BMW 5 Series 530i Sedan M Sport Review
Famous Five-er

Words and Photos by Clifford Chow
17 Feb 2021
 

We like how confident the 5 Series feels around the bends, the Adaptive Suspension which to me is an important inclusion, brings about even more refinement to the driving experience...

So here it is! The updated BMW mid-tier luxury sedan, the 5 Series. BMW claims that it's greener, and therefore better... and well… we actually love it.

Over the last decade-and-a-little more, BMW has been including terms like ‘Sustainability’ in its corporate language, and have preferred to use the wider-encompassing term, ‘Joy’ even more than the ‘The Ultimate Driving Machine’ we have come to know as its brand mantra. All of this is for a good reason, since there is growing pressure from various governments for reduced emissions, and reduced everything else (fun included).

The facelifted BMW 5 Series isn’t simply one which the Munich-based luxury car manufacturer simply slaps on a few fancy bits of styling updates and calls it a day. It is after all one of their cornerstone models, where right at the tip of the lineup, sits the iconic M5.

Back on the part about the styling, the facelift or Life Cycle Impulse (LCI) sees BMW upping their game, with all 5 Series models now receiving trapezoidal tailpipe finishers, once reserved for the models with fancier kit. The frontal design has been tweaked with a wider and taller grille that drops into the front apron. The most noticeable change is tidying up of the car’s rear-end, with a new L-shaped tail light design, which ties in with their current design language.

Those who would prefer a more enthusiastically styled car, will appreciate the goodies that comes with the M Sport Edition package, with wind-cheating-inspired bits in the front and rear. You will also snag yourself those pretty BMW Individual Air Performance Wheels.

Inside

The most important update that BMW has added to the LCI 5 Series, is the BMW’s Operating System 7.0, which is now fronted by a larger 12.3” screen. This includes the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant - essentially a concierge for your car’s functions. Just like most of the cars in their current range, the Personal Assistant makes it even easier to operate the infotainment system while on the go, activated simply just by saying ‘Hey BMW’. The voice recognition in our experience is arguably the best the industry has to offer. Both Apple and Android devices are supported, and those who are often on the go, will appreciate the mobile charging pad in-front of the cup holders.

Our test car, which is a 530i also gets the ‘more bells and whistles’ BMW Live Cockpit Professional, while entry 520i models are equipped with BMW Live Cockpit Plus. 

One of the features that BMW has ditched in their 5 Series cars here, is their innovative Gesture Control, which we did get to experience in the 540i, when this G30 model was first launched. While it did come in useful, and we enjoyed how it worked, those like me who speak with animated hand gestures would quickly find ourselves adjusting the volume, or switching radio stations.

The bulk of the LCI car’s interior remains the same, where comfortable and supportive front and rear seats, coated with cognac-coloured leather upholstery in our test car, a dash with aluminium accents and patterned plastic surfaces come together with a hint of sporting intent. Buyers who opt for the 530i M Sport Edition will also get to enjoy the super supportive bucket-style M multifunction seats, which were previously exclusive to the M5. 

The Drive

The biggest change to the 5 Series range comes in the form of their new 48V Mild Hybrid System, which is paired to their existing range of engines. The system utilises a starter generator that taps power from a separate battery providing an extra 11hp of shove (the same for both 520i and 530i models), the hybrid system also powers the car’s myriad electrical componentry, when the 5 Series comes to a stop. One of the features that has disappeared, is the car’s engine ‘Start-Stop’ cancellation, sited below the ‘Start’ button, now filled in with a button blank.

The 2.0 turbocharged four-cylinder engine is tuned to deliver 252hp and 350Nm, and while there is an additional electrically-driven 11hp somewhere in the mix, the increase in weight caused by the hybrid drive system and the battery has blunted the car’s performance a little. The century sprint takes 0.2 seconds longer, but 6.4 seconds is still pleasantly rapid. That said, the Mild Hybrid System does improve fuel figures, where the pre-facelifted 530i officially did a combined 16.1km/l, the LCI model clocks in at 17.9km/l. We managed 17km/l flat. Pretty impressive if you ask me, since I attained this figure with just their normal drive mode, and had not switched it to ECO Pro, which essentially makes the car too sluggish for my liking.

Acceleration is smooth, with gear changes effortlessly managed by a well-sorted 8-speed ZF-sourced 8HP family automatic transmission, feeding the drive to the rear wheels. Apart from the Operating System 7 being able to wind down the window of your choosing, it also is able to switch to ‘Sport’ mode with my favourite command, “Hey BMW! I’m bored!”, which also switches to sports displays that appear on the infotainment screen.

We like how confident the 5 Series feels around the bends, the Adaptive Suspension which to me is an important inclusion, brings about even more refinement to the driving experience, stiffening up when you need it to; but on stress-free days, where you want to take things easier, it irons out lumps on the road, delivering business-class comfort, while you go about with your business. However, the 20” rim and runflat tyre combo, where the latter which has now become commonplace to save on weight, does mar the experience a little.

Fitting for an Executive sedan, the revised 5 Series carries a suite of convenience features, including its Park Assist, which automatically parks the car for you, and even prioritises the driver’s side of the car, by leaving a slightly larger gap on the right when parked (think of it as a small reward, since you’re the driver after all). Included with the operating system upgrade, is BMW’s now-familiar reversing assistant, which allows you to trace the path you had just taken in reverse, to distances of up to 50 meters, ensuring you an easy exit from tight confines.

Our Thoughts

Apart from the heavily restyled tail light design, externally, the facelifted 5 Series is almost indistinguishable, when placed beside the pre-facelifted car. But the inclusion of the new Mild Hybrid drivetrain, and the improved operating system ensures that the game has been upped with this very accomplished Bavarian Executive sedan, one of the “Big Three” German executive sedans, the others being the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and the Audi A6.

In Summary

We Like

Restyled rear tail lights are a vast improvement. Adaptive suspension improves the difference to the driving experience. Mild Hybrid system reduces fuel consumption and increases mileage per tank. Operating System 7 and Reversing Assistant are welcome additions.

We Don't

Large rims and thin run flat tyres are not the best way to go.

Verdict

The inclusion of a 48V Mild Hybrid drive system brings additional efficiency to quite an excellent Executive Class drive, and also hints at even more change at BMW.

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Engine

Engine Capacity 1998cc Turbocharged
Engine Type Inline 4
Compression Ratio 10.2:1
Bore x Stroke (94.6 x 82.0)mm
Power 252bhp @ 5200rpm
Torque 350Nm @ 1450rpm
Power to Weight 148.2 bhp per ton

Performance

Acceleration 6.4s (0-100 km/h)
Top Speed 250 km/h
Fuel Consumption (combined) 17.9 km/L

Misc Technical Data

Transmission 8 -speed Steptronic Transmision
Drive Type FR

Measurements

Body Type Sedan
Dimension
(L x W x H)
(4963 x 1868 x 1460) mm
Wheelbase 2975 mm
Kerb Weight 1700 kg
Boot Capacity 530 L
Fuel Tank Capacity 68 L

Brakes

Brakes (Front) Ventilated Discs
Brakes (Rear) Ventilated Discs