This is the only generation of the BMW 5 series that has really struck me in the same way as the e39, the 1996-2004 generation. It looks just right, like the e39 does, with perfect proportions and light stylistic flourishes. Like the e39, the current 5 doesn’t really look of its time, and if it does, its very subtle. It just has the uniquely balanced look of a BMW.
Although it is nothing unique in the scheme of BMWs; I had to think a moment when trying to tell apart a new 5 series form the 7 series it was right next to. The 5 even had that chrome excentuated hockey stick indentation at the bottom of the door. When I did tell them apart, I felt the 5 series bones wore the look of the bigger seven series well. I especially liked the way the rear taillights wrapped around and tapered into the rear fenders.
The interior of the 5 is a great example of modern BMW interiors; its more than you expect. I looked at a 5 series with the “Luxury Line” trim sitting in the showroom. Before I climbed in the the warm chestnut and black interior I noticed seats were stitched in a pattern reminiscent of the Mercedes “Designo” quilted leather; a not unwelcome imitation. BMW has an excellent job creating interiors that appeal to both automotive enthusiasts buried in the past and those who are more forward thinking. The dash is a familiar shape with an instrument binnacle atop in front of the steering wheel and the infotainment and HVAC controls in the center, just as it has been in cars for years. Yet, the interior is extremely contemporary with a variety of soft, metallic, and piano trim. The seats, especially the front, were phenomenally comfortable. The drivers seat had a soft, pillow-like pad upon the head-rest and an adjustable thigh bolster; it was possibly the most comfortable seat I have ever been in. In a car this size, space was no issue with plenty of room to stretch out.
I couldn’t drive the 5 series, but I got a look at BMW’s newest middle ground in it’s line-up. The broad range of the 5 assuredly offers excitement, but for now I get to look foreword to seeing the best looking 5 series in years out on the roads.