2017 BMW 530i/540i XDrive
Life has never been harder for the BMW 5 series. After defining what it means to be a middle weight luxury sport sedan for 45 years, they’ve seen upstarts equal and even beat them at their own game. But for its diehard fans, only a 5-series will do. And for them, BMW unleashes the best “5” yet!
Few cars have the ability to stir emotions like the BMW 5 Series. Indeed, driving this latest 7th generation, all-new for 2017, was a life altering experience for some of our staffers.
What could possibly bring out such sentiment for a four-door sedan?
Well for starters, there are lots of technology goodies; from one of the best Head-Up displays we’ve seen, to a dynamic instrument cluster, gesture control, Bowers & Wilkins surround sound, and a smart key that allows you to control the car no matter where you are, and even has the car pull out of a tight parking space for you.
But the slickest feature by far, is the 3D surround view camera system that lets you see around your car like having your own personal camera drone. You can even access the cameras from your smartphone when you’re away from the car.
But much more importantly than all of that, BMW has been on a mission of late, to bring the BMW back to being a true BMW; by giving us some honest-to-goodness steering feel, even though it may not be the most efficient thing to do. That’s the kind of “connectivity” we still desire in a sport sedan.
There’s more power as well. Base engine is a new 2.0-liter turbo-4; putting out 8-more horsepower than before at 248, with 258 lb-ft. of torque. Of course in BMW logic, this requires a name change, from 528i to 530i.
Next up is a new 3.0-liter turbo-6 with 335-horsepower, a gain of 35; and 332 lb-ft. of torque. Likewise, it changes from 535i to 540i. xDrive all-wheel-drive is available with either engine. An “M” V8 and alternative power sources will follow shortly.
For hitting the track, the 540i xDrive was our weapon of choice. And after nailing the gas, it was Auf Wiedersehen as we go down the track; thanks to strong torque and loads of xDrive grip, hitting 60 in just 4.7-seconds.
All 5 Series’ come with BMW’s Steptronic 8-speed automatic transmission; which delivered quick, firm shifts whether triggered manually or left in auto. The 540 cleared the ¼ in 13.2-seconds at 109 miles-per-hour.
There was great balance on our handling course, with the ability to dial up equal amounts of over or understeer depending on how aggressive you are with throttle and steering inputs. It made for a blazingly fast, tire howlin’ trip through the cones.
Good heft to the wheel, with some real feedback; made things much better too.
Of course times being what they are, there are enough active safety features here for borderline autonomous driving; and when forced to take control, it does so with mild aggression.
Despite dropping a few lbs. from last gen, the new 5 is a little over an inch longer than before; as well as marginally taller and wider.
Things are beautiful inside, and perhaps not as sterile as before, though the layout remains delightfully familiar. Definitely a more inviting space than before, and at the risk of sounding blasphemous, almost Acura-like in its blending of luxury and tech.
We’re now in our 6th iteration of iDrive, and it continues to improve with every update; with even…oh my gosh…a touchscreen interface.
Front seats are very comfortable, and the split-folding rear seating area has ample room for three adults, or you can make it a cozier space by adding a center console and other luxury hardware.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings range from a two-wheel-drive 530i’s 24-City, 34-Highway, and 27-Combined; to the 540i xDrive’s 20-City, 29-Highway, and 23-Combined. We averaged 29.4 miles-per-gallon of Premium in the 530; 26.5 in the 540.
The 530i’s Energy Impact Score is 12.2-barrels of yearly oil use with 5.4 tons of CO2 emissions.
Base pricing ticks up a grand over last year at $52,195 for a 530i; 540is start at $57,445; with xDrive adding another $2,300 to either.
So, while things may be tougher than ever in the mid-size luxury sport sedan segment, the 2017 BMW 5 Series is better equipped than ever to maintain its place as the benchmark of the segment. Bad news if you’re a rival; good news if the lease on your current 5 Series is about to come to an end.
- Engine: 2.0 liter / 3.0 liter
- Horsepower: 248 / 335
- Torque: 258 lb-ft. / 332 lb-ft.
- 0-60 mph (540i xDrive): 4.7 seconds (540i xDrive)
- 1/4 mile (540i xDrive): 13.2 seconds @ 109 mph
- EPA: 24-City, 34-Highway (For 530i) / 20-City, 29-Highway (For 540i xDrive)
- Energy Impact (530i): 12.2 barrels of oil/yr
- CO2 Emissions (530i): 5.4 tons/yr