BMW announced the updated 2021 model 5 Series Wednesday, and while the changes may not immediately jump out to the casual observer, there are important changes going on under the skin. A 48-volt hybrid system makes its way to six-cylinder models to benefit both performance and fuel economy, and BMW has the exterior and interior design, including offering more colors and new technology.
In terms of styling, the 2021 BMW 5 Series lacks the huge grille of the 7 Series or the upcoming 4 Series, but takes a more conservative approach.
BMW did not neglect the performance side of the equation, as the M package is also getting an appropriate refresh. On the sportier package, the 2021 BMW 5 Series gets new front and rear bumpers, larger air intakes with mesh inserts, and a redesigned rear diffuser.
For the 530i and 530i xDrive models, BMW is still using a 2.0 liter four-cylinder engine that pushes 248 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. The 540i and 540i xDrive sedans will be packing the same 335 horsepower from BMW’s 3.0 liter inline-six, while the top-end M550i xDrive manages 523 horsepower and 553 lb-ft of torque from its 4.4-liter V8. The conventional engines are carrying over with their power levels and eight-speed transmission setups intact, but that is not the case for the plug-in hybrid 5 Series.
The 2021 BMW 530e xDrive PHEV pairs up to a 2.0-liter turbocharged gasoline engine, as it did before. This time, it’s paired with a 107 horsepower electric motor that’s still integrated into the transmission, which combine to make a respectable 288 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque. That’s up 40 horsepower over the previous model, while the battery offers up a gross energy content of 12.0 kWh, up from 9.2 kWh in the old version.
More (standard) onboard technology
Front and center in the 2021 BMW 5 Series, as you would expect in a modern luxury car, is a prominent 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster. Flanking that is an equally large touchscreen display, now with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration. All 2021 models get the digital screens as standard equipment, as well as an onboard WiFi hotspot, full LED lighting, power sport front seats and automatic climate control.
BMW also fits its Active Driving Assistant as standard fare, with lane departure warning, frontal collision avoidance, blind spot detection, automatic high beams and rear cross traffic alert to all new 5 Series.
On the M550i xDrive, you get the Adaptive M Suspension package. That provides a specially-tuned setup to add a sportier edge to the midsize luxury sedan. The Dynamic Handling Package, which is option for the 540i and 540i xDrive models, is a system that uses electronically controlled shocks with continuously adjustable valves to better distribute dampening force to each wheel individually. BMW says this will make that model just the right amount of sporty, with the optimal amount of comfort.
Pricing for the 2021 BMW 5 Series starts at $55,195 for the base 530i, including a $995 destination fee. That’s a small $300 increase over the outgoing 2020 model. Opting for the all-wheel drive 530i xDrive model will bump the price up $2,300 to $57,495, as it will with the other models.
The 2021 BMW 530e plug-in hybrid starts at $58,195, the 540i starts at $60,445, and the all-wheel drive-only M550i xDrive starts at $77,895. The order books for the seventh-generation 5 Series are open right now, with the first deliveries scheduled for July 2020.