Overview

Overview

The 2013 BMW 5 Series is in its sixth generation of production and it is still setting the pace as an industry leader in luxurious sophistication. It walks the line between performance and luxury to find a balance that can satisfy even the pickiest of automotive consumers. The 5 Series has spent more than 40 years on the market, in various configurations, and it continues to impress.

In all variations the 2013 BMW 5 Series remains more than capable in the area of performance. It ranges from pretty quick (528i) to sit-back-or-get-thrown-back (550i). The larger dimensions that were incorporated a few years back are boasting a remarkable improvement in interior comfort; and the technology of BMW continues to be top-notch.

Expert Reviews

"Think of the 5-series as a shrunken 7-series. Like the 7, it will please you with its refined manners and solid feel. The new turbo four-cylinder engine offers great power and improved fuel economy, while the turbo six- and eight-cylinders have tons of power." (Car and Driver)

"While the ride is impressive, handling is disappointing, mainly because of the vague steering and the car's tendency to under-steer at its limits. Interior fit and finish is excellent, and iDrive system is a bit improved, but some controls are still overcomplicated." (Consumer Reports)

"To meet the specific demands of the modern car buyer, the 2013 BMW 5 Series offers the most expansive lineup in the nameplate's history...In response to the challenges posed by the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Audi A6, Infiniti M and the new Lexus GS, the BMW 5 Series has once again raised the bar to secure its place as the benchmark in the mid-size luxury segment." (Kelley Blue Book)

"The 5-Series remains a fine choice for high-end shoppers who want to be fully immersed in the driving experience." (Consumer Guide)

"The 2013 BMW 5 Series proudly carries on this tradition, although its core message of performance has been obscured by luxury. When this generation of the 5 Series debuted two years ago, it took to the stage with larger dimensions and a decidedly more relaxed personality. For those who put a premium on comfort and space, the compromise was certainly justified." (Edmunds)

Owner Reviews

In the luxury line it is no different than any other automotive line. You find the apples: "This is my second 5 Series (I traded in my 2009 528i for a 2013 535i) and I will keep coming back for more! No other car rides better, handles better or comes with more features. It was well worth the money!" (Owner review from Doug E., Indiana)

You also find the oranges: "I find that I like this car up until I have to make the payment every month. I bought a 2013 528i and it rides very nice. The seats are some of the most comfortable I've sat in. But I don't think it's worth the amount of money charged. I think I could've gotten something just as nice for a lot less." (Owner review Lisa M., Michigan)

And then you find the lemons: "This is my first BMW and probably my last. I loved everything about the car when I first test drove it. Since then the electrical harness needed to be replaced, the dashboard has a rattle that the dealership still can't find, the climate control stopped working, and it's back in the shop for keyless entry issues. I paid way too much for all of this hassle from a so-called ‘luxury' brand." (Owner review from Kate W. in Buffalo, NY)

Lineup

The 2013 BMW 5 Series comes in four different trim levels, all commensurate upon the engine choices available; they are the 528i, 535i, 550i, and ActiveHybrid 5. There is also the highly-anticipated M5, but that is a whole different animal altogether. Options and additions are nearly limitless. That being said, we'll cover the standard options on the most common base models.

The 528i comes standard with bi-xenon headlights, heated mirrors, sunroof, cruise control, auto-dimming mirrors, keyless ignition/entry, foglights, LED running lights, driver memory functions, premium leatherette-vinyl upholstery, Bluetooth, BMW Assist emergency communications system, iDrive interface, and a 10-speaker sound system with CD player, HD radio, and iPod/USB/aux interfaces.

The 535i ups the wheels from 17-inch alloys to 18-inch alloys and adds leather upholstery. The 550i throws in front and rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, 14-way power front seats, and the navigation system. All of the standard features on the upper trim levels are available as options on the lower trim levels. Again, this is the luxury class - you can have it any way you like it.

Some of the other options available with the 2013 BMW 5 Series are active cruise control, a blind-spot warning system, lane-departure warning system, headlight washers, power trunk lid, automatic high beams, and a heads-up display with infrared night-vision. The interior options include heated front and rear seats, a heated steering wheel, power rear sunshade, rear entertainment system, and a 16-speaker Bang & Olufsen surround sound audio system.

Interior

One word can be used to describe the interior of the 2013 BMW 5 Series - modern. The dashboard is set back and almost looks compact with all of the buttons, luxury trim and controls festooned upon it. Steering wheel controls are all well-placed but some are very small and finding them in the dark can be a challenge. The BMW iDrive interface is one of the better systems available, but it still has a hard time trumping Mercedes' COMAND system.

The seating is comfortable all the way around with the optional multi-contour seats being particularly well-sorted. The rear seat is spacious enough for even taller adults. Materials quality is definitely well above average but the leatherette-vinyl upholstery is almost a slap in the face for the price of the vehicle. Still, there aren't many choices better for long journeys than the 5 Series.

Cargo capacity is the one area where the 5 Series seems to be lacking. Trunk capacity stands at 14 cubic feet, which is very small for this segment. Not only is it small but it is narrowed significantly by the wheel wells. This makes fitting anything of a longer shape into the 5 Series' trunk a little more difficult. Still, the interior is comfortable enough that you could fall asleep riding with your luggage in your lap and not care.

Performance

As we mentioned earlier, each trim level of the 5 Series gets its own power source under the hood. We'll start with the 528i which gets a turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder engine that works out to 240 horsepower and 255 ft.-lbs. of torque. It comes with an eight-speed automatic transmission. Rear-wheel drive is standard on all 5 Series models but consumers have the choice of the xDrive all-wheel drive system. Fuel efficiency for this level is estimated at 24/34 mpg (city/highway).

The 535i goes a bit bigger with a 3.0L inline-6 engine that throws 300 horsepower and 300 ft.-lbs. of torque. Rear-wheel models in this trim get a six-speed manual transmission with the option of the auto; but xDrivers will get the automatic no matter what. Fuel economy on the 535i is between 23 and 24 mpg combined, depending on the powertrain combo.

The biggest of the bunch, the 550i, gets the biggest engine. Under the hood it packs a 4.4L V8 that produces 400 ponies and 450 ft.-lbs. of torque. The same transmission options are available for this trim level. The EPA estimates fuel efficiency between 17 and 20 mpg depending on powertrain and drive choices.

There are some who say the 2013 5 Series has lost the agility of its predecessors but many disagree. This year's 5 Series is just as intriguing to drive as ever. Acceleration is good no matter which engine you choose but there are some who feel there is a little too long a delay in shifts with the automatic transmission. Overall, it lives up to its luxury standards in both ride and handling.

Safety & Reliability

The 2013 BMW 5 Series earned the Top Safety Pick award from the IIHS, garnering a mark of Good in all the crash tests as well as the roof strength test. Standard safety features include stability and traction control, antilock disc brakes, side curtain airbags, and active front head restraints. The stability control system on the 5 Series is a shade more advanced than others. It automatically improves braking performance with a series of features like wiping the brake rotors dry in wet conditions.

There are currently no major safety recalls on the 2013 BMW 5 Series. J.D. Power & Associates has not given the 5 Series a rating in dependability; but that could be due to having to wade through the list of current complaints. It comes with a 4-year/50,000-mile manufacturer's limited warranty. MSRP on the 2013 5 Series starts at $47,800 and climbs to an astronomical $70,100. The 5 Series Hybrid starts at $61,400.

Trim Style Engine Drive Train MSRP
Sedan - AWD
528i xDrive Sedan 4 Cylinder AWD 50100
535i xDrive Sedan 6 Cylinder AWD 55700
550i xDrive Sedan 8 Cylinder AWD 65000
Sedan - RWD
528i Sedan 4 Cylinder RWD 47800
535i Sedan 6 Cylinder RWD 53400
ActiveHybrid 5 Sedan 6 Cylinder RWD 61400
550i Sedan 8 Cylinder RWD 62700
Wagon - AWD
535i xDrive Wagon 6 Cylinder AWD 60600
550i xDrive Wagon 8 Cylinder AWD 70100
Wagon - RWD
535i Wagon 6 Cylinder RWD 58300
550i Wagon 8 Cylinder RWD 67800

Comparison of 2013 BMW 5 Series with Similar Cars

2013 BMW 5 Series MSRP Invoice
2013 BMW 5 Series $47,800 $43,975
Similar Cars to Consider MSRP Invoice Compare
2013 Mercedes-Benz E-Class $51,000 $47,430 2013 BMW 5 Series VS 2013 Mercedes-Benz E-Class
2013 Audi A6 $42,200 $39,246 2013 BMW 5 Series VS 2013 Audi A6
2013 Cadillac XTS $44,075 $41,651 2013 BMW 5 Series VS 2013 Cadillac XTS
2013 Lexus GS 350 $47,250 $43,945 2013 BMW 5 Series VS 2013 Lexus GS 350
2013 Lincoln MKS $42,870 $40,727 2013 BMW 5 Series VS 2013 Lincoln MKS

Car Rankings

Interested to see how the 2013 BMW 5 Series ranks against similar cars in terms of key attributes? Here are the 2013 BMW 5 Series rankings for MPG, horsepower, torque, leg room, head room, shoulder room, hip room and so forth.

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