$27,063 - $61,728

2016 BMW 5-Series Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2016 BMW 5-Series was new.


Performance: 8.6

Every engine in the 2016 BMW 5-Series will deliver good power to drivers, from the base four-cylinder in the 528i up to the twin-turbocharged V8 in the M5. While some may find the 5-Series' handling nimble, others may feel it too soft for spirited driving. The base and diesel trims both earn excellent fuel economy estimates for the class.

  • "If a luxurious day-to-day experience is more important to you than driver involvement, you're going to like how the 2016 5 Series behaves in the daily grind." -- Edmunds
  • "This 5 Series is actually based on the top-dog 7 Series. … Not surprisingly, some of the 5 Series lineup's former athleticism was lost in translation. That's what happens when you use a big car like the 7 Series as a foundation. While the 5 Series is still quite capable by the numbers, it's more of a high-speed cruiser now than a back-road bomber." -- AutoTrader (2015)
  • "Those seeking ultimate driving will find it in the M5, a beast of a sedan whose turbocharged 560-horsepower V8 obliterates asphalt while its luxurious interior coddles passengers." -- Kelley Blue Book (2015)
  • "The 5-Series' ride and handling combination continues to set the standard in the premium-midsize class." -- Consumer Guide (2013)

Acceleration and Power

The base 2016 BMW 528i has a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 240 horsepower. The 535i comes with a 300-horsepower, turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine, and the 535d has a 3.0-liter six-cylinder turbodiesel engine that generates 255 horsepower.

A 445-horsepower, twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 engine powers the 550i, and the ActiveHybrid 5 is equipped with a turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine and an electric motor that together produce 335 horsepower. An eight-speed automatic transmission is standard with all models.

The 528i gets up to 23/34 mpg city/highway, according to the EPA, which is very good for an upscale midsize car. The 535d earns 26/38 mpg city/highway, which is excellent for the class.

The 5-Series is also available in a performance-oriented trim, the M5. It comes with a 560-horsepower, twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 engine that makes 500 pound-feet of torque. A seven-speed automated manual transmission is standard, and a six-speed manual can be had for no additional cost. The M5 can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 4.2 seconds and has a top speed of 155 mph, according to BMW.

The 528i makes more power than one would expect, and the 535i runs smoothly and strikes a nice balance between fuel efficiency and performance. The 535d has impressive muscle and fuel economy.

The 550i delivers strong acceleration across the speed range, and the M5 is incredibly fast. However, the stop-start system, which shuts off the engine when the car is not moving to improve fuel economy, causes vibration.

  • "The 528i's turbocharged inline-4 punches well above its weight class, and the six-cylinder 535i is a paradigm of smoothness. But the pick of the litter may well be the diesel-powered 535d, which is as fleet as the 535i and serves up 25 percent better fuel economy to boot. … Less appealing is the vibration caused by the automatic stop-start system, especially in the 528i and 535d." -- Edmunds
  • "No matter which 5 Series model you choose, power is abundant. Even the base 528i with its turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder has a 0-60 mph time of around six seconds, swift for a car this size and an engine that small. Still, the sweet spot in the 5 Series lineup is the 535i, with an inline-6 that deftly splits the performance/efficiency equation between 4- and 8-cylinder 5 Series models." -- Kelley Blue Book (2015)
  • "Under the hood, the 528i's turbo four makes more power than BMW lets on, and we can confirm that it feels surprisingly strong. Of course, the 535i model's 300-hp inline-6 is mighty seductive if you sample it, and the 535d model's turbodiesel six might even be more satisfying with its massive torque. As for the 550i model's V8, incredible acceleration at any speed is the name of its game. You have to experience it to believe it." -- AutoTrader (2015)
  • "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

The 2016 BMW 5-Series is less performance car than comfortable cruiser, even when driven in Sports mode. Still the 5-Series handles corners with ease and drives nimbly, especially the track-friendly M5. Rear-wheel drive is standard in the 5-Series, while all-wheel drive is available.

  • "We also don't like how the 5 Series never feels as nimble or precise as we'd like when going around turns, even with the car's Sport settings engaged. The steering also lacks the precision for which it used to be renowned. So that's the bad news. The good news is that the 5 Series is blessed with a smooth, absorbent ride quality." -- Edmunds
  • "Some who step into the 2015 5 Series might expect it to be a nimble sport sedan like the BMWs of yore. But it isn't. The 5 Series has evolved into a swift, supple and silent sedan, an unflappable touring car that gives the driver a sense of complete confidence and control. This is still the ultimate driving machine; it's just a different breed." -- AutoTrader (2015)
  • "Whether you choose a rear-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive (dubbed "xDrive") model, the 5 Series remains one of the best-driving, best-handling sedans money can buy." -- Kelley Blue Book (2015)
  • "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 (2013)

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