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The 2016 BMW 5-Series family may be ripe for an all-new generation next year, but it remains right in tune with its sport-sedan roots—offering classic mid-size sport-sedan proportions, sharp, responsive driving dynamics, and just the right amount of luxury as you need it. And it's all without compromise, thanks to some of the world's leading powertrain, chassis, and safety technology, of course.
Yet the 5-Series doesn't have it as easy today as it did a decade or two ago. Today enthusiasts' hearts and minds are also being won by models like the Cadillac CTS, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Jaguar XF, and Audi S6 and S7. To that, we'd say that the current 5-Series does a pretty great job countering its rivals, and the prevailing currents of complex, sometimes overwrought sport-sedan designs, with this current generation of the 5-Series, which fights the bloat and returns to a traditional, almost retro look, with a lowered belt line, more greenhouse space, and less of a wedge-like profile. The Bangle Butt and BMW's dabbling with modern, more malleable cues are distant memories; this generation has been a return to form—one that most people will agree has aged very well, with the current car now into its sixth year.
The current version of the BMW 5-Series may be entering its sixth year on the market, yet it manages to fit right in with BMW's current lineup. Give credit to a design that's lean, masculine, and rather ageless, it seems—with classic sport-sedan proportions.
It makes sense that this model still fits right in so late in its product cadence, as it signaled a change in the look of BMW sedans—a look that was mostly followed by the revamp of the 3-Series a couple of years later. It marked a return to a more upright look, with a visually lower belt line, more of a greenhouse, and less of a wedge-like look, as well as more formal styling in back. Remember the "Bangle Butt?" It's distant history at this point, and the current 5-Series returns to the classic form that hasn't been followed in the same way since the early 2000s and the E39 5-Series.
The 5-Series departs the most from its driver-oriented sport-sedan past inside. It's still driver-centered, but just in a different way. Rather than a cockpit-like layout there's a rather low, horizontal dash layout and pushed-out corners that altogether helps maximize a feeling of spaciousness. Major controls and displays are angled six degrees toward the driver, and to store away electronics, out of sight, there’s a rather wide center console that opens wide.
From steering and suspension, to turbocharged powertrains and even available hybrid hardware, the 2016 BMW 5-Series loads on the performance-related technologies. Yet even on some of the most curvy, dynamically demanding roads, the driving experience feels remarkably connected and direct, and the new-generation turbocharged engines are actually more responsive than their predecessors.
At the base level, the 528i includes a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-4, making 240 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. If you don't mind a slightly more agricultural 4-cylinder sound in place of the sonorous sixes of the recent past, the base 528i does the job well, too—and much more frugally—while actually feeling stronger than the base sixes used in the last-generation car. Peak torque for the turbocharged-4 is reached at just 1,250 rpm, and the excellent 8-speed automatic transmission makes the most of it, responding quickly when needed, and lugging along happily at low rpm for fuel efficiency when the revs aren't warranted.
Thanks to all the engineering effort that results in the 5-Series, this sport-sedan lineup for the most part doesn't sacrifice much comfort for all the performance it offers. The only caution is that, with its mid-size proportions and rear-wheel-drive layout, it simply doesn't offer as much interior space as some family-oriented sedans.
That said, provided you're okay with a somewhat tight back seat, the quiet, refined cabin, firm but compliant ride, and great interior trims will likely please passengers nearly as much as the driver.
The 2016 5-Series has front seats that are essentially just as good as those in the larger 7-Series; they're as comfortable supportive as we’ve come to expect from BMW, with extendable lower cushion supports for taller drivers. Even on base models they're the kind that, even with back issues, you could rack hundreds of miles per day in.
*This vehicle is Certified Pre-Owned and is eligible for our third party warranty program.