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2020 BMW 5-Series Review

The 2020 BMW 5 Series claims one of the top spots in our luxury midsize car rankings. This sedan has everything you could want in a car. It's powerful and fun to drive, with a premium interior and plenty of technology.

Pros & Cons

  • Powerful engine choices
  • Agile handling
  • Easy-to-use tech features
  • Good predicted reliability rating
  • Much more expensive than most class rivals

New for 2020

  • M550i trim gets more horsepower
  • Slightly longer all-electric range for 530e

Rankings & Research

The 2020 BMW 5-Series's #1 ranking is based on its score within the Luxury Midsize Cars category. Currently the BMW 5-Series has a score of 8.6 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 25 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.

8.6

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 8.8
Performance: 8.4
Interior: 7.8
Safety: 10.0
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Thinking of leasing a BMW 5-Series?

The U.S. News Best Price Program saves users an average of $3,206 off the MSRP, and a lower price equals lower monthly lease payments. That means you could see a savings of $90 a month on a 36-month lease.

Is the BMW 5 Series a Good Car?

Yes, the BMW 5 Series is an excellent car. Few class rivals can match its performance thanks to its potent engines, nimble handling, and smooth ride. It even gets good fuel economy ratings. The 5 Series has a posh interior, with plenty of space in both rows of seats and the trunk, and there are lots of standard features, including an intuitive infotainment system.

Should I Buy the BMW 5 Series?

There's only one real argument against buying the 5 Series: its price. It costs much more than many other luxury midsize cars, but there's a valid argument that it's worth the money, as few other luxury sedans offer the kind of all-around quality you get in this BMW.

If you’re interested in checking out alternatives, you should start with the Audi A6 and Mercedes-Benz E-Class.

Compare the 5 Series, A6, and E-Class »

Should I Buy a New or Used BMW 5 Series?

The 5 Series doesn't see many changes for 2020, so buyers may prefer to shop for a 2019 model, which is similar to the new 5 Series but likely less expensive.

The big changes for 2020 involve powertrains: The engine in the performance-oriented M550i trim gets 67 more horsepower, and the 530e plug-in hybrid can now go 21 miles on electric power, up from 16 miles in the 2019 model.

For 2019, BMW added more standard features to the 5 Series, such as Apple CarPlay, adaptive cruise control, front and rear parking sensors, daytime pedestrian detection, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert.

BMW introduced the 530e plug-in hybrid and the M performance trims to the lineup for 2018, while the current 5 Series generation began with the redesign of the 2017 model.

If you're considering an older model, be sure to read our 2017 5 Series, 2018 5 Series, and 2019 5 Series reviews to help make your decision. Also, check out our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts you can find on used vehicles.

Compare the 2018, 2019, and 2020 5 Series »

We Did the Research for You: 25 Reviews Analyzed

Our car reviews include everything you need to know before heading to the dealership. We combine the opinions of the automotive press with quantifiable data like crash test results and reliability ratings to form a complete picture of every vehicle we rank.

This 2020 5 Series review incorporates applicable research for all models in the current generation, which launched for 2017.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking vehicles since 2007, and our team has more than 75 years of combined experience in the automotive industry. Our car reviews are objective. To keep them that way, our editorial staff doesn’t accept expensive gifts or trips from automakers, and a third party handles all the advertising on our site.

How Much Does the BMW 5 Series Cost?

The base 530i trim starts at $53,900. For the same price, you can get the 530e iPerformance, which is this sedan's plug-in-hybrid trim. Most other sedans in the luxury midsize car class have starting prices under $48,000, making this BMW easily more expensive than many rivals.

Prices are even more pronounced at the top of the trim lineup, where the 5 Series' performance-oriented models reside. The M550i starts at $76,650, the M5 starts at $102,700, and the M5 Competition starts at $110,000. Those are extraordinarily high prices for the class. Almost every rival's top trim starts under $75,000 – several are less than $60,000 – though few can match the performance delivered by the top-dog M5 Competition.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local BMW dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our BMW deals page.

BMW 5 Series Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: BMW 5 Series or Audi A6?

The Audi A6 is a good car, but it doesn't quite live up to the standard set by the 5 Series. The Audi has energetic four- and six-cylinder engines but nothing that can compete with the BMW's twin-turbo V8 offerings. And while the Audi handles well, it still isn't quite as agile as the 5 Series. Inside, both are posh, but the 5 Series has more standard technology features and a larger trunk. The BMW also earns a better predicted reliability rating than the Audi.

Which Is Better: BMW 5 Series or Mercedes-Benz E-Class?

The Mercedes-Benz E-Class is a close matchup for the 5 Series, but the BMW is still better overall. Both cars are stylish and opulent, with lots of features and several powerful engine options. The E-Class is offered in coupe, sedan, and convertible body styles, whereas the 5 Series only comes in a sedan. On the other hand, the BMW has more trunk space, better fuel economy ratings, and a much higher predicted reliability rating than the Mercedes.

Compare the 5 Series, A6, and E-Class »

5 Series Interior

How Many People Does the 5 Series Seat?

This BMW seats five people. The front seats are terrific. They're comfortable, roomy, and supportive, helping keep you in place during aggressive driving as well as from aching after a long trip. The rear seats have plenty of head- and legroom as well, so adults won't feel cramped back there.

5 Series and Child Car Seats

The 5 Series provides two complete sets of LATCH connectors for the rear outboard seats, as well as a single tether anchor for the rear middle seat. The hardware is mostly easy to locate and use, though the lower anchors can be a bit difficult to maneuver around. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives this system the second-highest rating of Acceptable for ease of use.

5 Series Interior Quality

Inside, the BMW 5 Series looks and feels like a luxury sedan should. The cabin is attractive and replete with premium materials, leaving little to complain about from a style or quality standpoint.

5 Series Cargo Space

Most other cars in the luxury midsize car class have much smaller trunks than the 5 Series, which gives you 18.7 cubic feet of cargo room. That's enough space for some golf clubs or multiple pieces of carry-on-sized luggage. The 530e plug-in hybrid has a reduced capacity of 14.5 cubic feet because of the extra space needed for its battery pack.

5 Series Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

The 5 Series’ standard features include dual-zone automatic climate control, a moonroof, and BMW's iDrive infotainment system with a 10.25-inch touch screen, a touchpad controller, Apple CarPlay, two USB ports, Bluetooth, a 12-speaker stereo, and navigation.

Available features include a dual-screen rear-seat entertainment system, gesture control for the iDrive system, wireless device charging, two different 16-speaker audio systems, satellite radio, and a Wi-Fi hot spot.

The iDrive infotainment system has an intuitive interface that's easy to master. There are several ways to adjust settings and navigate menus, making things even easier for users. Apple CarPlay comes standard, but Android Auto isn't offered in this BMW.

Read more about interior »

5 Series Performance

5 Series Engine: No Shortage of Options

There is a range of engine choices with the 5 Series – one for every trim, in fact. The 530i features a 248-horsepower turbo-four, while the 540i comes with a 335-horsepower turbocharged six-cylinder. Even the base engine has plenty of power, but the turbo-six delivers more potent acceleration.

Of course, for the best possible performance, you’ll want one of the M trims, all of which feature a twin-turbocharged V8 engine. The horsepower ratings on these models range from 523 to 617, and all can sprint from zero to 60 mph in 3.6 seconds or less.

Those seeking an alternative powertrain will want to look to the 530e, which is a plug-in hybrid with a four-cylinder gas engine and an electric motor that combine to produce 248 horsepower.

Every powertrain comes with a smooth-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission.

BMW 5 Series Powertrain/Performance Options:
  • Base engine: 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 248 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque; starts at $53,900 (530i)
  • Available powertrains:
    • 2.0-liter turbo-four engine and electric motor with a combined 248 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque; starts at $53,900 (530e)
    • 3.0-liter turbocharged six-cylinder engine with 335 horsepower and 331 pound-feet of torque; starts at $59,450 (540i)
    • 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8 engine with 523 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque; starts at $76,650 (M550i)
    • 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8 engine with 600 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque; starts at $102,700 (M5)
    • 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8 engine with 617 horsepower and 553-pound feet of torque; starts at $110,000 (M5 Competition)
  • Drivetrain: standard rear-wheel drive; available all-wheel drive
  • Transmission: eight-speed automatic
BMW 5 Series Appearance Packages:
  • M Sport styling package (prices start at $5,000 in 530i; $4,700 in 530e; and $3,500 in 540i): 19-inch double-spoke wheels, shadowline exterior trim, satellite radio, a power trunk lid, and heated front seats
BMW 5 Series Performance Packages:
  • Dynamic Handling package (prices range from $1,450 to $3,600, depending on trim): includes active steering, M Sport brakes with blue calipers, dynamic damper control, active roll stabilization, adaptive drive, and an adaptive M suspension
BMW 5 Series Individual Performance Options:
  • Dynamic Damper Control (prices start at $1,000; available in 530i and 530e)
  • M Sport Brakes with blue calipers (prices start at $650; available in 540i)
  • 20-inch performance run-flat wheels (prices start at $950; available in M550i)
  • 20-inch M double-spoke wheels (prices start at $1,100 in M550i; $1,300 in M5)
  • M Carbon Ceramic Brakes (prices start at $8,500; available in M5 and M5 Competition)
  • M Driver’s package (prices start at $2,500; available in M5 and M5 Competition)
5 Series Gas Mileage: The Numbers Look Good

The BMW 530i gets 25 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway, which are better ratings than most other luxury midsize cars. The 540i gets 22/30 mpg city/highway, while the M550i xDrive gets 18/25 mpg city/highway.

The plug-in-hybrid 530e gets 69 MPG-equivalent and 27 mpg combined city/highway. It has an all-electric range of 21 miles. For more information, read What is MPGe?

5 Series Ride and Handling: A Delight to Drive

The 5 Series won't disappoint you when you get behind the wheel. Its sharp steering and adept handling provide plenty of driving enjoyment, and the cushioned ride is exactly what you want from a luxury sedan.

How Fast Is the BMW 5 Series?

According to BMW, the 530i sedan has a zero-to-60 time of 5.9 or 5.8 seconds, depending on its drivetrain. The plug-in hybrid also makes the dash in 5.9 seconds. The 540i is a bit faster, going from zero to 60 mph in 4.9 seconds with rear-wheel drive or 4.6 seconds with all-wheel drive. The powerful M models make that sprint in 3.6 seconds. The M5 races from zero to 60 mph in 3.2 seconds, and the range-topping M5 Competition does it in 3.1 seconds.

When properly equipped, BMW claims a top speed of 155 mph for the 530i, 540i, and M550i. The 530e has a top speed of 146 mph, and the M5 and M5 Competition sedans can go up to 156 mph.

Does the BMW 5 Series Have All-Wheel Drive?

Yes. Called xDrive by BMW, all-wheel drive is available in the 530i, 530e, and 540i. It’s standard in all 5 Series M models.

Read more about performance »

5 Series Reliability

Is the BMW 5 Series Reliable?
The 2020 BMW 5 Series has a good predicted reliability rating of four out of five from J.D. Power.
BMW 5 Series Warranty

BMW covers the 5 Series with a four-year/50,000-mile warranty. Hybrid models also feature an eight-year/80,000-mile high-voltage battery warranty.

Read more about reliability »

How Much Does It Cost to Insure a BMW 5 Series?

The cost of insuring a BMW 5 Series will depend on a variety of factors, including your deductible, the level of coverage that you want, and the type of insurance that you choose. Your age, gender, location, credit score, and driving record can also have an impact on your insurance rates. Check out our car insurance guide to find the best policy for you.

5 Series Safety

5 Series Crash Test Results

The 2020 5 Series earned the top rating of Good in all six crash tests performed by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and was named a Top Safety Pick+, the organization’s highest honor. Headlight ratings depend on configuration. Models equipped with the optional lighting package earned a rating of Good for forward visibility, while models without that package received the second-worst rating of Marginal. The IIHS also gave properly equipped 5 Series models a top rating of Superior for front crash prevention.

At the time of writing, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has not crash tested the 2020 BMW 5 Series.

5 Series Safety Features

Standard driver assistance features in the 5 Series include adaptive cruise control, a rearview camera, front and rear parking sensors, daytime pedestrian detection, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert. Also standard is the Active Protection System, which readies the car if it senses an impending collision. Some of these features are part of BMW's Active Driving Assistant.

Available active safety features include a surround-view parking camera system, parallel park assist, a night vision camera with pedestrian detection, and a head-up display.

Read more about safety »

5 Series Dimensions and Weight

The 5 Series is 16.2 to 16.3 feet long. Its curb weight ranges from 3,713 to 4,456 pounds.

Where Is the BMW 5 Series Built?

BMW builds the 2020 5 Series in Germany.

When Did the BMW 5 Series First Come Out?

The first 5 Series generation, known as E12, spanned from 1972 to 1981. It had four- and six-cylinder engine options. The second generation, known as E28, went from 1981 to 1988. Notably, this generation was the first to have a performance-oriented M5 variant.

The third-generation 5 Series was known as E34, and it spanned from 1988 to 1996. It’s notable for being the first generation to offer all-wheel drive and a wagon body type. E39 is the designation given to the fourth-generation 5 Series, which ran from 1995 to 2003.

The E60 designation covers the fifth-generation 5 Series, which spanned 2003 to 2010. This generation is partly known for its controversial styling elements attributed to design director Chris Bangle. The E60 generation M5 is the only model to feature a V10 engine.

The sixth-generation F10 model spanned 2010 to 2016. It's the first 5 Series available with a hybrid powertrain and the only model to have a hatchback Gran Turismo body style.

The 2020 model belongs to the G30 generation, which debuted for the 2017 model year.

Which BMW 5 Series Model Is Right for Me?

You have your work cut out for you when choosing a 5 Series. There are six trims, including a couple of performance-oriented options. The highest trim's starting price is more than double that of the base trim, so you'll want to figure out your budget before you head to a dealer.

One important note about the 5 Series is that the higher trims don't generally add too many additional comfort or convenience features; they essentially just come with stronger engines. So unless you really care about the best possible performance, you'll do just fine sticking with the base 530i. It comes with a long list of standard features, and many of the same amenities you can get in higher trims are offered in the 530i.

BMW 530i

The 530i carries a base price of $53,900. It comes with a 248-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine and an eight-speed automatic transmission.

Standard features include synthetic leather upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, a moonroof, and BMW's iDrive infotainment system with a 10.25-inch touch screen, a touchpad controller, Apple CarPlay, two USB ports, Bluetooth, a 12-speaker stereo, HD Radio, and navigation.

Standard active safety features include adaptive cruise control, a rearview camera, front and rear parking sensors, daytime pedestrian detection, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and the Active Protection System. Some of these features are part of BMW's Active Driving Assistant.

You can add BMW's xDrive all-wheel-drive system for $2,300. The Convenience package ($950) adds satellite radio and heated front seats. The Premium package ($2,200) includes the contents of the Convenience package, plus wireless device charging and a head-up display. The Luxury Seating package ($1,600) comes with ventilated and massaging front seats.

Several features can be added individually, at prices ranging from a couple hundred to several thousand dollars. These include a Wi-Fi hot spot, heated front seats, a rear-seat entertainment system, night vision with pedestrian detection, and Harman Kardon or Bowers & Wilkins audio systems.

BMW 530e iPerformance

The 530e iPerformance is this sedan's plug-in-hybrid trim, and it starts at $53,900. It shares the 530i’s standard and available features, but its powertrain pairs a turbocharged four-cylinder engine and a single electric motor for a combined 248 horsepower. Add an extra $2,300 if you want the all-wheel-drive system.

BMW 540i

The 540i costs $59,450 and comes with a 335-horsepower turbocharged six-cylinder engine. The standard and available features are basically identical to the lower trims', though the 540i comes standard with premium leather upholstery. You can add all-wheel drive for $2,300.

BMW M550i xDrive

The M550i starts at $76,650 and boasts a 523-horsepower twin-turbo V8 engine and all-wheel drive. Standard features include an adaptive M Sport suspension, M Sport brakes, a 16-speaker Harman Kardon surround-sound system, satellite radio, and a hands-free power trunk lid.

BMW M5

The high-performance BMW M5 starts at $102,700, while the M5 Competition starts at $110,000. The M5 features a V8 engine that puts out 600 horsepower (617 horsepower in the M5 Competition), and it comes with all-wheel drive. Other standard features include heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, a Wi-Fi hot spot, and a head-up display.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local BMW dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our BMW deals page.

See 2020 BMW 5 Series specs and trims »

The Final Call

The 2020 BMW 5 Series is one of the most well-rounded luxury midsize cars, which is why it places near the top of our class rankings. Powerful engines, a smooth ride, a premium interior, and user-friendly tech are just a few of the many enticing traits the 5 Series brings to the table. Sure, it's one of the most expensive cars in the class, but it delivers plenty of bang for your buck.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "The 2019 BMW 5 Series more than holds its own in a class of extraordinarily gifted performers. The premium midsize sedan scene is rich with style, technology, driving abilities and luxury appointments. Where the 5 Series and its main rivals excel is in achieving a sweet spot of so many well-balanced elements." -- Autotrader (2019)
  • "With new engine choices for 2018, the BMW 5 Series should be even more enticing if you're shopping for a midsize luxury sedan. Whether it's the latest in technology and safety or just a comfortable and luxurious interior you're after, the perennially popular 5 Series is sure to satisfy." -- Edmunds (2018)
  • "The BMW 5 Series midsize-luxury sedan entered its seventh generation just last year as an all-new model, boasting evolved driving manners, premium accouterments and the stately style that have made it the automotive prize of executives for decades. In addition to the sporty dynamics and sense of engagement that have long given the 5 Series a performance edge over rivals … the latest 5 Series is brimming with technology that can do everything from self-parking to collision avoidance." -- Kelley Blue Book (2018)

Buying

Expert Advice

Last Updated: October 8, 2020

Dropping Sales: The 5 Series sedan  competes in the luxury midsize car sales race as a top-seller, behind only the dominant Lexus ES. While it maintains a competitive position for now, sales to date in 2020 have been weak. BMW dealerships have sold 46.9 percent fewer 5 Series models so far this year compared to the same period in 2019. 

Research more buying advice »
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