Superb balance of handling and ride quality without compromise
Functional interior design using high-quality materials
Generous number of standard and optional high-tech features
Cost of options get expensive quickly
Complicated iDrive system
Ruling: The BMW 5-Series emphasizes performance but does not quite corner with the athleticism BMW loyalists expect. In order to get it to perform with the sporting character most BMW fans expect, you have to purchase several expensive electronic upgrades -- and even then, you’re paying for the sort of handling you get from expensive electronics, not the raw connection to the road that you get from a traditional BMW suspension.
The 2011 BMW 5-Series is an all-new redesign. It is available as the six-cylinder 535i, or the V8-powered 550i, with an extensive array of options packages available for each. A hybrid model is expected, but may not arrive until the 2012 model year.
The 2011 528i features a new 240-hp 3.0-liter, inline-six engine mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission with Steptronic.
The 535i features a new 300-hp 3.0-liter, turbo, inline-six engine, with the choice of an eight-speed automatic or six-speed manual transmission.
The 5-Series Gran Turismo has a sloping fastback roofline and operates a dual-mode hatchback. You can open just the lower part (similar to a sedan's trunk lid) or you can lift the whole hatch upward. Fold down the split rear seats and there's 60 cubic feet of maximum cargo space, less than most compact crossovers but four times the trunk space of a 5 Series sedan. A choice between twin-turbo V8 and turbocharged inline-6 ensures plenty of performance, while optional all-wheel drive (xDrive) offers steady footing in inclement weather.
Debuting on the new 5-series, an optional Park Assistant system will steer the car into a parallel parking space.
Ruling: The 2011 5-Series is a fantastic mid-sized car that you can enjoy as well as sharing that joy with family or friends. It hauls around up to four other passengers in comfort and has go fast capabilities while giving the option of sedate and comfortable. BMW has updated their 5-series but took a safe design approach to reel in the older Gen-X and young boomers. Unfortunately, the price has gotten out of reach for a lot of people during a slow economic recovery.