The clean, straightforward design of the 2020 Bmw 5 Series is let down only by the turbo model’s excessive add-ons.
There’s a good chance that you’d be fine with the 530i. But consider getting the 540i. Its engine is more refined, responsive and powerful, and that translates into the luxury sedan experience you’re likely expecting. We also suggest adding the Driving Assistance Plus package for its advanced safety and convenience features.
Midsize luxury sedans have a difficult task to complete. Discerning buyers expect high levels of refinement, performance, technology and prestige that few other cars can match. Pleasingly, the 2020 BMW 5 Series rises to meet the challenge.
BMW fits the 5 Series with a familiar lineup of four-, six- and eight-cylinder engines. We think the six-cylinder in the 540i hits the sweet spot for power and efficiency. But we like that you can also get the plug-in hybrid 530e for its almost 30 miles of electric-only range or go with M550i for its face-flattening acceleration. All 5 Series versions provide a healthy dose of technology, luxury and safety features.
Of course, you’ll get comparable experiences from the BMW 5 Series’ primary competition: the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and the fully redesigned Audi A6. Historically, the BMW has been more of the driver’s choice, the Benz is the more traditional take on luxury, and the Audi splits the difference down the middle. But lately the lines have blurred, with a variety of choices within each lineup. Deciding between these all-stars will probably depend on personal preference or some intangible that just makes one feel right to you. Certainly, though, the 5 Series is among the best.
2020 BMW 5 Series configurations
The 2020 BMW 5 Series is available in four trim levels, all with different powertrains. The 530i (248 horsepower, 258 pound-feet of torque) and the 530e iPerformance plug-in hybrid (248 hp, 310 lb-ft) are powered by variants of BMW’s turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. The 540i (335 hp, 332 lb-ft) gets a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six. At the top of the range is the M550i with its turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 (456 hp, 480 lb-ft). BMW’s all-wheel drive, called xDrive, is an option on the 530i, the 530e and the 540i. It’s standard on the M550i. An eight-speed automatic is standard across the board.
The base 530i and the 530e come pretty nicely equipped from the start with LED adaptive headlights, 18-inch wheels, power-folding and heated mirrors (the driver’s side has auto dimming), automatic wipers, a sunroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, a power-adjustable steering wheel, power-adjustable front sport seats, driver-seat memory functions, a 40/20/40-split folding rear seat and simulated-leather upholstery.
Standard technology features include the iDrive interface with a 10.2-inch touchscreen display, a navigation system, Apple CarPlay, BMW emergency services, two USB ports, and a 12-speaker sound system. Standard advanced safety features include forward collision warning and mitigation, lane departure warning, and a blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert.
The 540i is equipped very similarly to the previous two trims but has standard leather upholstery.
It’s a bigger price jump to the performance-focused M550i xDrive, which includes everything above plus 19-inch wheels with performance tires, an adaptive suspension, full LED adaptive headlights with automatic high beams, aerodynamic bodywork, a rear spoiler, upgraded power front seats, an M Sport steering wheel, keyless entry and a power trunklid.
Typically, you can select from one of three 5 Series styling packages. The Sport is the default choice and comes with gloss-black design elements on the bumpers. The Luxury style features chrome accents from the front grille to the rear tailpipes, with light alloy wheels and modified bumper inserts to match. The M Sport steps up the sportiness with an aerodynamic style treatment, a lowered suspension and special exterior trim.
From this point, BMW offers a variety of packages, or “tiers” in BMW lingo. The Convenience package adds a power trunklid, keyless ignition and entry, heated front seats and satellite radio.
The Premium package can be added to that and comes with an automated parking system, parking sensors, a head-up display, enhanced USB and Bluetooth connections, a wireless charging pad, a surround-view camera system and gesture control. Go with the Executive package to get full LED adaptive headlights with automatic high beams, soft-close automatic doors, a dynamic digital instrument cluster, and power sunshades for rear passengers.
Naturally, more customization is available. The Dynamic Handling package includes an adaptive suspension and active roll stabilization. For the M550i, which comes with the adaptive suspension, you also get Integral Active Steering, which is a rear-steer system. A Luxury Seating package bundles ventilated multicontour front seats with massage function and upgraded leather upholstery. Finally, look at the Driving Assistance Plus package to get more advanced safety feature such as full-speed adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, front cross-traffic alert and evasive steering aid.
Many of these features can be equipped as stand-alone options alongside remote control parking, night vision with pedestrian detection, a heated steering wheel, a rear-seat entertainment system, Harman Kardon or Bowers & Wilkins premium audio systems, and ceramic-trimmed controls.
Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the BMW 530i (turbo 2.0L inline-4 | 8-speed automatic | RWD).
The best value in 2020 Bmw 5 Series is a base model with manual gearbox, but it’s still decently priced after adding fancy audio, leather, and a moonroof.