The 5-Series are midsize luxury cars from the German automaker BMW. Production began in 1972, replacing the BMW New Six, and is now in its sixth generation. Body styles have included sedans and touring models with a front-engine rear-drive layout and the option of all-wheel drive after 2003.
The first generation models included those built from 1972 through 1981. These were four-door sedans with engines ranging from a 1.8-liter inline-four to a 3.5-liter inline-six, the models from 182 through 1988 made up the second generation. These came with a similar body style and power ranged from a 2.7-liter inline-six to a 3.5-liter inline-six. The third generation included those built from 1988 through 1996. BMW added a station wagon. The fourth generation Series 5 included those built from 1995 through 2003 with similar body styles and less engine options, though increased power, from a 2.8-liter inline-six up to a 4.9-liter V-8. The fifth generation models were built from 2003 through 2010 with another significant bump in power for the top-line engines; a five-liter V-10 producing 500-hp.
Body Styles: sedan
Engines: 2.5-liter inline-six, 3.0-liter inline-six, 4.4-liter V-8
Transmissions: six-speed manual, six-speed auto-shift manual, six-speed automatic
Models: BMW 525i, BMW 530i, BMW 545i
The 2004 BMW received a moderate redesign with some detail changes to the exterior and a larger body. Additional features were included and the powertrain was upgraded.
The BMW 5-Series exterior remains much the same with a solid, but fairly plain, sedan profile, BMW’s split grille with the logo above and wrap-around headlights, wheelbase pushed toward the corners for a wide stance, and subtle but aerodynamic curves. The 5-Series is available in a range of color choices. Features include adaptive brake lights, aluminum suspension available, rack-and-pinion steering, standard 16-inch wheels with optional 17-inch run-flat performance tires with the Sport Package for the 525i, and add one inch to each option for the 530i and the 545i. The 530i and 545i get additional standard features like Amber LED front parking lights.
All 2004 BMW 5-Series models seat five comfortably with more shoulder and leg room than past models. Leatherette upholstery is standard with optional upgrades. Titanium trim is standard, and wood finishes are optional. Both front bucket seats have 10-way power controls. The tachometer activates a lower rpm level when the engine is cold. Other features include optional navigation with a 6.5-inch display, a 10-speaker sound system, subwoofers standard, a CD player, plus more luxury options and standard features.
Performance & Handling
Performance is a high spot for the 2004 BMW 5-Series; similar to the 3 Series' performance and handling. Unlike the 3 Series, the top-tier engine options more than compete in power with the competition. The 184-hp 525i merges fine and passes fine with some gas; the 530i and 545i get an improved kick. The ride is comfortable on smooth roads and the steering is responsive.
Along with required front airbags, the 2004 BMW 5-Series has Integrated Advanced Head Protection standard. Active head restrains are available as well to decrease the likelihood of whiplash in a rear-end collision. Active Roll Stabilization is optional with the Sport Package. Dynamic Stability Control can be activated with a switch on the console, and all models get a flat-tire monitoring system.
EPA Fuel Economy
BMW 525i: 17/26 mpg city/highway
BMW 530i: 18/27 mpg city/highway
BMW 545i: 16/24 mpg city/highway
You Won't Like
- Odd control layout
- Price of 530i and 545i
Offers outstanding performance and plenty of luxury.
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