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2013 BMW 5-Series Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2013 BMW 5-Series was new.


Performance: 8.3

The BMW 5-Series has long been touted as the luxury large car for performance enthusiasts. While many reviewers say that the 2013 5-Series is less nimble than the last generation, many others counter that the 5-Series still offers balanced handling and an enjoyable driving experience.

  • "The 5-Series' ride and handling combination continues to set the standard in the premium-midsize class." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Around town, the 5 Series GT remains calm and composed, insulating passengers from the harshness of the world, much like any 5 Series." -- Edmunds (5-Series Gran Turismo)
  • "Regardless of drivetrain - rear-wheel (RWD) or all-wheel drive (AWD) - the 2013 BMW 5 Series family provides a balanced approach to over-the-road performance." -- Kelley Blue Book 
  • "The M5 is for those who take quiet pleasure in knowing their machine can do things others' can't." -- Jalopnik (M5)

Acceleration and Power

The 2013 BMW 528i comes with a 240-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and an eight-speed automatic transmission. The EPA reports that the 528i gets 24/34 mpg city/highway, which is quite good for the class. If you want more power, the BMW 535i comes with a turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine that produces 300 horsepower, while 550i models feature a 400-horsepower, turbocharged 4.4-liter V8. BMW 535i and 550i models are available with a six-speed manual transmission or an eight-speed automatic, and all-wheel drive is optional on all three models.

The high-performance BMW M5 has been reintroduced for 2013 and comes with a twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 engine that produces 560 horsepower at 6,000 to 7,000 rpm and 500 pound-feet of torque at 1,500 to 5,750 rpm. That engine is paired with either a six-speed manual transmission or a seven-speed automated manual. BMW says that the 2013 M5 has a top speed of 155 mph and will accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 4.2 seconds with the automated manual transmission.

Reviewers say that the base 528i offers plenty of power, while 535i and 550i models are capable of even quicker acceleration. The 535i’s six-speed manual earns points from one test driver, who appreciates its smooth, accurate shifter. However, another critic comments that the eight-speed automatic in his test 550i doesn’t shift as quickly as he would like.

  • "The manual transmission in the 535i is slick and precise." -- Consumer Guide 
  • "That said, the 300-hp 535i or even the less potent 528i is hardly like sitting in the cheap seats; most people will be more than satisfied with their power." -- Edmunds
  • "Floor it on the autobahn, and this car is surprisingly quick, allowing us to keep pace with an M3 that was cruising. The torque is felt almost immediately, and the pull is evident throughout the rev band." -- AutoWeek (2012 528i) 
  • "The eight-speed gearbox (the 535i and 550i do not share the same transmission) shifts through the gears smoothly, but not as quickly as we would have expected." -- Autoblog (2011 550i)

Handling and Braking

Traditionally, the 5-Series is known for winning car critics over with its sharp handling. However, some reviewers say that the 2013 BMW 5-Series lacks the agility of its predecessors. Other test drivers comment that the 5-Series is still among the most agile luxury large cars, and they note that its comfortable ride should please the bulk of car shoppers. One reviewer says that the steering system lacks the connection to the pavement seen in older 5-Series models.

  • "With base suspension, the 535i feels well-balanced, agile, and composed. Sharper still is the M5, which feels right at home in a racetrack environment." -- Consumer Guide 
  • "The steering transmits less feel, the larger dimensions make it feel bulky on tighter roads, and there's just a general feel of isolation that didn't exist before. Then again, its quieter cabin, more comfortable ride and lighter steering in parking lots should appeal to more buyers than before." -- Edmunds 
  • "Over my favorite twisty mountain backroads, the M5 barely batted a headlight as it swept through the turns." -- CNET (M5)
  • "When equipped with the standard suspension, there's a ponderous feeling to the car, and a slight reluctance to change direction. It's rides terrifically, however, and grip levels are more than adequate, but for the first time we can remember, we have a BMW sedan that feels somewhat divorced from the road." -- Popular Mechanics (2011)

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