BMW’s esteemed 5 Series is all new for 2017, marking the seventh generation of this premium midsize sedan, in production since 1972. In BMW’s sales figures, it places second, topped only by the smaller, unbeatable 3 Series.
Hard to believe there could be improvement in 5 Series performance, dynamics and steering feel, but the new model manages it with two new engines and an available Adaptive mode. The six-cylinder engine’s horsepower is boosted by 35.
Through extensive use of high-strength steel, aluminum and magnesium, the car weighs 137 pounds less than the previous model.
Technology upgrades for the 2017 5 Series are dominated by improvements to driver assistance systems and the inclusion of iDrive 6.0, the latest version of BMW’s computerized vehicle control system.
With four doors and seating for five people, the 2017 BMW 5 Series has two trim levels, determined by and named for their engine: the 530i and the 540i. Both are available with xDrive, BMW’s all-wheel drive system.
My tester was a 530i, whose 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine produces its peak output of 248 horsepower between 5,200 and 6,500 rpm, and its maximum 258 lb-ft of torque from 1,450 to 4,800 rpm. It can hit 60 mph from a standstill in 6 seconds, something I found very handy during my regular merges onto Highway 2 from Westwick Road.
Fuel economy ratings for the 530i are 24 mpg city and 34 mpg highway.
If you’re curious about the six-cylinder 540i’s numbers, they are 335 horsepower between 5,500 and 6,500 rpm, and 332 lb-ft of torque from 1,380 to 5,200 rpm. It outruns the measly four-cylinder by needing only 4.9 seconds to reach 60 mph on Highway 2 from the stop at Westwick Road.
Only a person desperate for something negative to say could find any fault with the 2017 BMW 530i. I was hopelessly enamored of it, like I am of my longtime crush Javier Bardem. The newest iDrive system is better than ever, and such a vast improvement over the original iDrive, which was introduced in 2001 and immediately became my mortal enemy because of its awful complexity.
There’s a particularly interesting new feature on the 2017 5 Series called Gesture Control. It sounds like a behavior modification program for hot-headed drivers, but it’s the latest infotainment technology, enabling drivers to point, swipe or swirl a finger in midair to operate the system, rather than touching the screen, buttons or dials. Gesture control has been available on the BMW 7 Series for about a year. It’s pretty cool but I avoided using it in slow traffic, where nearby motorists unfamiliar with gesture control would see me swirling my finger and just think I was cuckoo.
2017 BMW 530i
Base price, including destination charge: $52,195
Price as driven: $72,135
Mary Lowry is an independent automotive writer who lives in Snohomish County. She is a member of the Motor Press Guild, and a member and past president of the Northwest Automotive Press Association. Vehicles are provided by the manufacturers as a one-week loan for review purposes only. In no way do the manufacturers control the content of the reviews.