$44,728 - $63,982

2018 BMW 5-Series Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2018 BMW 5-Series was new.


Performance: 9.1

The 2018 BMW 5 Series emphasizes comfort, but that doesn't mean it’s a listless sedan. Its handling is light and engaging, and all six of its powertrains are exciting (especially the new M5’s 600-horsepower V8).

  • "This is a thrilling driver's car. Quiet and composed in town, especially with the Driving Dynamics Control set to Comfort, the 540i flips like a light-switch into teeth-bared mode the moment you start squeezing hard on the gas and getting quick on the wheel." -- Automobile Magazine (2017)
  • "Despite the infusion of technology, the BMW 5 Series remains a blast to drive." -- New York Daily News (2017)

Acceleration and Power

There are six different power plants available in the 5 Series for 2018. No matter which one you go with, you'll be rewarded with brisk acceleration and refined performance. All trims come with a smooth-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission and have paddle shifters on the steering wheel.

The base 530i model has a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with a 248-horsepower rating. For extra oomph, BMW powers the 540i with a 335-horsepower turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine. The 540d has a 3.0-liter turbodiesel six-cylinder with 261 horsepower. The performance-tuned M550i and M5 both come with a twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 engine. The M550i generates 456 horsepower; the M5 produces 600 horsepower. BMW also offers a plug-in hybrid trim, the 530e. Its hybrid powertrain combines a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with a single electric motor to make 248 horsepower.

Fuel economy with the base 530i is one of the highest among luxury midsize sedans, at 24 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway. The 530e plug-in hybrid can drive about 16 miles in all-electric mode and gets 29 mpg in combined city/highway driving. The EPA rating for the 540i is 20 mpg in the city and 30 on the highway. The M550i gets 16/25 mpg city/highway and the M5 gets just 15/21 mpg.

  • "Even the 530i should accelerate to 60 mph in fewer than 6 seconds, so no trim level will lack for acceleration. The 530e's hybrid powertrain works smoothly and returns respectable fuel efficiency. We also like BMW's eight-speed automatic; it's well-behaved and responds readily to the driver's needs." -- Edmunds
  • "Though small in size, the turbocharged 4-cylinder in 530i models does a commendable job propelling this substantial sedan. … Drivers will find more grunt in the 540i and its turbocharged 6-cylinder. … The most powerful 5 Series outside of an M5 is the new M550i xDrive, a turbocharged V8 5 Series that puts 456 horsepower to all four wheels. With a 0-60-mph time of 3.9 seconds, it's faster than the last M5. " -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Fuel economy isn't the reason to choose the 540i. Head out onto twisty roads, and it is instantly clear what your extra $5,250 is buying: Speed, with a capital S. Though damp pavement required extra care, the 540i xDrive blasted along on some of the most beautiful roads in California, thrilling its driver as any proper BMW should. Switch the car into Sport mode, select the transmission's Sport mode, start flicking the paddle shifters, and the 540i covers ground at remarkable velocities while plastering a giant smile on your face." -- New York Daily News (2017)

Handling and Braking

Half of the 5 Series' trims have standard rear-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is standard in the 540d, M550i, and M5 trims – and available in all other trims for $2,300. On the road, the well-tuned steering and suspension make the 5 Series a pleasure to drive, and its handling provides a comfortable ride in a nimble package. You can also adjust how the 5 Series handles using the Driving Dynamics Control, which offers Eco Pro, Comfort, and Sport modes.

  • "In our brief experience with this generation 5 Series, we found it offers the kind of all-day comfort we expect from BMW. Ride quality, especially with the adaptive suspension, is excellent, and the cabin is very quiet." -- Edmunds
  • "This German luxury sedan is highly satisfying thanks to great steering feel, a quiet cabin, and the ability to strike a balance between agile handling and overall comfort." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "There's a marked difference between the Comfort, Sport, and Eco modes of the Driving Dynamics Control system. Steering feel and throttle response immediately tighten up in Sport mode, and that couples well with the transmission's own Sport mode that quickens shifts and holds onto gears nicely." -- Autoblog (2017)

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