– Greenville, South Carolina
Most of the headlines this year have been about the all-electric BMW i5. And why not? Bavaria's first battery-powered 5 Series is a wonderful EV that neatly packages performance, range, and luxury under the iconic roundel (as we've learned firsthand).
But don't forget about the gas 5 Series.
Built on the same platform as the electric i5, the standard gas 5 Series is still alive and kicking for 2024 – and it's pretty excellent. With a new range of powertrain options starting at the base model and moving up to the 540i and M trims, the ICE 5er is still an excellent mid-size sedan for those who aren't ready to go electric.
|Quick Specs||2024 BMW 530i|
|Engine||Turbocharged 2.0-Liter I4 Hybrid|
|Output||255 Horsepower / 295 Pound-Feet|
|0-60 MPH||5.8 Seconds|
|Base Price||$57,900 + $995 Destination|
If you want to read about the BMW 540i and its slick new inline-six, though, you’ll have to wait; BMW only offered me keys to the base 530i. The 530i and its new turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with a 48-volt mild-hybrid assist will be the volume seller of the gas-powered range. That gives the base 5er an extra boost to 255 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque – seven more horses than the outgoing model and 37 additional lb-ft.
The new powertrain is ultra-efficient. The 530i gets 27 miles per gallon in the city, 35 on the highway, and 30 combined. That's two mpg better in every category than the outgoing 5 Series, and right up there with notorious fuel-sippers like the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry, both with 32 mpg combined.
Granted, the focus on efficiency does sacrifice speediness. But for most buyers, the 530i still has enough oomph for hurrying away from a stoplight or around an onramp thanks to that extra electric kick off the line. It takes 5.8 seconds for the 530i to reach 60 miles per hour – perfectly adequate, and equal to the base i5.
The new powertrain is ultra-efficient.
Most 530i drivers won't be too concerned with 0 to 60 times – that’s what the M-badged versions are for. Where the base 5 Series feels most at home is on the highway. Cruising down I-85 near Greenville at 70 mph, the engine settles to a nearly silent rumble and the 48-volt system still offers enough torque for seamless overtakes.
This car is exceptionally quiet at these speeds. The interior of the 5 Series can best be described as "evolved." Most of the fits, finishes, and features carry over from other BMW models, but with thoughtful updates that add to the upscale atmosphere. There's a new center console with a tiny glass shifter, a matching infotainment dial, and other various controls that emulate the iX SUV, but with gloss black fixtures instead of fancy matte wood.
The center touchscreen and digital cluster are now bigger than before – and standard – measuring 12.3 inches and 14.9 inches respectively. The latest BMW iDrive 8.5 infotainment display is projected atop both screens, and it offers a seamless experience with crisp graphics and boxes arranged neatly in a smooth-scrolling home screen. Things get messy when you start digging deep into the options – and there are many – but nothing that a "Hey, BMW" voice assistant can't help with. Just say something like "I'm cold," and the system bumps up the temperature to something toastier.
The interior of the 5 Series can best be described as "evolved."
Once I'm off the highway and onto some of the moderately twisty roads around Greenville, the 5 Series shows more signs of life. Unlike the i5 with its complicated (but necessary) anti-active-roll, self-leveling, air-ride suspension, the 530i keeps things simple. It has a good ol' double-wishbone front and five-link rear setup with the optional M Sport suspension on this car giving it more aggressive dampers.
I'm pleasantly surprised putting the 530i into the first corner. The power steering is excellent, with a lovely heft and a good amount of feedback to tell you exactly what this big-bodied sedan is doing. There's some body roll, sure – the new 5 Series is longer and wider than the previous car, after all – but the suspension is wonderfully balanced and does an excellent job of keeping lateral movements in moderation.
The 5 Series experience as a whole is genuinely pleasant. The ride is quiet, the suspension is composed, and while it certainly isn't the most powerful thing in the world, the electrified powertrain doles out low-end torque with decent purpose.
The 530i starts at $58,895 (with destination) if you go for the rear-drive model, while the all-wheel-drive version starts at $61,195. That’s firmly in line with the $58,990 Audi A6, and should be close to the new Mercedes-Benz E-Class when pricing for that model is officially announced.
So if you’re not ready to get into the electric i5, that’s fine. BMW’s gas 5 Series is still an excellent option.
Gallery: 2024 BMW 5 Series First Drive Review
2024 BMW 530i