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2011 BMW 5-Series Review

The redesigned 2011 BMW 5-Series is larger than previous models, which reviewers said dulls its performance somewhat. However, it’s still a solid large luxury sedan that offers powerful engine options.

Pros & Cons

  • Luxurious interior
  • Good fuel economy
  • Powerful engine options
  • Small trunk for the class




Critics' Rating: 8.7
Performance: 8.5
Interior: 8.1
Total Cost of Ownership: 8.4
Safety: 8.9
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2011 BMW 5-Series Overview

The 2011 BMW 5-Series was completely redesigned and sits on a wider and longer chassis, which reviewers thought makes it less performance-oriented than previous models. Still, the 5-Series offers powerful engines, and some received a power boost in the redesign. The base model 528i gets 240 horsepower, while the 550i boasts a turbocharged V8 engine that makes 400 horsepower, both of which are improvements over the 2010 model. Fuel economy depends on the engine, but the base model 5-Series gets excellent ratings. Reviewers felt that the 2011 5-Series wasn’t as sporty as past models, and to achieve the kind of handling enthusiasts expect from a BMW, extra-cost performance packages needed to be added. Test drivers were also split on the effectiveness of BMW’s electric-assist steering system. The 5-Series also has strong crash test scores.

The 2011 5-Series was revised inside and out and reviewers liked the upgrades when the car was new. The auto press felt that the 2011 5-Series has higher-quality materials than previous models and that the interior is more luxurious and comfortable. The front seats in the 5-Series received good reviews, but test drivers took issue with the lack of rear-seat legroom. With the redesign, BMW’s iDrive multi-media interface system was overhauled and reviewers thought it was much more user-friendly. However, cargo space in the 5-Series lags behind competitors. Standard features on the 528i include a 12-speaker sound system, leatherette seats and Bluetooth connectivity. Some available features to look for include a back-up camera, rain-sensing wipers, multi-contour leather front seats and all-wheel drive.

See the full 2011 BMW 5-Series specs »

Other Cars to Consider

The 2011 Infiniti M caters to the driving enthusiast looking to whip around corners, which makes it a good alternative to the 5-Series. Reviewers raved about the M’s performance dynamics when it was new. The M has better performance and interior reviews than the 5-Series, but the 5-Series has better fuel economy. The M also has a larger cargo space than the 5-series.

The 2011 Audi A6 delivers great performance and boasts one of the most luxurious cabins in its class. Both the A6 and 5-Series have available all-wheel drive, but the A6 has more cargo room. 

Compare the 5-Series to the M and A6 »


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