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2014 BMW 5-Series Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2014 BMW 5-Series was new.


Performance: 8.2

The 2014 BMW 5-Series earns praise from many reviewers for its comfortable, composed ride and capable handling, though some think it is out-maneuvered by more nimble competitors. Test drivers say the 5-Series offers a pleasing variety of engine options, from the powerful base 528i to the strong and efficient diesel 535d.

  • "While the 5 model is still quite capable by the numbers, it's more of a high-speed cruiser now than a back-road bomber." -- AutoTrader
  • "Whether powered by its rear wheels or all four, the 2014 BMW 5 Series earns its accolades as one of the best driving, best handling cars in the world." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The 5-Series' ride and handling combination continues to set the standard in the premium-midsize class." -- Consumer Guide (2013)
  • "The M5 is for those who take quiet pleasure in knowing their machine can do things others' can't." -- Jalopnik (2013 M5)

Acceleration and Power

The 2014 BMW 528i comes with a 240-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and an eight-speed automatic transmission. The BMW 535i has a turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine that produces 300 horsepower, and is available with an eight-speed automatic or six-speed manual. The 550i features a 445-horsepower, 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8 and the 535d has a 255-horsepower turbodiesel 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine. The ActiveHybrid 5 features a turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine and an electric motor that combine to produce 335 horsepower. The 2014 ActiveHybrid 5 gets an EPA-estimated 23/30 mpg city/highway, which is unimpressive for a hybrid luxury car. However, the 528i gets 23/34 mpg, which is very good for the class and the 535d gets a great EPA fuel economy rating of 26/38 mpg.

The high-performance BMW M5 comes with a twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 engine that produces 560 horsepower at 6,000 to 7,000 rpm and 502 pound-feet of torque at 1,500 to 5,750 rpm. A seven-speed automated manual transmission and a six-speed manual are available. BMW says the 2014 M5 has a top speed of 156 mph, and will accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 4.1 seconds with the automated manual transmission.

Test drivers say that all 5-Series models deliver plenty of power, with acceleration becoming more impressive as you climb into higher trims. They note that the new 535d is quiet at speed and delivers excellent passing power. The ActiveHybrid 5 draws criticism, however, as reviewers note that its fuel economy is unimpressive for a hybrid car.

  • "Power is in abundant supply regardless of trim. From the base 528i's turbocharged-4 to the twin-turbochargers boosting the diesel and V8 models, there is a 5 Series to match just about every demand and price range. …" -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "From the driver seat, the diesel 5 Series sedan is remarkably quiet, and when you do hear the engine, it sounds much like the gasoline-powered inline six-cylinder in the 535i, not at all like traditional diesel engines. Step on the accelerator pedal and it delivers a massive wave of thrust that makes it ridiculously easy to pass slower motorists." -- Edmunds
  • "But performance is only on par with the less-powerful 535i due to the Hybrid's increased weight, and fuel economy is rather disappointing for a hybrid." -- AutoTrader (ActiveHybrid 5)
  • "Depressing the throttle provokes a reaction something akin to hitting Jason Bourne on the head with a spatula. Immediately all 560 horsepower from the twin-turbo, 4.4-liter V8 hurls you down the road at a speed capable of arousing the inmates at San Quentin in an instant." -- Jalopnik (2013 M5)

Handling and Braking

Rear-wheel drive is standard on the 2014 5-Series and BMW’s xDrive all-wheel drive system is optional. Some reviewers say that the 2014 BMW 5-Series lacks the agility of its predecessor, and that Lexus and Audi produce luxury large cars that are slightly more athletic. Still, test drivers say that the 5-Series offers controlled handling, and they appreciate its exceptionally comfortable ride.

  • "The current 5 Series is actually based on the top-dog 7 Series, so it has an ultra-smooth ride." -- AutoTrader
  • "Compared with its Audi and Lexus rivals, the BMW feels bulkier and less precise around tight turns, and its steering transmits less feel." -- Edmunds
  • "Over my favorite twisty mountain backroads, the M5 barely batted a headlight as it swept through the turns." -- CNET (2013 M5)
  • "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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