This sedan is short on agility but is a showcase of gadgetry.
Redesigned for 2017, BMW’s midsize 5 Series sedan is now in its seventh generation. As it’s evolved, it’s become less involving—for drivers who prefer sporty to luxury, that is. The 530i’s handling is short on agility, and its steering is surprisingly numb. Motive choices include 4-, 6-, and 8-cylinder engines, as well as a plug-in hybrid powertrain—the 530e, which can go nearly 30 miles on an electric charge. RWD or AWD is yet another choice.
The larger engines are seriously powerful, but the 4-cylinder’s get-up-and-go is rather anemic for a $50,000-plus car. The trade-off is excellent fuel economy that can reach 34 mpg on the highway, according to federal EPA ratings.
The 530i's exterior styling is sleek and modern, yet unremarkable; by contrast, the interior is downright stunning, displaying elegant materials and excellent craftsmanship. The front seats are supportive. Rear-seat legroom isn’t generous, but the trunk is roomy. And the cabin remains tranquil, in terms of both ride and noise levels, even over rough tarmac.
The new 5 Series is a showcase of Teutonic gadgetry. BMW offers the expected driver-assistance features—blind-spot warning, forward automatic emergency braking, and so on. But how about the optional Remote Control Parking feature, which allows the driver to exit the car and direct it via the key fob into a parking space? Or Gesture Control, also an option, which lets the driver adjust the radio volume or accept a phone call with the wave of a hand?
Enthusiasts may lament the 5 Series’ dearth of razor-sharp handling, but there’s nothing wrong with a high-tech, comfy cruiser. It’s just different from the BMWs of yore. For 2019, some advanced safety and infotainment features that had been optional are now standard. Otherwise, the 5 Series carries over pretty much unchanged.