Vehicle Overview from Edmunds.com
Edmunds.com 2011 BMW 5 Series Overview
Few models have sustained such a high level of excellence as the BMW 5 Series. Over the course of five generations, the 5 has consistently been one of the best automobiles you could buy, period. Now it's time for generation six to take its place in the automotive world, and all signs are pointing to the 2011 BMW 5 Series raising the bar even higher. This new 5 certainly has a tough act to follow, however, particularly in regards to styling. The last generation represented a radical change to the Series' previous evolutionary look, sporting curves and flourishes that attracted some buyers but repulsed others. For better or worse, the 2011 5 Series returns to a more conservative appearance, one that shows a stronger family resemblance to other BMW sedans. Though it may lack its predecessor's visual extravagance, the new 5 remains a very attractive sedan (the wagon has been discontinued for the United States). At first glance, the model and engine lineup would seem to be unchanged, but in fact, things are quite different. The 528i's 3.0-liter straight-6 now produces 258 horsepower and 228 pound-feet of torque. The 535i's turbocharged 3.0-liter straight-6 is all new despite its similar power output of 306 horses. In particular, BMW has gone with a more efficient single-turbocharger configuration instead of last year's twin-turbo setup. The 550i now gets the same twin-turbo V8 as the 7 Series; it produces 407 hp and 442 lb-ft of torque. This amount of thrust should widen the previously minuscule performance gap between 535i and 550i. An eight-speed automatic transmission is also new. The 2011 5 Series will feature BMW's latest advancements in technology and interior design, specifically in regards to the most recent and greatly improved iDrive electronics interface. The cabin should also be a bit more spacious, though that wasn't an issue with the old car. In total, expect the new 5 Series to successfully follow in the footsteps of its illustrious forefathers. Expect the 535i and 550i in dealers this summer, with the 528i following a few months later. We've yet to drive one, but check back later for a full review and evaluation of the new 2011 BMW 5 Series.