All-new just last year, the 2018 BMW 5 Series lineup expands with the V8-powered M550i xDrive and the efficient 530e plug-in hybrid. No matter which of the four available powertrains you choose, the 5 Series boasts the premium amenities and stately style that have made it the benchmark among midsize-luxury-sports sedans for over 40 years.
You'll Like The 2018 BMW 5 Series If...
If you want a midsize-luxury sedan with all the expected premium trappings, loads of technology and an edge for drivers who favor sporty driving dynamics, the 2018 BMW 5 Series remains the one to beat. Powertrains now range from fuel-miserly 4-cylinder models to a voracious V8 with all-wheel drive.
You May Not Like The 2018 BMW 5 Series If...
Subjectively, you might find the 5 Series' styling too conservative. If you eye a Volvo S90 or Lexus GS instead, you'll also benefit from a lower starting price and, with the Lexus, higher resale value. If you want a diesel luxury sedan, your choices have dwindled to the Jaguar XF.
All-new last year when it arrived in 4- and 6-cylinder form, the 2018 BMW 5 Series lineup expands with the V8 M550i xDrive and 530e, a plug-in hybrid that pairs a 4-cylinder engine and electric powertrain. The 5 Series Gran Turismo hatch is no more. If you want to go all the way over the top, check out the high-performance M5 (reviewed separately).
This 2018 BMW 5 Series' elegant dash is covered in SensaTec faux leather or the real thing, has a horizontal layout, and controls for climate and audio are sensibly laid out. A 10.25-inch screen relays navigation, audio, car data and more. The jet-fighter transmission lever looks cool but can be awkward initially. The 5 Series executive sedan uses BMW's latest iDrive 6.0 system, whose rotary control also has touch-based operation (and optional gesture control). The rear seat is roomy, and at 18.7 cubic feet, the trunk is huge.
This latest-generation, 2018 5 Series remains quite conservative, and we for one don't mind that. Mercifully, there's no gaping grille, just the latest treatment of BMW's signature twin-kidney design, flanked by headlight housings that now meet each grille's edge. Overall the 5 Series' message is one of maturity and strength. On 530e models, there's what appears to be a fuel-cap door just aft the driver-side wheel. Don't try to use it for gasoline. Rather, that's where you plug in an electric cord to charge the battery. The performance-oriented M550i xDrive model has unique, more aggressive-looking front and rear fascias.
Four different powertrains equal four flavors of the 5 Series. Though small in size, the turbocharged 4-cylinder in 530i models does a commendable job propelling this substantial sedan, enabling 0-60-mph sprints in six seconds or less. Drivers will find more grunt in the 540i and its turbocharged 6-cylinder that cuts 0-60 to under five seconds. The most powerful 5 Series outside of an M5 is the new M550i xDrive, a turbocharged V8 5 Series that puts 456 horsepower to all four wheels. With a 0-60-mph time of 3.9 seconds, it's faster than the last M5. The 530e plug-in hybrid offers up to 29 mpg combined, but power delivery from the gasoline engine and electric motor isn't as linear as the other, gasoline-only models. This German luxury sedan is highly satisfying thanks to great steering feel, a quiet cabin, and the ability to strike a balance between agile handling and overall comfort.
The 2018 BMW 5 530i model has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting just over $52,000. The 530e iPerformance plug-in hybrid starts at just $200 more. The 6-cylinder 540i sedan begins over $57,000. Adding the xDrive AWD system to any of those models is an extra $2,300. The powerful M550i xDrive is a sizable step up, with a starting price of over $73,000. An option-loaded M550i xDrive can pass the $80,000 mark. At these prices, the 5 Series sedan starts just shy of its Mercedes-Benz E-Class rival. Other competitors, from the Audi A6 and Lexus GS to the Jaguar XF and Volvo S90, all have a lower starting price. Before buying, check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others near you are paying for their new 5 Series. The BMW 5 Series' resale value has traditionally lagged behind that of the segment-leading Lexus GS.
Befitting a $50,000-plus luxury sedan, even a base 2018 BMW 530i is well-equipped. You'll get mighty fine 16-way-adjustable front seats, moonroof, navigation system with real-time traffic information, 18-inch wheels, universal garage opener, and LED headlights. Standard audio is a 205-watt/12-speaker system with AM/FM/Bluetooth, USB and something that's becoming harder to find on new cars -- a CD player. As is oft the case with German luxury cars, a rearview camera is extra, as is a genuine leather interior. In addition to its more powerful engine, the 540i does include leather upholstery and opens the door to more options.
Another BMW trait is a plethora of options, ranging from advanced safety systems to that diamond-infused Bowers & Wilkins audio system. A variety of driver-assistance systems brings the 5 Series another step closer to semi-autonomous driving. In addition to active cruise control and blind-spot monitoring, the Side Collision Avoidance system can steer the car to evade a vehicle drifting into your lane. The Luxury Seating Package adds ventilation and massaging functionality to the front seats. If you routinely drive in snowy, slick conditions, consider the xDrive all-wheel-drive system. Apple CarPlay compatibility is available, but $300 extra.
REAR- OR ALL-WHEEL DRIVE (RWD, AWD)
Every version of the 5 Series is available with traction-enhancing all-wheel drive, which BMW calls xDrive. This is true even in the 530e plug-in hybrid, and standard in the new M550i, where the AWD system helps put all its power to the ground.
REMOTE CONTROL PARKING
Wanna impress folks? Step outside your car and have it park itself. Once fantasy, it's now reality in 540i and M550i xDrive models. This feature -- commanded by you via the key fob -- is especially useful for fitting the car into tight spaces where it'd be difficult to open the door.
Under the Hood
Four turbocharged powertrains are available. The base 530i has a 248-horsepower 4-cylinder; the midtrim 540i an inline-6 good for 335 horsepower, and at the top is the M550i xDrive’s 456-horsepower V8. The new 550e plug-in hybrid marries a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine with an electric-propulsion system, which can be charged in less than seven hours on a standard 120-volt outlet or less than three on a 240-volt system. The 530e can travel up to 16 miles on electricity alone. All 5 Series models use an 8-speed automatic transmission. Except for the M550i xDrive that is only available with AWD, all models can be had in standard RWD or AWD. The 5 Series uses an engine start/stop system to save fuel at idle, but it is defeatable.
2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 (530i sedan)
248 horsepower @ 5,200-6,500 rpm
258 lb-ft of torque @ 1,450-4,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy, est.: 24/34 mpg (RWD), 23/33 mpg (AWD)
2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 + AC synchronous electric motor (530e plug-in hybrid)
248 horsepower (combined)
310 lb-ft or torque (combined)
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 29 mpg (combined, RWD), 28 mpg (combined, AWD), 72 mpge (RWD), 67 mpg (AWD)
3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6 (540i sedan)
335 horsepower @ 5,500-6,500 rpm
332 lb-ft of torque @ 1,380-5,200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy, est.: 20/30 mpg (RWD), 20/29 mpg (AWD)
4.4-liter turbocharged V8 (M550i xDrive)
456 horsepower @ 5,500-6,000 rpm
480 lb-ft of torque @ 1,800-4,750 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/25 mpg
The BMW 5 Series midsize-luxury sedan entered its seventh generation just last year as an all-new model, boasting evolved driving manners, premium accouterments and the stately style that have made it the automotive prize of executives for decades. In addition to the sporty dynamics and sense of engagement that have long given the 5 Series a performance edge over rivals like the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Lexus GS and Audi A6, the latest 5 Series is brimming with technology that can do everything from self-parking to collision avoidance. For 2018, the 5 Series' initial lineup of turbocharged 4- and 6-cylinder models is joined by the V8-powered M550i xDrive and 530e plug-in hybrid, which encourage even more performance on one end and efficiency on the other.