Photo by Vince Taroc.

Photo by Vince Taroc.

BMW's 5 Series enters its seventh generation with a long-awaited refresh that adds more powerful engines and a barrage of driver-assisting tech, while retaining much of the exterior styling and dimensions of the luxury sedan.

BMW is planning at least four, and maybe five, 5 Series models. The German automaker breaks the ice with the 2017 540i — its 3.0L inline six-cylinder model. BMW is also offering the 530i base sedan (powered by a 2.0L four-cylinder), 530e iPerformance plug-in hybrid, and M550i xDrive. BMW may bring a diesel variant and is expected to refresh the M5 as well.

Let's take a look under the hood of the 540i, which adds horsepower (38 hp) and torque (37 ft.-lb.) over the outgoing 535i. The more powerful engine comes in a lighter-weight package, which improves handling and reduces the carbon footprint by 15%, according to BMW. The sedans have shed about 220 pounds with the use of aluminum, high-tensile steel and magnesium parts.

As a result, fuel economy comes in at 30 mpg on the highway, 20 mpg in the city, and 24 mpg in combined driving cycles. The sedan would use 4.2 gallons per 100 miles, according to the EPA.

Photo by Vince Taroc.

Photo by Vince Taroc.

The 540i provides a comfortable ride, including for rear-seat passengers, and may gain a slight edge in performance and sportiness over at least one of its German counterparts, which now offers only a four-cylinder engine in its mid-size luxury sedan.

Interior and technology upgrades abound with the redesigned 5 Series. The 540i adds the gesture control features first introduced in the 2016 7 Series. The feature is a bit gimmicky — you twirl your finger in the air to raise or lower audio volume — but allows you to keep your eyes on the road.

Voice control has been upgraded, and you can speak points of interest into the nav system. This works more often than not if you enunciate your words. This 5 Series also upgrades the heads-up display, which is much more visible and changes colors to become more visible.

The base 540i retails for at least $56,450. Our model included an array of options, so it would retail for $75,335. The test vehicle's packages included Dynamic Handling, M Sport, Premium, Driver Assistance, Driver Assistance Plus II, Luxury Seating, and Cold Weather.

Related Photos: BMW's 2017 540i

About the author
Paul Clinton

Paul Clinton

Former Senior Web Editor

Paul Clinton covered an array of fleet and automotive topics for Automotive Fleet, Government Fleet, Mobile Electronics, Police Magazine, and other Bobit Business Media publications.

View Bio