The 2015 BMW 5 Series is a comfortable, technologically advanced midsize luxury sedan with a very appealing set of skills.
If the 2015 BMW 5 Series were judged on its engines alone, few would question its "Ultimate Driving Machine" status. The 528i's turbo-4 punches well above its weight. It’s powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 240 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. An eight-speed automatic transmission is standard, and an automatic stop-start function shuts down the engine when the car stops in order to save fuel. The 528i went from zero to 60 mph in 6.4 seconds and the EPA fuel economy ratings are 26 mpg combined (22/33) with xDrive all-wheel drive.
The 5 Series cabin is attractive and trimmed with consistently high-quality materials, though it's not flashy. The instrument panel is a clear connection to the company's past with its classic twin analog gauges. Another heritage touch is the dashboard's understated center stack (the portion that includes the climate and audio controls), which cants toward the driver for a sportier, more intimate feel.
Standard features on this model include 17-inch wheels, adjustable drive settings (for steering, throttle and automatic transmission response), adaptive xenon headlights with LED accent lights, LED foglights, adaptive brake lights, automatic wipers, heated mirrors, a sunroof, cruise control and auto-dimming mirrors.
Inside there's dual-zone automatic climate control, dark wood trim, ambient lighting, 10-way power front seats (with four-way power lumbar), driver memory functions, split-folding rear seats, leatherette premium vinyl upholstery and a power tilt-and-telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel. Technology features include BMW Assist emergency communications, the iDrive electronics interface (with a 10.2-inch widescreen display and smartphone app integration), a navigation system, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, and a 10-speaker sound system with a CD player, HD radio, an auxiliary audio jack and a USB port.
Safety features include stability and traction control, antilock disc brakes, front-seat side airbags, side curtain airbags and active front head restraints. The braking system also periodically wipes the brake rotors dry in wet conditions and automatically snugs the brake pads to the rotors in preparation when you abruptly lift off the throttle.
Moreover, the standard adaptive brake lights warn traffic behind you by getting brighter when you apply more brake force. Also standard is the BMW Assist emergency communications system, which includes automatic crash notification, an SOS button, remote door unlock and stolen vehicle recovery.
In government crash testing, the 5 Series earned an overall rating of five out of five stars, with a four-star rating for frontal impacts and a five-star rating for side impacts. The independent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the 5 Series its highest rating of "Good" in the moderate-overlap frontal-offset, side-impact and roof strength tests, while the 5 Series' seat/head restraint design was rated "Good" for whiplash protection in rear impacts.