90 3-Series.[36]

The F10 M5 uses the S63 twin-turbocharged V8 engine and is the first M3 or M5 to use forced induction.

A long-wheelbase version is sold in China.[37] Mexican-built armored BMW 5 vehicles are also built on the wheelbase from the Chinese long-wheelbase model. This armoured model is known as the BMW 5 Security and only is available in long-wheelbase form with the 4.4L V8 engine.

5-Series Gran Turismo (F07)[edit]

BMW 535i Gran Turismo

In 2009, BMW released the 5-Series Gran Turismo (F07), a five-door fastback of similar body style to the Porsche Panamera. The GT is taller than other fastback competitors.[38]

The F07 (designed by Christopher Weil) shares the same F01 7 Series-derived platform, powertrain, and mechanical package with the F10. However, the F07's fascia has different headlights and bumper, with a larger split-kidney grille similar to that of the F01 7 Series. The F07 is also taller, resulting in a higher center of gravity and its greater length allows for more rear legroom.[citation needed] The F07 also features frameless doors and a double-pane liftgate truck.[39]

The F07 is the first BMW to receive the new ZF eight-speed automatic transmission, along with a new Brake Energy Regeneration system.[40]

BMW 5-Series ActiveHybrid[edit]

The hybrid electric concept version of the BMW 5-series, introduced as BMW Concept 5-Series ActiveHybrid, was unveiled at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show. The use of BMW ActiveHybrid technology allows the hybrid electric version to reduce both fuel consumption and emissions by more than 10%.[41] In 2012, BMW introduced the production version of the 5-series ActiveHybrid.[42][43]


The E39 5-Series was on Car and Driver magazine's annual Ten Best list for six years straight, from its introduction in 1997 through 2002. It was also Motor Trend's Import Car of the Year for 1997 and What Car? Executive Car of the Year 1997 through 2002. The E60 was named "Best New Luxury / Prestige Car" in the 2006 Canadian Car of the Year awards. Active Seat [44] continuous passive motion seating comfort technology recognized as one of the Best Inventions of 1998 by Popular Science magazine. Consumer Reports found the E39 5-series their best car tested in 2001–2002. The JB car pages have awarded the BMW 5-Series a best-in-class 4 1/2 star rating.[45]

Production and sales[edit]


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External links[edit]