The big news is the return of the M5. It rolled into dealerships this past summer with a turbo V-8 in place of the previous V-10. Despite losing two cylinders, the M5 makes more power: 560 hp. Buyers choose a manual transmission or a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. Also new is the ActiveHybrid 5. Unfortunately, its six-cylinder hybrid powertrain has no real fuel economy advantage over the (much cheaper) 528i.
The 5-series emerged more handsome from a redesign in 2011. It also got new mechanicals. Fuel economy is impressive, as the 528i and the 535i benefit from auto stop/start, which shuts down the engine when idling at a stop. The 528i uses a 2.0-liter turbo four, which actually makes a bit more power than the previous six—in fact, it’s more efficient than the hybrid. The ActiveHybrid 5, as it’s known, is better to drive than most hybrids but isn’t as economical as it could be. The latest 5 has taken some knocks for its diminished steering feel, but the chassis deftly combines a plush ride and superior handling. The sport package and the M sport package take things further and include dynamic damper control and an increased top-speed limiter. A manual transmission is available for the rear-wheel-drive 535i and 550i. All-wheel-drive models, the 528i, and the Gran Turismo use an eight-speed automatic, and it’s one of the best automatics on the market. The 5-series Gran Turismo hatchback has replaced the wagon and is sort of a cross between the X5 SUV and the 5-series sedan. Its sloping roofline gives it rather odd proportions, but its long wheelbase makes for plentiful rear-seat legroom (as much as in a 7-series), and, of course, it has lots of cargo space with the rear seats down.
Front, side, and side curtain air bags; active head restraints for the front seats; traction and stability control; ABS; and a tire-pressure monitor are standard. The Gran Turismo additionally has knee air bags. Lane-departure warning, blind-spot assist, and night vision are optional. BMW Assist with automated crash response is standard.
- Fuel economy (528i, 535i)
- Manual available
- Athletic handling
You won't like:
- Steering isn’t as sharp as it used to be
- GT is not easy on the eyes
Key Competitors For The 2013 BMW 5-series
- Audi A6/A7
- Cadillac CTS
- Infiniti M
- Mercedes-Benz E-class
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