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By Jim Flammang
February 14, 2005
Vehicle Overview A slightly larger fifth-generation 5 Series midsize sedan from BMW arrived for 2004. Trunk capacity and backseat space increased. A new weight-saving, all-aluminum front-end structure was used.
Three rear-wheel-drive 5 Series models are available. The 525i is equipped with a 184-horsepower, 2.5-liter inline-six-cylinder; the 530i gets a 3.0-liter inline-six-cylinder; and the 545i carries a 4.4-liter V-8.
For the 2005 model year, 17-inch wheels and wood interior trim are standard. Active Steering is available either as a stand-alone option or part of the Sport Package. New 20-way power Comfort front seats are optional.
BMW offers quite an array of optional equipment, including Active Roll Stabilization, adaptive xenon headlights, run-flat tires, a head-up display, Active Cruise Control and Active Steering. Adaptive brake lights and a simplified iDrive control system are standard.
At the 2005 North American International Auto Show, BMW introduced an all-wheel-drive version called the 525xi. BMW says its xDrive system begins to react before wheel spin builds up.
Exterior The 525i's styling follows on the heels of the company's controversial 7 Series, but is subtler. Short overhangs and what BMW calls "lean-forward dynamics" highlight the design.
A prominent twin-kidney grille provides a connection to BMW tradition. The grille is flanked by quad headlights inside luminous rings and beneath clear covers. The turn signals have clear lenses. Amber LED front parking lights are thin and wedge-shaped. The 525's bodies incorporate BMW's traditional reverse kink at the rear door windows. The contemporary rear end features a high trunk lid.
An aluminum suspension is installed. Active Steering is included in the Sport Package.
Interior Up to five occupants fit inside the 525i sedan. Leatherette upholstery and Dark Poplar wood trim are standard, but Dakota leather upholstery is available. Both front occupants get a 10-way power seat adjustment with driver memory.
A variable warning segment in the tachometer activates at lower rpm when the engine is cold. The three-spoke steering wheel holds multifunction controls. Rain-sensing wipers and a 10-speaker CD stereo with twin subwoofers are standard.
First installed in the 7 Series, the iDrive control system uses a 6.5-inch color display screen. Either the driver or front passenger can use a knob atop the console.
Under the Hood The 525i's 2.5-liter inline-six-cylinder develops 184 hp and 175 pounds-feet of torque. A 525i equipped with the standard six-speed-manual gearbox can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 7.8 seconds, while the six-speed Steptronic automatic requires 8.2 seconds. The automatic incorporates Manual and Sport modes.
Safety Integrated Advanced Head Protection is standard. All models have a flat-tire monitor. BMW's Dynamic Stability Control stability system, which is activated with a console switch, can improve traction under difficult conditions. Active Roll Stabilization is part of the Sport Package, and this technology yields flatter cornering. Active head restraints are available.