BMW 5 Series generations explained
With the all-new 2024 5 Series, the saloon has entered its eighth-generation. The 5 Series, for the first time, has also arrived with an all-electric equivalent, the i5. This popular offering from the German luxury firm has been critically acclaimed for its combination of luxurious comfort, performance, and modern technology. With a rich history spanning several decades, it has undergone significant transformations across its eight generations. Here we glance at the different BMW 5 Series generations, highlighting key features, notable variants, and engine options.
BMW 5 Series: The First Generation (1972-1981)
The first-ever BMW 5 Series arrived in 1972 and set the stage for its enduring success. While it is often referred to as the E12, the model also received the 'Series' naming structure. The 5 Series previewed a blend of classic and elegant design language, combining sharp lines and somewhat boxy styling. The initial engine lineup included four-cylinder options, whereas a six-cylinder engine was introduced later. There was also a range-topping M535i delivering impressive performance. With its straight six engine, the performance saloon produced 218PS and provided a top speed of 222kmph.
BMW 5 Series: The Second Generation (1981-1987)
The second generation 5 Series, known as the E28, emphasised a more aerodynamic profile - with a raised boot section. Above all, it featured advanced technological advancements for its time. The E28 came with ABS, an airbag, electronic engine control, exhaust gas catalytic converters, and an on-board computer. It was the first 5 Series model to get a diesel motor. Notably, the 115PS 524td was the fastest diesel saloon in the world. Alongside the 535i, engine options expanded to include more powerful six-cylinder variants, such as the first-ever 286PS M5.
BMW 5 Series: The Third Generation (1988-1996)
Arrived in 1988, the third generation 5 Series was considerately larger, with improved aerodynamics and 50:50 weight distribution. With the "E34," BMW introduced enhanced safety features and enhanced handling dynamics. While it continues with a range of four- and six-cylinder engine choices, it also received 315PS V8 while the M5's 3.8-litre six-pot produced 340PS. In 1991, the BMW 5 Series Touring debuted and there was even an M5 Touring.
BMW 5 Series: The Fourth Generation (1995-2004)
The fourth generation update brought a mixture of sophistication, luxury, and sportiness to the 5 Series. The E39 boasted new exterior styling and an overhauled interior. It was also claimed to be a record-braking drag coefficient vehicle. This generation also witnessed the introduction of an inline six-cylinder common rail engine. On the other hand, the V8 in the M5 was then generating a staggering 400PS.
BMW 5 Series: The Fifth Generation (2003-2010)
The fifth generation 5 Series (E60) was a point of departure from the previous design language. BMW bestowed the 5 Series E60 with advanced technological features and some of them were for the first time. The iDrive system, heads-up display, adaptive headlights/brake lights, Active Cruise Control (ACC), and drive roll stabilisation were among the noteworthy safety features and advanced entertainment system. Engine choices encompassed a range of petrol and diesel options, from 2.0-litre to 5.0-litre. In 2005, the BMW M5 gained a 507PS 5.0-litre V10.
BMW 5 Series: The Sixth Generation (2010-2017)
Moving onto the next one, the sixth-generation model is claimed to be the pinnacle of the 5 Series as BMW sold over two million units. Known as the F10, it continued BMW's commitment to luxury and performance, while incorporating various enhancements. This 5 Series showcased a sleek design and modern interior. BMW's M Sport package further made its appearance sportier. It was available with the top-rung twin-turbo V8 producing 407PS and six-cylinder diesel that makes 300PS. The engine displacement ranged from 2.0-litre to 4.4-litre, including 4, 6, and 8-cylinder units.
BMW 5 Series: Seventh Generation (2017-2023)
The seventh generation exemplified BMW's pursuit of automotive excellence. Not only the G30 embraced a sleek and modern design but also one of the sportiest 5 Series ever made. It featured a long wheelbase, slanting roofline, extended bonnet, and sharper LED headlights adjoining slimmer and wider grille. Inside, tech-laden displays take center stage. The model also made a way for advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), adaptive air suspension, and active steering. Engine options ranged from efficient four-cylinder engines to powerful six-cylinder and V8 units. Whereas, the environmental-friendly plug-in hybrid variants offered a blend of performance and efficiency.
BMW 5 Series: The Eighth Generation (2023-Present)
The eight generation update brings a high-tech 5 Series. BMW has completely overhauled the saloon (G60) inside and out. Above all, the 5 Series has gained an all-electric version, for the first time, called the i5. The key highlights of the all-new 5 Series include a new steering wheel, BMW Curved Display, new ADAS functions, and so forth. The 48-volt mild hybrid assistance is now available across the board with the greener PHEV models set to arrive in early 2024. Notably, this will be the last generation of the 5 Series to source its power from ICE.
Throughout its illustrious lineage, the BMW 5 Series has evolved to embody the luxury, performance, and innovation. From its humble beginnings to the current generation, each iteration has brought advancements in design, technology, and engine capabilities. The latest one has even given it an EV form. Whether one seeks a refined executive sedan or a thrilling performance machine, the BMW 5 Series has consistently delivered. The all-new 5 Series is also ready to embark on a new journey.
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