BMW expands its diesel engine offerings with the addition of a 5 Series diesel in a mildly refreshed 2014 model. Along with a more-efficient diesel engine, the refresh adds minor front and rear styling tweaks as well as new standard features such as navigation, larger center console storage compartments and cupholders.
The diesel-powered 535d sedan's turbocharged six-cylinder makes 255-horsepower and 413 pounds-feet of torque. BMW says the diesel will have "substantial fuel economy gains over its gasoline-fueled counterpart," though official EPA figures won't be available until closer to the car's August on-sale date. The 535d's available all-wheel drive puts it in a rare class of diesel, all-wheel-drive sedans along with the 2013 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Bluetec — surprisingly, we're asked frequently about diesel, all-wheel-drive sedans at Ask.cars.com.
All 5 Series now have standard navigation. BMW continues to add innovation to its iDrive system for controlling navigation and multimedia functions; this year, there's a new touchpad character-recognition feature integrated into the rotating controller. The touchpad recognizes letters as they're spelled with your finger. BMW says the rotary speller and voice recognition are still options for entering commands in addition to the touchpad.
The 528's stout turbocharged four-cylinder and 535's turbocharged six-cylinder gasoline engines carry over; however, under the 550's hood is a tweaked 445-hp V-8, up 45 hp from 2013. The newfound power propels the 550i sedan from zero to 60 mph a half second faster than 2013 models, now at 4.5 seconds. BMW's funky 5 Series Gran Turismo hatchback also receives the 445-hp V-8 in 550 models and gains 2.1 cubic feet of luggage room (to a max 17.7 cubic feet) from a revised rear section in all models — numbers are preliminary European specifications.
Exterior changes for 2014 are subtle and include slightly revised grille lines, redesigned lower air intakes and an extra crease in the rear apron; there's also more sharply contoured rear taillights. Like the smaller 3 Series, the 5 Series now shares Luxury, Modern and M Sport "Lines" with unique interior and exterior trim packages for a luxurious or sporty appearance. Adaptive high-intensity-discharge headlights are standard, and adaptive full LED low and high beams are optional.
Additional optional equipment includes a new rear-seat entertainment system with tablet-style displays mounted to the front seatbacks, a Harman Kardon sound system and ambient lighting with orange and white color choices. An available hands-free tailgate on the Gran Turismo and trunk on the sedan now closes with motion detection as well as opens.
The 2014 5 Series goes on sale with the base four-cylinder rear-wheel-drive 528i starting at $50,425 with destination — the six-cylinder 535i is $56,025. Those prices are up $1,700 compared to 2013. Diesel 535d models start at $57,525 with rear-wheel drive and $59,825 with all-wheel drive. The 550i ($64,825) is up $1,200, while the 5 Series hybrid pricing is unchanged at $62,325. Gran Turismo 535i models ($60,925) $ are $1,700 more expensive while the Gran Turismo 550i ($68,825) is up $100.