2017 BMW 5 Series: Seventh Generation Still a Classic

There is little negative to be said or written about the BMW 5 Series. In all of its incarnations, trim levels and M-tuning identities, the car remains the setter of standards in the consumer luxury sedan class. Every other player in the game from Germany to Sweden to Japan to the U.S. knows – if they produce a full-size luxury sport sedan – they’re going to have to stare down the 5 Series.

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So, it’s a big deal in the automotive business when BMW rolls out a new version of the 5 Series. The good news for luxury car drivers is this Seventh Generation 7 Series is every bit the rightful heir of everything its standard bearing ancestors secured for Munich. The bad news for people who write automotive reviews because there’s very little criticism to be leveled, making it all too easy to pen a review that reads like a sales brochure.

Also: NAIAS 2017 | BMW Prices 5 Series with New M550i, 530e

The new 5 series arrives in four primary trim levels: 540i with a 3.0 liter, six cylinder, turbocharged engine; 530i with a 2.0 liter, four cylinder, turbocharged engine; 540i xDrive with a 3.0 liter, six cylinder, turbocharged engine or 530i xDrive with a 2.0 liter, four cylinder, turbocharged engine. As with its predecessors, this 5 Series has more than adequate power that applies itself with complete smoothness and sophistication.

All gathered together, these BMWs’ average fuel economy ends up somewhere around 23-24 mpg. That may not be stunning number in era of high compression and hybrids, but this is a proper, big, four seater luxury car — and anything above 20 works fine.

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The exterior styling is slightly more streamlined with a lower front end at first glance, but the signature BMW grille is on station. The automaker knows what its loyal buyers want, and they keep all of the essential BMW cues.

Most importantly, the most important external BMW feature — the signature, hockey stick groove along its side panel — remains in place. That simple design flare also just so happens to carry the best name of any automotive aesthetic feature in the history of cars: The Hofmeister Kink. It takes what could just be a slot on a car door and turns it into a Robert Ludlum novel.

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The driving experience is as grownup, sophisticated, reassuring and manageable as the driver must expect with a 5 Series. There is a feeling of effortless function and precision that famously unique to the brand, and the 5 Series settles in nicely with that tradition.

With starting MSRPs along the trim line falling between $56,000 and $59,000, the 5 Series still manages that upper class vibe without pricing itself out of the mainstream market. Classically styled inside and out and packed with every possible bell and whistle of modern driving technology, the Seventh Generation BMW 5 Series was still in the lead before it hit the road and is stretching the gap.