The BMW 5-Series debuted in the U.S. in 1975. At a time when American cars were struggling to balance engine output with new emissions standards, the BMW 530i topped its competitors with a 3.0-liter six-cylinder that produced 176 horsepower. That power, along with smooth handling and elegant styling, made the 5-Series an instant hit, and it has been a top seller ever since. It is part of the fifth generation of these premium sport sedans. The major difference between this generation and previous ones is in technology. Active roll stabilization, active cruise control, iDrive, park distance control, and a Harmon Kardon Logic7 sound system were all added to the 5-Series in 2004. Active Front Steering, which modifies the steering ratio between 10:1 and 20:1, depending on the speed, is exclusive to the fifth-generation 5-Series.
Body style: sedan
Engines: 2.5-liter six-cylinder, 3.0-liter six-cylinder, 4.4-liter V-8
Transmissions: six-speed manual, six-speed automatic, six-speed sequential-shift manual
Models: BMW 525i, BMW 530i, BMW 545i
The 2005 BMW 5-Series have updated interior styling including more extensive wood trim on the center console and adjustable front lumbar support standard in the 530i and 545i. The 525i and 530i include poplar wood trim, and Anthracite Maple wood trim is an option at no additional cost. The 525i gets 17-inch Star Spoke cast-alloy wheels for 2005. Park distance control and a six-speed manual transmission join the standard equipment list for the 545i with a six-speed steptronic automatic transmission available as a no-cost option. BMW’s innovative sequential manual transmission (SMT) is available on the 530i and 545i, and Active Steering is offered as a stand-alone option on all models.
The 2005 BMW 5-Series features the design theme that BMW launched on the flagship 7 Series in 2002. A curvy front end, flat flanks with minimal embellishment, and a high, flat rear deck with wraparound taillights give a distinctive, albeit sometimes controversial, style. The comma-shaped taillights incorporate another new technology. Adaptive brake lights illuminate more intensely and over a larger area when the driver applies the brakes quickly or when the anti-lock brake system (ABS) is activated. Three trim levels are available for the 2005 BMW 5-Series: 525i, 535i, and 545i. These are mostly distinguished by engine size, but the 525i rides on 16-inch wheels while the 535i and 545i come standard with 17-inch alloy wheels.
The BMW 5-Series dashboard has a double-wave design that is both stylish and functional. A wave arcs over the instrument cluster, while a second starts at the dash center and sweeps toward the passenger’s side. The high-quality plastics that cover the dash and doors are soft to the touch. One of the most noticeable, and controversial, features of the interior is the large control knob between the front seats. This runs the iDrive system, which controls nearly everything in the 5-Series from audio controls to telephone and navigation. It can be tricky to navigate the various menus in order to select the function that needs adjusting. Fortunately, there are separate, conventional controls for frequently adjusted items such as stereo and climate control.
Performance & Handling
The three trim levels of the 2005 BMW 5-Series are distinguished primarily by engine size. In the 525i, a 2.5-liter six-cylinder produces 184 horsepower and 175 lb-ft of torque. The 530i upgrades to a 3.0-liter six-cylinder capable of 225 hp and 214 lb-ft of torque. A 4.4-liter V-8 powers the 545i, producing 325 hp and 330 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard on the 525i and 530i, while the 545i includes a six-speed steptronic automatic transmission that's optional on the other two models. BMW’s sequential rear-wheel drive is standard for all models.
Standard safety features on the 2005 BMW 5-Series include four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes with brake assist, dual front airbags, traction control, high-intensity discharge headlights, and electronic stability control. Three-point safety belts include automatic height adjusters, front tensioners, and force limiters. An automatic locking safety belt device with a tether anchor is installed to accommodate child safety seats. An Intelligent Safety and Information System (ISIS) deploys safety mechanisms such as an automatic fuel cut-off triggered by airbag deployment; an impact sensors that automatically turns on hazard and interior lights, unlocks doors, and disconnects the alternator, fuel pump, and starter; and a side-impact interlocking door anchoring system.
EPA Fuel Economy
BMW 525i: 17/26 mpg city/highway
BMW 530i: 18/27 mpg city/highway
BMW 545i, six-speed manual: 15/23 mpg city/highway
BMW 545i, six-speed automatic: 15/22 mpg city/highway
- Smooth steering and handling
- High-quality interior materials
- Comfortable ride
You Won't Like
- Complicated controls
- Poor fuel economy with V-8
Upholds its reputation with edgy new styling and a wealth of innovative technologies.
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