What's New – Visually, the 2008 BMW 5 Series differs little from the 2007 model it replaces, but what's under the hood is another story. The lineup starts with a 230-horsepower six-cylinder, adds a twin-turbo six for the new 535i, and keeps climbing with the 360-horse V-8 in the 550i and 500-horsepower V-10 in the mighty M5.
What We Think: We'll be among the last to complain about added power under the hood, and the ever-so-slight styling changes provide little to complain about. Overall, the updated BMW 5 Series fires on all cylinders, but the horrible SMG transmission ruins what is otherwise an outstanding M5 model.
BMW 5 Series -- 2008 Review: If the 2008 BMW 5 Series was a woman, she'd be ticked.
Admittedly a male perspective, but an accurate one. For any of the men out there who have bumped into a mother, sister, girlfriend, or pretty much any close female acquaintance after her trip to the salon, the importance of attention to detail is well understood. A quarter-inch cut off the back? A darker shade of chestnut brown? The unwise gent allows such monumental changes to go unnoticed at his own peril.
Thankfully, missing the subtle changes exhibited by the refreshed 5 Series risks no such consequences, which is good since the keenest observers may need some time to flush out updates such as revised fascias, reworked headlights, and the placement of little LED bulbs in the sides of the taillights. The subtlety theme carries into the interior, as well.
The engines have undergone more drastic changes, ones that make this story worth telling. There are now four choices, including a 230-horsepower base six-cylinder, a twin-turbocharged grin-inducer borrowed from the 335i, a muscular V-8, and a 500-horse V-10 reserved for use in the almighty M5.
New headlights and interior materials are nice, but an expanded powerplant lineup that ranges from the competent to the brutal, that’s the stuff that’s sure to grab a whole lot of attention every time – no matter who you are.