Previous generations of the BMW 5 Series set the standard for sports sedan ride and handling that we always look to when evaluating ride and handling. But years before the 2023 5 Series hits the market, this model has embraced a more comfort-focused mission. BMW's sedan looks premium without being ostentatious, and that stealth look offers some breathing room for police scrutiny. And that's a good thing, especially if you order the inline-six turbocharged 540i or the inline-eight biturbo M550 model, which can hit 60 mph in 4.7 seconds and 3.5 seconds, respectively. Looking for a 5 Series with a more relaxed character? The entry-level 530i and 530e plug-in hybrid, both with four-cylinder engines, offer the appropriate punch as well as the benefit of better fuel economy. Regardless of trim level, the 5-Series offers plenty of passenger space and a list of luxury and technology features that keep pace with rivals like the Audi A6, Genesis G80 and Mercedes-Benz E-Class. The 5-Series' handling may not be the most precise, but it glides over the road as easily as any other midsize luxury car.
What are the new features for 2023?
The 5 Series sedan enters the 2023 model year virtually unchanged. The optional Premium package now includes a remote start function, but no longer includes gesture control for the iDrive infotainment system. The Parking Assist package is no longer available on the 530i, 530e and 540i models, but the Executive package is now available on those vehicles and includes a head-up display, Harman/Kardon stereo system, power trunk lid and heated front seats. The top-of-the-line M550i now features a power-operated rear sun visor. Three new colors are now available: Artic Race Blue, Skyscraper Grey and Aventurine.
Engine, transmission and performance
Smooth, powerful and efficient, the 530i's four-cylinder and the 540i's six-cylinder power this large sedan with authority. The 540i's powertrain gets an extra boost from a 48-volt hybrid system. Each engine is mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission that shifts intuitively and quickly, making the most of available power. The 540i's six-cylinder is silky smooth, powerful and makes delicious noises. With the exception of the M5, which we review separately, the M550i is the athlete of the model line, with a 4.4-liter V8 biturbo under the hood. In our tests, the M550i broke through our accelerations faster than the Audi S6 and Mercedes-AMG E53, reaching 60 mph in just 4.1 seconds. All models in the 5 Series are competent handlers, but they don't have the verve you'd expect from BMW. Steering feedback is light and handling, even in the performance-oriented M550i, seems tuned for comfort rather than driver involvement.
Fuel economy and MPG in real-world conditions.
The EPA estimates that the four-cylinder 530i can get 25 mi/gal in the city and 33 mi/gal on the highway. The six-cylinder 540i is rated up to 25 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway. The more powerful V-8 M550i lowers those ratings to 17 mpg in the city and 25 on the highway. All three models we tested scored higher in our real-world tests; the 530e got 34 miles per gallon, while the 540i and M550i got 31 and 28 miles per gallon, respectively. For more information on the 5 Series' fuel economy, visit the EPA website.
Interior features, comfort and cargo space
Rich features and good design make the 5-Series' interior a civilized space. This is a marked improvement over the somewhat colorless interior of its predecessor. It's also spacious for rear passengers and has an impressive amount of technology. We experienced the optional 20-way adjustable multicontour front seats, which can be adjusted in every way imaginable and provide hours of comfort. The standard seats may not be quite as compliant, but you can still adjust them 16 ways. The BMW's large trunk capacity is comparable to its rivals, with room for six pieces of carry-on luggage. That being said, the interior lacks compartments and storage.