BMW 5 Series

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BMW 5 Series
BMW 523d Luxury (G30) by Japan specification.jpg
Manufacturer BMW
Production 1972–present
Body and chassis

Executive car

Body style 4-door sedan
5-door station wagon (Touring)
5-door Gran turismo (liftback)
Predecessor BMW New Class

The BMW 5 Series is an executive car manufactured by German automaker BMW since 1972. It is the successor to the 4-door sedan models of the BMW New Class and is currently in its seventh generation.

Initially, the 5 Series was only available in a sedan body style. The touring body style was added in 1991 and the 5-door hatchback ("Gran Touring") was added in 2009.

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 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 began with the first 5 Series.

Currently, seven main generations of BMW 5 Series have followed one another:

  • The E12, from 1972 to 1981
  • The E28, from 1981 to 1988
  • The E34, from 1988 to 1996
  • The E39, from 1996 to 2003
  • The E60, from 2004 to 2010
  • The F10/F11, from 2010 to 2016
  • The G30/G31/G32, from 2016

Most years have seen a Motorsport version of the 5 series, called the BMW M5.

First generation (E12; 1972–1981)[edit]

BMW 518
BMW 528

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,[3][4] 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.[3]

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

Second generation (E28; 1981–1988)[edit]

BMW 528i
BMW 528i

BMW E28 is the second generation BMW 5 Series, launched in 1981. 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 BMW S38 six-cylinder engine. At its launch in 1984, the European specification E28 M5 was the fastest production sedan in the world.[citation needed]

Third generation (E34; 1988–1994)[edit]

BMW 525i
BMW 525i

The BMW E34 is the third generation 5 Series, launched in February 1988. 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.[5] 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.[5] It was also equipped with automatic stability control (ASC) or traction control (ASC+T) in later years on higher-specification variants.[6]

Mechanical changes over its predecessor included the availability of a V8 engine, all-wheel drive and, from 1991, a station wagon ("touring") body style.

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

Fourth generation (E39; 1995–2003)[edit]

BMW 525i Executive
BMW 525i Executive

The BMW E39 is the fourth generation 5 Series, produced from 1996 until 2003. The design draws heavily from the E38 7 Series in body construction and electronic technology[citation needed] and the wheelbase grew by 2.7 in (68 mm) and overall length by 2.2 in (55 mm) over the E34.

The E39 5 Series was introduced into the US market in late 1996 for the 1997 model year. Models available were the 528i with the 2.8 L M52B28 I6 engine and the 540i with the 4.4 L M62B44 V8 engine. Transmission choices included a 5-speed manual or a 5-speed automatic for the 528i and a 6-speed manual or a 5-speed automatic for the 540i. The on-board computer, called the Multi-Information System (MID), was upgraded in mid 1997.

For 1998 optional rear side airbags became available, and both models also gained BMW's exclusive new Head Protection System, which consists of two tubular bags that inflate upon a side impact and pop out just above each front door. A new Sport Package for the 528i and 540i, as well as an automatic transmission 540i were added options. The Sport Package included black body trim (standard models had chrome around the top of the windows), a sport-tuned suspension, and 17-inch wheels and tires. In September 1998, the 540i's M62B44 was updated to the M62TUB44, adding 15 ft·lb (20 Nm) of torque. DSC first became available on 540i with automatic transmission as of 9/97 The high-performance M5 sedan (saloon) returned to the BMW fold. Built in limited numbers, the M5 used a 400 hp (300 kW) V8 S62, and came with a firmer suspension, 18-inch wheels, a 6-speed manual transmission, and exclusive interior trim.[13] Lower-body rear side airbags were standard on the M5, remaining optional for other models.

1999 saw the introduction of the Touring wagon (estate) body style and joined sedans (saloons) in both I6 and V8 versions. New options for 1999 included brighter xenon headlights, Park Distance Control that warns of obstacles when backing up, and self-leveling rear suspension for wagons (estates). Standard on V8 models and newly optional for 528i versions was BMW's Dynamic Stability Control, designed to aid control in fast turns. The M52 2.8 liter I6 engines were now all aluminium block and head with the introduction of double VANOS, as opposed to the previous single VANOS iron block/aluminium head M52.

In 2000, rain-sensing windshield wipers and xenon headlamps became standard on the 540i, and were newly available for 528i models. The "M Sport" package was added (replacing the standard sport package), and included the M Sport steering wheel, door sills, and shift knob. The 528i versions also gained the 540i's standard stability control system. All models now had daytime running lights, and fog lamps.

For the 2001 model year (Cars made from September 2000), BMW updated the E39 with newer, clear-lens tail, side marker, and headlights which first displayed the now-popular "angel eyes." Rear tail lights were changed to "wave-guide" LEDs (Hella, the OEM, refers to these lights as "CELIS"), while the side and rear turn signals were changed from amber lenses to clear. The black trim was now painted to match the body color, and the front bumper now featured rounded fog lights. Internally many changes were made to electronics; items such as window regulators and the air conditioning were updated. The 528i was replaced by the 530i which had a new 170 kW (228 hp) M54B30 3.0 L inline-6. A new entry-level 525i was introduced featuring a 143 kW (192 hp) M54B25 2.5 L I6 and a slightly lower price. The available navigation system was changed to a wide screen version. The front grill was also changed to a new, more pronounced design.

For 2002, BMW Steptronic-equipped E39s had their manual shift direction switched to match BMW's SMG (forwards to downshift, backwards to upshift). Also for 2002, the power of the 540i's 32-valve V8 engine was increased from 282 hp (210 kW) to 290 hp (216 kW) while torque remained the same. All models got a standard in-dash CD player, the 6-cylinder models added a standard power passenger seat, and the 525i received automatic climate control standard.[14] Consumer Reports declared the 2002 BMW E39 the best car they had ever reviewed.

2003 marked the last year for the E39 platform; models for this year were differentiated by the addition of extra chrome trim on the trunk (boot) and on the sides of the body. All 6-cylinder model 5 Series come with a standard sunroof. The optional navigation systems upgraded from CD-ROM format (8 CDs to cover the entire United States and Canada) to a single DVD-ROM.[15] The optional sport package on the 540i carried parts from M-technic. This included a full M-tech ground effects, M-tech II suspension, a high-stall torque converter, a 3.15 to 1 performance rear axle ratio, 18-inch wheels, and a variety of M badging. Isofix/LATCH child seat anchors were added. The E39 estate (touring) was continued into 2004 until the touring version of the new E60 5 Series was released.

Car and Driver often featured the E39 in its "10Best list".[7] The E39 BMW 5 Series was considered the benchmark of its class[8] and Consumer Reports gave the 2001 530i its highest car rating ever.[citation needed]

The E39 M5 uses the BMW S62 V8 engine.

Fifth generation (E60/E61; 2003–2010)[edit]

BMW 530i
BMW 520d

The BMW E60 is the fifth generation 5 Series, produced from 2004–2010. 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.[9]

The E60 represented a significant step forward in technology over the previous generation.[10] 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.

Following the tradition of its previous generation models, the new 5 Series featured a longer and wider chassis while fitted with a new set of active safety and hi-tech components: iDrive, Active Roll Stabilization (ARS), Active Cruise Control (ACC), Park Distance Control (PDC) and a Harman Kardon Logic7 sound system. The 4.4L V8 engine now delivered a revised output of 325 hp and could be mated to either a 6-speed manual/automatic transmission or a newly developed 6-speed Sequential Manual Gearbox featuring steering-wheel-mounted shift paddles. This new generation vehicle also came with a completely new exterior and interior look and was available on both European and North American market. The 530i and 525i got a revised engine in 2006.

The 5 Series sedan received a slight facelift in 2007 called the LCI update. The front and rear fascias were freshened. The idrive was updated to a hard drive based system with a more user-friendly interface. The interior was freshened to a more updated door panel with proper wood inlays versus the old ones which were filled with lots of odd angles and weird sloping lines.

Part of the optional Sport package ($3300) is one of the more curious techno-innovations of the new 5 Series, "Active Steering." Instead of simply lightening the effort of steering at low speeds through a conventional variable-boost system, active steering changes the ratio of the steering. If a driver turns the steering wheel 10 degrees off-center, the front wheels will turn more at lower speeds than at higher speeds.

The E60 BMW M5 uses the BMW S85 V10 engine.

Sixth generation (F10/F11/F07; 2010–2016)[edit]

BMW 520d
BMW 528i

The F10/F11/F07 is the sixth generation 5 Series, produced from 2010–2016. 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.[11]

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.[12][13] 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.[14]

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

A long-wheelbase version is sold in China.[15] 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
BMW 530d Gran Turismo

In 2009, BMW released the 5 Series Gran Turismo (F07), a five-door liftback . The GT is much taller than other fastback/liftback competitors.[16]

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 trunk.[17][18]

The F07 is the first BMW to receive the new ZF eight-speed automatic transmission, along with a new Brake Energy Regeneration system.[19]

BMW 5 Series ActiveHybrid[edit]

BMW ActiveHybrid5
BMW ActiveHybrid5

The hybrid electric concept version of the BMW Hybrid-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%.[20] In 2012, BMW introduced the production version of the 5 Series ActiveHybrid. After the 2013 model year, BMW discontinued the 5 Series Hybrid due to slow sales along with the 3 Series Hybrid and 7 Series Hybrid.[21][22]

Seventh generation (G30/G31; 2016-Present)[edit]

BMW G30 5 Series
BMW G30 5 Series

The seventh generation codenamed G30 was unveiled on 13 October 2016. Improvements over the previous model include weight savings of up to 100 kg and a new design with a drag coefficient of 0.22 Cd. Other improvements include an updated BMW iDrive system that now uses a high-resolution 10.25-inch display, a new head-up display that covers 70% more area as well as selective anti-dazzle high beam headlights with a range of up to 500 metres.[23]

Unlike the previous generation of the 5 Series, the new generation 5 Series does not have a GT variant. The 2017 GT variant will be known as 6 Series GT (G32).

G30 BMW 5 Series in India[edit]

The seventh-generation 5 Series will be launched in India on 29th June 2017. The company will be assembling the CKD (completely knocked down) kits at the Chennai plant. The seventh-gen 5 Series has 7-Series like gesture control, iDrive 6.0 infotainment unit, voice control, and head-up display, and new multi-contour massage seats. BMW claims that the cabin is quieter than ever thanks to extensive use of sound-deadening materials.[24]


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 [25] 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.[26]

Production and sales[edit]

Calendar year Total production US sales China sales
1995 22,637[27]
1996 22,775
1997 228,800[28] -
1998 221,600[28] -
1999 201,400[28] 38,218[29]
2000 191,546[28] 39,703
2001 193,948[28] 40,005[30]
2002 172,323[28] 40,842
2003 185,481[28] 46,964[31]
2004 229,598[28] 45,584[32]
2005 228,389[28] 52,722[33]
2006 232,193[28] 56,756
2007 230,845[34] 54,142
2008 202,287[35] 45,915
2009 175,982[36] 40,109[37]
2010 211,968[38] 39,488 42,076[39]
2011 332,501 51,491[40]
2012 359,016 56,798
2013 366,992[41] 56,863[42]
2014 373,053 52,704[43]
2015 347,096[44] 44,162[45]
2016 331,410[46] 32,408

Current production is located both in Dingolfing, Germany; and Magna Steyr in Austria.


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External links[edit]