2021 BMW 5 Series Is Feeling Refreshed

2021 BMW 530e (European model shown)

Competes with: Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Audi A6, Genesis G80, Jaguar XF

Looks like: A 5 Series with a bigger mouth and a bit of a nip/tuck

Powertrain: A 248-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder (530); 335-hp, turbocharged 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder (540); 181-hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder and 107-hp electric motor (530e); 523-hp, twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V-8 (M550); choice of eight-speed automatic transmissions; rear- or all-wheel drive

Hits dealerships: Ordering opens in May; deliveries to begin in July

BMW’s current-generation 5 Series sedan debuted as a 2017 model, and for the 2021 model year it’s getting a refresh with some new exterior looks, updated interior technology and a 48-volt mild-hybrid system for the six-cylinder 540 models.

Related: 2020 BMW X6 Review: Ignore the Why, Enjoy the How

The new looks and new tech won’t cost buyers much in most instances, however, with unchanged prices or modest price increases across most of the lineup. Including a $995 destination fee, the rear-wheel-drive 2021 530i will cost $55,195, $300 more than its predecessor. The 530e jumps up to $58,195, a $3,300 increase, while the 540i’s price is unchanged at $60,445. The M550i xDrive is $150 more expensive for 2021 at $77,795. For all models except the M550i xDrive, adding BMW’s xDrive all-wheel-drive system will cost an extra $2,300.

Exterior

The most noticeable change to the 5 Series is its taller and wider signature kidney grille, and while it’s certainly bigger, it’s more proportionate looking than on the 7 Series sedan or X7 SUV and not nearly as oversized as on some BMW concept vehicles of late. Other changes include new LED headlights and taillights, and new trapezoidal exhaust finishers. BMW also lengthened the 2021’s body by 1.2 inches, but most other exterior measurements remain the same.

Models with the optional M Sport Package get new front and rear bumpers and the M550 features an aerodynamic kit that includes a trunk lid spoiler. The M550 also gets gray mirror caps, grille, air intake inserts and lettering.

Interior

The most significant enhancement inside the 2021 5 Series is the newly standard 12.3-inch infotainment display, up from 10.25 inches in previous models. BMW’s Live Cockpit Professional 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster is also standard. Navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are all standard.

A new perforated leatherette upholstery is standard on all but the M550, which comes with upgraded Dakota leather upholstery that’s optional on all the other models. All models can be appointed with optional Nappa leather.

Engine and Transmission

At the lower end of the lineup, 530 models get BMW’s turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine making 248 horsepower and 258 pounds-feet of torque. The most powerful engine, meanwhile, is the M550’s twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V-8, which produces 523 hp and 553 pounds-feet of torque.

The most interesting changes, however, happen in the middle of the lineup. The 530e plug-in hybrid features a new 181-hp four-cylinder gas engine and a 107-hp electric motor that produce a combined system output of 288 hp and 310 pounds-feet of torque, an increase of 40 hp over the previous 530e. The system also features Xtra Boost, which can be engaged in Sport mode and provides an extra 40 hp for 10 seconds when the driver really steps on the gas.

The mid-level gas engine in the 540, a 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder producing 335 hp and 332 pounds-feet of torque, now has a 48-volt mild-hybrid system that is used to help power electrical components, improve engine stop-start smoothness, increase efficiency and produce a burst of 11 additional hp under hard acceleration.

Most 2021 5 Series models get a choice of either a regular eight-speed automatic transmission or a sport-tuned eight speed automatic, with the latter standard equipment on the M550.

Safety

Some advanced safety features, including forward collision warning with pedestrian and cyclist detection and automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning with steering correction, blind spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert and automatic high beams, are standard on the 2021 5 Series.

Optional safety features include adaptive cruise control with BMW’s Extended Traffic Jam Assist and lane-keeping assist with side collision avoidance.

Also optional is a Parking Assistance Package that includes panorama and 3D surround-view camera angles as well as the ability to identify and automatically park in parallel and perpendicular parking spaces. It also includes BMW’s Back-Up Assistant, which can “remember” the last 50 yards driven at speeds under 20 mph and automatically reverse the car along that same path — useful for narrow, winding driveways.

The 2021 BMW 5 Series is available for ordering in May, with the first deliveries expected to follow in July.

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