BMW has announced details of the revised 5 Series Saloon and Touring range . From its launch in 2003, the E60 5 Series delivered year-on-year sales records and received numerous accolades. The new 5 Series is set to build on that success with more performance, efficiency, practicality and owner appeal. Offering new engine technology to increase performance yet improve economy by up to 25 per cent, and class-leading comfort-focused equipment such as Lane Departure Warning System, the new 5 Series is set to remain the benchmark Executive car.

A mid-life ‘refresh’ programme with new engines and technologies

The new BMW 5 Series range features a host of innovative technologies that make the world’s best Executive car even better. Engine innovations such as High Precision Direct Injection and twin-turbocharging improve performance and economy alongside class-leading comfort technologies such as Lane Departure Warning System and Head-up Display.

2008 BMW 5-Series
- image 125794

Starting production in March 2007, the new BMW 5 Series range strives for the holy grail of more power, better economy and lower emissions. Delivering power and torque increases by up to 20hp and 20Nm as well as improvements in fuel economy by up to 25 per cent, it appears to have succeeded. All nine power units in the 5 Series Saloon and Touring ranges are either entirely new to the car, or have been significantly revised over the previous model. The dramatic increases in performance and economy come courtesy of a number of new technologies that combine to provide significant and noticeable driver benefits.

High Precision Fuel Injection is offered for the first time on all six-cylinder petrol-powered 5 Series models. Piezo crystal injectors that deliver a precise amount of fuel mixture, exactly when required, offer a significant increase in performance and economy. This is complemented by a BMW first – Brake Energy Regeneration.

Efficient Dynamics

Brake Energy Regeneration appears for the first time on any BMW and forms a key component of BMW’s Efficient Dynamics programme. Efficient Dynamics focuses on three specific areas – weight, dynamics and consumption – with the intent of developing more power from less fuel in a lower-weight vehicle. 

Brake Energy Regeneration takes advantage of energy currently lost through the engine over-run during braking. It uses Intelligent Alternator Control and a high-capacity Absorbent Glass Mat battery. When engine over-run is recognised, the Intelligent Alternator engages and powers up the battery to 100 per cent with what would have been lost energy. It also reduces drag on the engine by only engaging and charging when required. Brake Energy Regeneration will combine with other technologies and other products during 2007 to provide even greater efficiency benefits. In isolation, it provides an average three per cent reduction in fuel consumption and emissions.

2008 BMW 5-Series
- image 125797

Note: the entire range of 5 Series Saloon and Touring models, with performance and economy data, can be found at the end of the release.

Gearbox choices

All 5 Series Saloon and Touring models come as standard with a six-speed manual gearbox (automatic standard on 535d variants). A high proportion of customers are expected to specify BMW’s new six-speed automatic gearbox, with its new, more ergonomic, gear selector. Using upgraded hydraulics, an innovative torque converter and powerful software, the new automatic ‘box responds to the slightest movement of the throttle pedal with reaction times increased by 40 per cent, and shift times halved.

Buyers of 550i, 540i, 530i, 535d and 530d models can opt for BMW’s all-new Automatic Sports Transmission. One press of the Sport button behind the gear lever allows shifts to be made using steering wheel mounted paddles to deliver even faster, more dynamic, changes.

Innovative Equipment

Alongside pioneering options such as Head-up Display and Night Vision, BMW 5 Series Saloon and Touring owners can now specify BMW’s latest comfort innovation – Lane Departure Warning System. A camera mounted next to the interior mirror monitors the white lines on the road ahead and, if the car crosses the line without obvious intent or without the indicator being used, the driver is notified by a vibration through the steering wheel (standard on 550i and 535d models - £350 on other models).

Customers can also now specify Active Cruise Control with Stop and Go. Previously Active Cruise Control would maintain a constant speed while monitoring the traffic ahead, and reacted to a slowing vehicle in front by slowing the BMW. With Stop and Go, the new system keeps the car a fixed distance ahead, even in slow moving stop and go traffic situations, bringing the car to a complete stop. If the period of standstill is less than three seconds, the car will resume its programmed speed (Active Cruise Control with Stop and Go costs £1,050). 

2008 BMW 5-Series
- image 125798

Design and styling

With the car still winning accolades and new customers alike, the designers have simply evolved the details of the car’s design. At the front, the headlamps and indicator units use clear glass technology while the kidney grille now sits flush with the bumper. The air duct in the front valance has also been redesigned, while at the side the sill has an additional contour line. At the rear, the indicators, running and brake lights now use horizontal LED light bars to emphasise the width of the rear.

Inside, the changes refine ergonomic details. The door panels have been redesigned, with the window switches now integrated into the horizontal armrests. In common with other recently launched BMWs, drivers now have the benefit of eight freely programmable ‘favourite’ buttons on the dashboard enabling them to more easily access their most frequently used features such as one-touch navigation destination input, or telephone calls.

The new BMW 5 Series range starts production in March 2007, with prices ranging from £26,980 OTR (520d SE Saloon) to £49,805 OTR (550i M Sport Touring).

Engine changes and statistics in detail

The engine and performance statistics for the 5 Series Saloon range, with comparisons to the outgoing car are as follows:

2008 BMW 5-Series
- image 125800
  • BMW 550i: Eight-cylinder petrol engine with VALVETRONIC and Bi-VANOS, 4,799cc, max output 367 hp, max torque 490 Nm, acceleration 0-62mph 5.2secs (-0.3secs), top speed 155 mph (limited electronically), average fuel consumption 25.9 mpg (-2 per cent) (automatic transmission 27.4 mpg (-4.5 per cent)).
  • BMW 540i: Eight-cylinder petrol engine with VALVETRONIC and Bi-VANOS, 4,000cc, max output 306 hp, max torque 390 Nm, acceleration 0-62mph 6.1secs (-0.1secs), top speed 155 mph (limited electronically), average fuel consumption 26.9 mpg (-4.7 per cent) (automatic transmission 29.1 mpg (-7 per cent)).
  • BMW 530i: Straight-six petrol engine with second-generation High Precision Direct Injection, 2,996cc, max output 272 hp (+14hp), max torque 320 Nm (+20Nm), acceleration 0–62mph 6.3secs (-0.2secs), top speed 155 mph (limited electronically), average fuel consumption 36.7 mpg (-14.3 per cent) (automatic transmission 37.7 mpg (-24 per cent)).
  • BMW 525i: Straight-six petrol engine with second-generation High Precision Direct Injection, 2,996cc, max output 218 hp, max torque 270 Nm (+20Nm), acceleration 0–62mph 7.1secs (-0.4secs), top speed 154 mph (+2mph), average fuel consumption 38.2 mpg (-17.5 per cent) ) (automatic transmission 37.7 mpg (-25.3 per cent)).
  • BMW 523i: Straight-six petrol engine with second-generation High Precision Direct Injection, 2,497cc, max output 190 hp (+13hp), max torque 235 Nm (+5Nm), acceleration 0–62mph 8.2secs (-0.3secs), top speed 147 mph, average fuel consumption 38.7 mpg (-16.6 per cent) ) (automatic transmission 37.7 mpg (-24 per cent)).
  • BMW 535d: Straight-six diesel with common-rail fuel injection and Variable Twin Turbo, 2,993cc, max output 286 hp (+14hp), max torque 580 Nm (+20Nm), acceleration 0–62mph 6.4secs (-0.1secs), top speed 155 mph (electronically limited), average fuel consumption 41.5 mpg (-17.5 per cent).
  • BMW 530d: Straight-six diesel with common-rail fuel injection and variable vane turbocharger, 2,993cc, max output 235 hp (+4hp), max torque 500 Nm, acceleration 0–62mph 6.8 seconds, top speed 155 mph, average fuel consumption 44.1 mpg (-4.5 per cent) (automatic transmission 42.8 mpg (-13.5 per cent)).
  • BMW 525d: Straight-six diesel with common-rail fuel injection and variable vane turbocharger, 2,993cc, max output 197 hp (+20hp), max torque 400 Nm, acceleration 0–62mph 7.6secs (-0.5secs), top speed 147 mph (+4mph), average fuel consumption 45.6 mpg (-11.5 per cent) (automatic transmission 43.5 mpg (-21.5 per cent)).
  • BMW 520d: Four-cylinder diesel with common-rail fuel injection and variable vane turbocharger, 1,995cc, max output 163 hp, max torque 340 Nm, acceleration 0–62mph 8.6 seconds, top speed 139 mph, average fuel consum¬ption 47.9 mpg (automatic transmission 40.9 mpg).
  • 2008 BMW 5-Series
- image 125801

Engine details of the new 5 Series Touring range, with comparisons to the outgoing car are as follows:

  • BMW 550i: Eight-cylinder petrol engine with VALVETRONIC and Bi-VANOS, 4,799cc, max output 367 hp, max torque 490 Nm, acceleration 0–62mph 5.6secs, top speed 155 mph (limited electronically), average fuel consumption 25.2 mpg (-2.4 per cent) (automatic transmission 26.4 mpg (-5.6 per cent)).
  • BMW 530i: Straight-six petrol engine with second-generation High Precision Direct Injection, 2,996cc, max output 272 hp (+14hp), max torque 320 Nm (+20Nm), acceleration 0–62mph 6.5secs (-0.2secs), top speed 155 mph (limited electronically), average fuel consumption 35.8 mpg (-16.6 per cent) (automatic transmission 36.7 mpg (-23.5 per cent)).
  • BMW 525i: Straight-six petrol engine with second-generation High Precision Direct Injection, 2,996cc, max output 218 hp, max torque 270 Nm (+20Nm), acceleration 0–62mph 7.4secs (-0.4secs), top speed 151 mph (+2mph), average fuel consumption 36.7 mpg (-15.8 per cent) ) (automatic transmission 36.7 mpg (-23.6 per cent)).
  • BMW 523i: Straight-six petrol engine with second-generation High Precision Direct Injection, 2,497cc, max output 190 hp (+13hp), max torque 235 Nm (+5Nm), acceleration 0–62mph 8.5secs (-0.3secs), top speed 143 mph (+2mph), average fuel consumption 36.7 mpg (-13 per cent) (automatic transmission 36.7 mpg (-23.6 per cent)). 
  • BMW 535d: Straight-six diesel with common-rail fuel injection and Variable Twin Turbo, 2,993cc, max output 286 hp (+14hp), max torque 580 Nm (+20Nm), acceleration 0–62mph 6.5secs (0.1secs), top speed 155 mph (electronically limited), average fuel consumption 40.4 mpg (-17.4 per cent).
  • BMW 530d: Straight-six diesel with common-rail fuel injection and variable vane turbocharger, 2,993cc, max output 235 hp (+4hp), max torque 500 Nm, acceleration 0–62mph 6.9secs, top speed 152 mph, average fuel consum¬ption 42.8mpg (-6 per cent) (automatic transmission 41.5 mpg (-13 per cent)).  
  • BMW 525d: Straight-six diesel with common-rail fuel injection and variable vane turbocharger, 2,993cc, max output 197 hp (+20hp), max torque 400 Nm, acceleration 0–62mph 7.8secs (-0.5secs), top speed 144 mph (+4mph), average fuel consumption 44.1 mpg (-12.5 per cent) (automatic transmission 42.8 mpg (-22.6 per cent)). 
  • BMW 520d: Four-cylinder diesel with common-rail fuel injection and variable vane turbocharger, 1,995cc, max output 163 hp, max torque 340 Nm, acceleration 0–62mph 8.9secs, top speed 135 mph, average fuel consumption 46.3 mpg (automatic transmission 39.8 mpg).
2008 BMW 5-Series
- image 125796

What’s new for 2008

As of 3/07 production (Sedans and Sports Wagon):

  • 528i Sedan (new designation)
  • 528xi Sedan (new designation)
  • 535i Sedan (new designation)
  • 535xi Sedan (new designation)
  • 535xi Sports Wagon (new designation)
  • 550i Sedan (existing model)

2008 BMW 5-Series
- image 125802
2007 bmw 5 series

Performance & efficiency

All 5 Series models:

  • New STEPTRONIC includes faster shifting and more efficient operation for improved efficiency and quicker acceleration. This transmission is now a no-cost option on all 5 Series models
  • New electronic shifter offers “shift-by-wire” actuation and more ergonomic operation
  •  SMG no longer available

528i/xi Sedan only

  • 230-hp N52 engine for all 528i/xi models:
  • magnesium/aluminum composite construction
  • Valvetronic and Double VANOS valve actuation
  • includes single-stage intake
  • revised tuning provides 230 horsepower @ 6500 rpm, 200 lb-ft. of torque at 2750 rpm, an increase of 15 horsepower/15 lb-ft. of torque over previous 525i.
  • New optional wheels and tires. 528i Sport Package includes 18-inch wheels with performance run-flat tires; optional with Sport Package on 528xi
2008 BMW 5-Series
- image 125804

535i/xi Models

  • 300-hp N54 for all 535i/xi models:
  • all-aluminum construction
  • twin-turbocharger technology boosts horsepower with virtually no turbo-lag
  • Direct fuel injection with piezo electric injectors
  • Double VANOS 1 steplessly variable valve timing
  • N54 engine rated at 300 horsepower @ 5800 rpm, 300 lb-ft. of torque at 1400—5000 rpm, an increase of 45 horsepower and an astonishing 80 lb-ft. of torque over previous 530i/xi, with a significantly broader torque band.
  • Brake discs upgraded to 13.7 front and 13.6 rear, same size as 550i

535xi Sedan

  • 535xi Sport Package offers the additional option of 18-inch wheels and tires in staggered width; first time on all-wheel-drive models

535i Sedan

  • New optional Sport Automatic includes steering-wheel paddle shifters and rpm matching during downshifts, plus a Sport button for quicker, more dynamic shifting (beginning 06/07 production)
  • Sport Package includes 18-inch wheel and tire sizes in staggered width; first time on 6-cylinder models

535xi Sports Wagon

  • 300-hp N54 engine, same as 535i/xi Sedans. This engine makes the 535xi Sport Wagon the most powerful wagon BMW has ever offered, including the previous-generation (E39) V-8-powered 540i
  • 535xi Sport Wagon offers 18-inch wheel and tire sizes as an upgrade with the Sport Package (same size front and rear)
2008 BMW 5-Series
- image 125805

550i Sedan

  • New optional Sport Automatic includes steering-wheel paddle shifters and rpm matching during downshifts, plus a Sport button for quicker, more dynamic shifting (beginning 06/07 production)
  • Sport Package now includes 19-inch, staggered-width wheels with performance tires, new aerodynamics package

Exterior design & function

All 5 Series Sedans

  • Reconfigured optical headlight lenses
  • New front airdam has reshaped opening with upturned ends
  • Relocated amber DOT lenses; headlight area is completely white
  • Taillights include new white design with fewer reflectors, plus red lines in the optical lenses
  • Reshaped rear bumper, with revised diffuser below the bumper

535xi Sports Wagon

• New front-end treatment includes revised headlights, front fascia and relocated DOT lenses
• New rear-end treatment includes reconfigured taillights. Rear diffuser remains as before

Ergonomics, luxury & convenience

  • Thoroughly revised interior
  • New standard steering wheel
  • Window switches relocated to armrest
  • Larger, more refined door pockets
  • Smaller, leather-wrapped passenger door handle
  • Wood trim now flows from the instrument panel into the door panel, giving a richer, warmer, more integrated look
  • iDrive includes six programmable “favorites” buttons, which can be set to many frequently used features including destination addresses, auto-dialed phone numbers or radio station presets
  • New electronic shifter for STEPTRONIC automatic with ergonomically optimized contour, placement and function
  • Leather-wrapped center console with:
    • New center-console storage compartment
    • New ashtray
    • Leather-trimmed iDrive controller
  • • Radio buttons and temperature controls trimmed in titanium silver
2008 BMW 5-Series
- image 125799

New options, all models

  • Active Cruise Control Stop & Go, allows operation even in heavy traffic, and can accommodate speeds all the way down to a complete stop, and resume to set speed from 0 mph
  • Lane Departure Warning system, provides an immediate notification when the car crosses into another lane without turn signals
  • USB adaptor for iPods or MP3 players, which does not use the CD player connections

5 Series models for 2008

528i Sedan

The Series’ “basic” model, with an additional increase in horsepower this year, new STEPTRONIC automatic, new interior and freshened exterior styling. Significantly improved 0-60 performance—0.8 seconds quicker with manual transmission, 0.5 seconds quicker with automatic. Key distinguishing features and attributes include:

2008 BMW 5-Series
- image 125803
  • Revised 3.0-liter DOHC 24-valve inline 6-cylinder engine with magnesium/aluminum composite construction, Valvetronic variable intake-valve lift, Double VANOS 1 variable valve timing, single-stage induction system; 230 hp/200 lb-ft. torque
  • Standard 6-speed manual transmission, 6-speed STEPTRONIC automatic transmission optional at no extra cost
  • 17 x 7.5 alloy wheels, Star Spoke design #138
  • 225/50R-17 V-rated all-season tires
  • Standard Dynamic Traction Control
  • Active Steering available only as stand-alone option
  • 4-wheel ventilated disc brakes
  • Leatherette upholstery
  • 10-way power front seats, including power head restraints
  • Available option Packages:
    • Sport (includes sport suspension, Sport steering wheel, space-saver spare tire, Shadowline trim, Active Roll Stabilization, 18 x 8.0-in. Star Spoke (design #246) wheels with run-flat performance tires and 20-way Multi-Contour seats)
    • Premium (includes Dakota leather, Universal Garage Door Opener, auto-dimming interior & power-folding exterior mirrors, 4-way power lumbar support, and ambient lighting package)
  • Cold Weather (includes heated steering wheel, heated front seats & retractable headlight washers)

2008 BMW 5-Series
- image 167376

528xi Sedan

The 528xi is equipped essentially like the 528i Sedan, with minor differences in technical specifications, options and Package contents. Key differentiating features from 528i Sedan include:

  • xDrive all-wheel drive system, electronically controlled with variable front/rear torque split and traction control
  • Performance and fuel efficiency are somewhat affected by additional weight and mechanism of AWD system. With new 230-hp engine, acceleration is 7.1 seconds 0-60 mph manual, 7.6 seconds with STEPTRONIC automatic; top speed is now electronically limited to 150 mph.
  • Dynamic Traction Control included along with Hill Descent Control
  • Wheel construction differs; same rim width, but different offset
  • Vehicle height increases from 57.8 in. to 58.3 in.
  • Same option Packages as 528i, except:
  • Sport Package deletes sport suspension calibration (AWD have their own calibration, same with or without Sport Package); deletes Active Roll Stabilization; and retains standard 17 x 7.5 wheels and all-season tires
  • New 18 x 8.0 Star Spoke wheels (design #246) with 245/40R-18 run-flat performance tires 2 (same equipment as included in 528i Sport Package) are available as stand-alone option in combination with Sport Package
  • Active Steering not available

2008 BMW 5-Series
- image 167369

535i Sedan

Premium 6-cylinder model, with new 3.0-liter twin-turbo inline-6 and more extensive standard equipment. Performance jumps significantly over 528i and previous 530i—0-60 acceleration drops to 5.7 seconds with automatic. Key differentiating features from 528i Sedan include:

  • Twin-turbocharged N54 engine with aluminum block and head and cast-iron cylinder liners; Double VANOS 1 and direct fuel injection; 300 hp/300 lb-ft. torque
  • Xenon Adaptive headlights standard (528i: optional)
  • Same option Packages as 528i, except:
  • Premium Package deletes 4-way power front-seat lumbar support, as it is standard on this model
  • Sport Package (includes same equipment as 528i Package except 535i adds staggered-width Star Spoke wheels (Design #124); 18 x 8.0-in. front, 18 x 9.0-in. rear) with 245/40R-18 front and 275/35R-18 rear run-flat performance tires 2

2008 BMW 5-Series
- image 125797

535xi Sedan

Combines the 535i engine and xDrive to create a higher-performing all-wheel-drive sports-luxury Sedan. Key differentiating features from the 535i Sedan include:

  • Performance and fuel efficiency are only marginally affected by additional weight and mechanism of AWD system; acceleration with automatic actually drops, to 5.6 seconds compared to 5.7 for the 535i Sedan
  • xDrive all-wheel drive system, electronically controlled with variable front/rear torque split and traction control
  • Dynamic Traction Control included along with Hill Descent Control
  • Wheel construction differs; same rim width, but different offset
  • Vehicle height increases from 57.8 in. to 58.3 in.
  • Same option Packages as 535i, except:
    •  Sport Package deletes sport suspension calibration (AWD have their own calibration, same with or without Sport Package); deletes Active Roll Stabilization; and retains standard 17 x 7.5 wheels and all-season tires
    • Staggered width wheels (18 x 8.0-in. front, 18 x 9.0-in. rear) with 245/40R-18 front and 275/35R-18 rear run-flat performance tires 2 are available as stand-alone option in combination with Sport Package
  • Active Steering not available

2008 BMW 5-Series
- image 167391

535xi Sports Wagon

Combines 5 Series design, performance and technology with sports-wagon versatility. Embodies a host of features that enhance people- and cargo-carrying capabilities; xDrive endows it with amazing traction and agility. With new twin-turbo engine, the 535xi Sport Wagon becomes the quickest 5 Series wagon ever offered in the U.S. Minimal additional weight has only a slight effect on acceleration compared to 535xi Sedan; 5.8 seconds 0-60 mph with automatic. Key differentiating features from 535xi Sedan include:

  • Sports Wagon body, unique from the windshield back, graceful yet practical; essentially the same length and width, 0.4 in. taller, 198 lb. additional curb weight
  • Standard roof rails, accommodating BMW roof carrier systems
  • Dual-panel Panoramic Moonroof
  • Variable cargo area, with straight side walls and level floor:
    • Wider than in previous 5 Series Sports Wagon; cargo volume ranges from 17.6 to 58.3 cu ft. with seats upright or folded, height of loaded cargo
    • Enclosed storage compartments on both sides
    • Lockable storage compartment under floor, with adjustable dividers for small cargo items
  • Standard cargo net, usable with rear seats upright or folded
  • Tailgate with separately opening rear window (both open upward)
    • Electrically released from remote or interior switch
    • Soft Close of lower section: user closes gently, power mechanism draws it down
    • Cargo cover rises automatically when window or lower tailgate is opened;
    • supported on gas struts, no cord or prop. Cover can also be removed from vehicle.
    • Optional power tailgate with programmable opening height
    • Red light at left bottom of tailgate for safety; visible when tailgate is open
  • Unique rear suspension, with self-leveling air springs; designed to maximize cargo space
  • Optional 18 x 8.0 Star Spoke wheels (design #124) with 245/40R-18 run-flat performance tires 2 (same style as included in 535xi Sport Package) are available as stand-alone option in combination with Sport Package. Same size wheels and tires front and rear

2008 BMW 5-Series
- image 167378

550i Sedan

Flagship model, with 4.8-liter, 360-hp all-aluminum N62 V-8, standard Dakota leather and additional standard equipment over any 6-cylinder model. Further performance gain over 535i—5.4 seconds 0-60 with manual transmission, 5.5 seconds with automatic. Key differentiating features from 535i Sedan include:

  • All-aluminum 32-valve V-8; Valvetronic variable intake-valve lift and Double VANOS 1; 2-stage intake manifold, 360 hp/360 lb-ft. torque
  • wider, 17 x 8.0-inch wheels with 225/50R-17 all-season run-flat tires
  • Standard Park Distance Control
  • Same option Packages as 535i, except:
    • Premium Package deleted as all contents standard on this model
    • Sport Package includes all items in 535i package, but substitutes larger staggered-width wheels (19 x 8.0-in. front, 19 x 9.5-in. rear) with 245/35R-19 front and 275/30R-19 rear performance tires. 2 The 550i Sports Package also includes V-8 specific sport exhaust system and its own unique aerodynamics kit


BMW’s engines have become legendary for their performance, smoothness, and sophistication—attributes that apply equally well to BMW’s inline-6s and V-8s. The 5 Series offers three of these engines—two 6-cylinders and one V-8—including the company’s first turbocharged engine in more than three decades. From the base 528i to the range-topping 550i, the 5 Series offers the most impressive range of powerplants in the class, all backed by 6-speed transmissions, manual or automatic.

2008 BMW 5-Series
- image 167371

As the first full-production aluminum/magnesium composite engine every offered, the 3.0-liter N52 inline-6 carries on BMW’s tradition of building cutting-edge engines that combine outstanding power, unparalleled refinement and excellent fuel economy. For 2008, this engine receives a boost to 230 horsepower, making the 528i/xi Sedans the most powerful entry-level 5 Series ever offered. Similarly, the new 300-hp twin-turbo 535i/xi Sedans and Sports Wagon are the quickest 6-cylinder-powered 5 Series cars yet. And the range-topping 550i offers the same 360-horsepower V-8 as BMW’s 750Li Sedan in a sportier, more compact platform.

These exemplary engines reside in a chassis that includes aluminum suspension, large-diameter disc brakes, performance tires on 17-, 18- or 19-inch wheels and options such as Active Steering and Active Roll Stabilization. With either xDrive all-wheel-drive or traditional rear-drive, the 5 Series sets the standard for handling, ride and braking for the class.

BMW’s inline 6-cylinder engines: Class-leading distinction, performance and efficiency

Almost all vehicle manufacturers of 6-cylinder engines have adopted the V-6 format, whose compactness is advantageous in small or midsize cars with front-wheel drive. By contrast, BMW’s inline 6-cylinder engines are outstanding for their smoothness and sound, and BMW customers treasure them for these attributes. Thus BMW retains the inline format while developing it toward reduced weight, more compact dimensions – and ever more brilliant performance, smoothness and sound. An increase in fuel efficiency and even tighter control of emissions were also set as goals for this BMW engine generation, which currently powers the 2008 528i/xi 6-cylinder models.

2008 BMW 5-Series
- image 167372

N52 engine: magnesium/aluminum composite construction and Valvetronic variable valve lift
As the “base” level powerplant, the N52 engine offers a wide variety of benefits in the 528i and 528xi Sedans. In addition to offering a further development of BMW’s traditional inline 6-cylinder engine, the aluminum/magnesium composite construction reduces weight compared to an all-aluminum design, which also enhances weight distribution. The Valvetronic variable valve lift improves performance and fuel efficiency, while detail refinements such as an electric water pump and volume-controlled oil pump also increase efficiency. The result is an engine that retains the legendary smoothness of BMW’s inline 6-cylinder engines, while offering an outstanding balance of performance and fuel efficiency.

Compared to the previous M54 6-cylinder, the N52 offers a wide variety of benefits:

  • Higher revving ability. The “redline” is 7000 rpm, vs. 6500 for the M54.
  • Reduced weight – 22 lb. less. Had BMW engineers developed the previous engine to meet their goals, it would have added about 30 lb. – and thus would have weighed fully 52 lb. more than the new engine does.
  • More compact – Because there is just one external drive belt, vs. the previous two, overall engine length is about an inch shorter. Here are details of how this dramatic progress was achieved – over an engine that was already outstanding in all these respects:

Evolved Valvetronic variable valve lift. This exclusive, patented innovation, enhancing the performance and fuel efficiency of BMW’s V-8 and V-12 engines since 2002, varies valve lift to control engine power, dispensing with a conventional throttle. Valvetronic enhances engine power, torque and efficiency. Compared to the original Valvetronic system, introduced on BMW’s V-8 and V-12 engines in 2002, the N52 engine’s 2nd-generation system benefits from several evolutionary improvements:

2008 BMW 5-Series
- image 167374
  • Maximum engine speed increased by 500 rpm. Enabled by making Valvetronic’s reciprocating parts more rigid.
  • Maximum intake-valve lift increased from 9.7 mm to 9.9 mm, which contributes to the increase in maximum power output.
  • Greater maximum intake-valve acceleration. Less time is spent opening and closing the valves; thus they are effectively open longer.
  • Phasing of the two intake valves. Starting from minimal intake-valve lift (i.e. idling), an increase in engine load causes the lift and timing of intake valve 1 to increase faster than that of valve 2. At its maximum, this phasing has valve 1 lifting 1.8 mm more than valve 2; at about 6 mm, the two valves are again “in synch.” This refinement enhances fuel economy under low-load driving conditions.

Improved combustion chambers. Subtle refinements to the combustion-chamber shape conspire with the intake-valve phasing to create more stable combustion, with benefits to fuel efficiency and emission control.

Further evolved VANOS. Double VANOS 1 is a familiar feature of all current BMW engines. The range over which intake-valve timing can be varied has been increased by 10º, achieving yet another de-throttling effect.

2008 BMW 5-Series
- image 167375

Higher fuel-injection pressure results in an improved injection spray, helping reduce raw hydrocarbon emissions in a cold engine.

All-new engine electronics. Among many innovative details, the basic ignition and valve timing functions are duplicated. The first part was optimized for fuel consumption and emissions; the second part was determined according to pure driving parameters. Depending upon how perfectly the engine is running at any time, control interpolates between the two strategies. Under ideal conditions, the engine always runs with its lowest possible fuel consumption. In case of poor fuel quality or unfavorable environmental conditions, the control parameters prioritize driveability. With introduction of this latest version, the engine’s electronic control module has been upgraded in calculating capability and renamed from MSV70 to MSV80.

Magnesium/aluminum composite construction. An important innovation – a world’s first in modern times and exclusive to BMW. Structurally, the new engine block consists of three major castings:

  • Bedplate (magnesium alloy ). The lower portion of the block (crankcase); similar in concept to a construction element found in some racing engines as well as the M5 and M6’s 500-hp V-10. The bedplate combines with the upper crankcase to form the block’s outer shell; the result is an ultra-rigid engine structure.
  • Upper crankcase (magnesium alloy). Joining the bedplate at the level of the
  • crankshaft (main) bearings, this too is a weight-saving casting. It is mounted onto
  • the bedplate from above.
  • Insert (silicon-impregnated aluminum alloy, or Alusil). In this sense, the N52’s construction resembles that of current BMW V-8 and V-12 engines, though these blocks are all-Alusil.
2008 BMW 5-Series
- image 167377

In addition to the magnesium construction, other weight-saving materials include hollow camshafts, saving a remarkable 2.6 lb. each. Beginning as steel tubes, the camshafts are shaped in a hydroforming procedure, subjected from the inside to a water pressure of 58,000 lb./sq in. against outer forms to achieve the cam profiles. The engine’s camshaft cover is of a new, weight-saving plastic material. (On earlier N52 engines, it was of magnesium.) And the chain camshaft drive, a high-durability, low-maintenance feature of all current BMW engines, has an aluminum chain tensioner that also saves weight. As a final weight-reducing element, the exhaust headers’ flanges are formed from 2-mm-thick steel, significantly lighter than the 12-mm flanges used in the M54.

Electric water pump, electronically controlled according to coolant and oil temperatures at any moment. It runs only as much as needed, and in doing so consumes a maximum of 200 watts vs. up to 2 kilowatts (10 times as much) for a conventional pump. The electric pump has numerous tangible benefits:

  • By requiring less power, contributes to the engine’s increased power output.
  • Faster engine warmup, because it doesn’t circulate coolant when the engine is cold.
  • Provides coolant circulation for the Heat-at-Rest feature now included in the climate control.
  • By eliminating an external drive belt, makes the engine shorter.

Variable-volume oil pump. To supply pressure to the VANOS 1 at all speeds and temperatures without excess capacity at high engine speeds, BMW engineers developed a new type of oil pump with these advantages:

2008 BMW 5-Series
- image 125806
  • Contributes to the engine’s increased power output, by requiring less power from the engine.
  • Doesn’t require a bypass to divert excess flow, which can be up to 80% with a conventional pump. This also avoids possible excess oil temperatures and oil foaming.

Oil/coolant heat exchanger. Another feature that speeds engine warmup; during this phase of operation, it transfers heat from the coolant to the oil circuit. Under conditions of high engine power and high oil temperatures, it performs the reverse, transferring heat from the oil circuit to the coolant, from which the engine cooling system then removes excess heat.

Additional power for 2008

While those traits illustrate the improvement over the previous-generation BMW inline-6, the N52 engine also benefits from additional power enhancements for 2008. Compared to its most direct predecessor, the 215-hp 525i/xi engine of 2007, the 230-hp 528i/xi engine delivers a tangible performance boost:

528i vs. 525i –

  • 0-60 mph in 6.5 sec. for the 528i Sedan with manual transmission, compared to the ’07 525i Sedan’s 7.3 sec. (In fact, the new 528i nearly matches the 2007 530i from 0 to 60 mph, 6.5 sec. vs. 6.4!)
  • 0-60 mph in 7.1 sec. with automatic transmission, vs. 7.6 sec.
2008 BMW 5-Series
- image 167389

528xi vs. 525xi –

  • 0-60 mph in 7.1 sec. for the 528xi with manual transmission, vs. ’07 525xi Sedan’s 7.9 sec.
  • 0-60 in 7.6 sec. with automatic transmission, vs. 8.2 sec.

N54 engine: twin turbocharging, piezo direct fuel injection, high compression ratio

As BMW’s other approach to modern 6-cylinder power, the N54 is as innovative as the N52 engine, though these different innovations are aimed at further increasing performance. A pair of relatively small turbochargers boost performance significantly, but minimize the traditional turbocharging response lag (“turbo-lag”). In addition, high precision direct fuel injection further enhances performance and fuel efficiency. Finally, high-tech heat-resistant materials in the engine help facilitate performance. With the N52 naturally aspirated engine and this even-newer N54 turbocharged unit, BMW is announcing to the world its approach to high performance: Instead of ever-larger engines, BMW will achieve its performance goals with smaller, lighter, more efficient and cleaner-running engines.

First: the 300-hp N54 engine is anything but simply a turbocharged version of the 230-hp N52. Several new “core” features distinguish it from the N52 and facilitate the higher performance level:

2008 BMW 5-Series
- image 167392
  • All-aluminum structure. As attractive as the magnesium/aluminum concept is for saving weight, the extra strength of all aluminum construction was deemed necessary for the increased power and torque. Some, but not all, of the mag/alu construction’s weight saving was lost. Like the N52’s, the N54 block is a completely new construction, with bedplate.
  • Cast-iron cylinder liners. Whereas the N52 has an aluminum-silicon cylinder casting inside its magnesium crankcase, the N54 has cast-iron sleeves inside its aluminum crankcase.
  • Different bore and stroke. The bore has been reduced from 85.0 to 84.0 mm; the stroke is increased from 88.0 to 89.6 mm. This gives greater cylinder-wall thickness – again to handle the higher stresses within the engine – but leaves the engine’s displacement essentially unchanged at 2979 cc vs. the N52’s 2996 cc. Both round off to 3.0 liters.
  • Conventional valvegear. In the research and development that led to the N54 engine, BMW’s engineers found that Valvetronic’s variable intake-valve lift did not lend its advantages to the turbocharged engine. They remain valid for the non-turbo engine.
  • Moderately increased weight. Naturally, the aluminum construction, iron cylinder liners and turbochargers add some weight to the N54; so do solid camshafts, compared to the N52’s hollow ones. Altogether, the N54 weighs 419 lb., vs. the N52’s 357. With this moderate weight increase, of course, come 70 more horsepower and those 300 lb-ft. of torque; BMW engineers point out that a 4-liter engine of this performance would weigh a good 150 lb. more!

The performance-enhancing technologies

Now, here are the technologies and features that actually produce the dramatically increased power and – especially – torque that characterize the new N54 engine:

Twin turbochargers. Turbocharging is a familiar form of increasing the performance of combustion engines – it has been around in various forms for 100 years. At various times, BMW has set milestones in the development of turbocharging: in 1973, the 2002 Turbo offered 170 hp, vs. 130 for its non-turbo stablemate the 2002 tii. In 1983, a BMW powered Brabham racecar was the first turbocharged vehicle to win a Formula 1 championship.

2008 BMW 5-Series
- image 167370

Yet over its history, turbocharging has also suffered some daunting drawbacks. If, as was usual, a single turbo was used, it often had an unacceptable degree of “turbo lag” – the lag between the time the driver mashed down the accelerator pedal to the time when the turbo responded. This was at its worst at low engine speeds. Another was relatively high fuel consumption. And finally, the available materials didn’t always fare well under the high-heat, high-rpm operation of a turbocharger, which gets its energy from hot, flowing exhaust gases and typically spins well past 100,000 rpm. After the 2002 Turbo, which ironically was introduced just about the time of the first international energy crisis, BMW set turbocharging aside. (Except for diesel engines, where turbocharging is a highly conventional, almost indispensable, power enhancer.)

The N54 turbocharging concept addresses both turbo lag and durability concerns. By utilizing two small turbos – each one serving three cylinders – BMW has reduced the inertia that creates turbo lag. To quote Dr. Burkhard Göschel, BMW’s Board Member for Engineering, turbo lag “has now become a thing of the past. The engine is agile, and it performs like a big, naturally aspirated engine, but with much better mileage.”

Materials progress, always a factor in advancing the capabilities of engineering and technology, figures here too: BMW has drawn upon innovative and heat-resistant materials from space technology to facilitate the twin turbos’ dramatic contribution to performance. All turbo components subjected to the most extreme heat (i.e. the exhaust stream) are made of advanced steels that can withstand up to 1050ºC, or 1920ºF.

2008 BMW 5-Series
- image 167382

Direct fuel injection with piezo injectors. Fuel injection, as we have (mostly) known it over the decades in which it has become a feature of all contemporary automotive engines, has been of the port type: the fuel is injected into the engine’s intake ports, where air passes through on its way to the cylinders. Direct fuel injection sprays fuel directly into the cylinders, or more precisely the combustion chambers. If this were as simple as it sounds, direct injection would long since be commonplace. But the cylinder is a much hotter, higher pressure place than the intake port and poses big hurdles for the fuel injectors and the optimization of just how, when and how much fuel is squirted in. Until now, the only BMW gasoline engine with direct injection has been the 760Li V-12 engine, where this technology brings advantages in fuel efficiency, power, torque and emission control.

The N54’s direct injection is a 2nd-generation evolution of the 760Li’s system, and a key factor in achieving BMW’s goals for this engine. Its main advance over the 1st-generation system is that it gives the engineers greater degrees of freedom in the calibration of fuel quantity and timing and the distribution of the fuel-air mixture in the combustion chamber. With this concept, it’s possible to utilize a “leaner” mixture – thus less fuel. The advantages in fuel efficiency, power, torque and emission control are more significant.

A further advantage to torque and fuel consumption is the cooling effect of fuel being injected into the hot combustion chambers. Typically, to avoid overheating, turbochargers have had to make do with a lower compression ratio. That ’73 2002 Turbo, for example, had a low 6.9:1 ratio, vs. the non-turbo 2002 tii’s 9.5:1; a more contemporary example is the Volvo S60 2.5 Turbo engine’s 9.0:1 compression ratio vs. it’s non-turbo counterpart’s 10:3:1. As a higher compression ratio benefits both fuel efficiency and (especially low-speed) torque – traditional turbo engines have suffered on both counts – the N54 benefits mightily: its compression ratio is 10.5:1, almost exactly the same as the non-turbo N52’s 10.7:1!

2008 BMW 5-Series
- image 125800

Positioned centrally in the combustion chambers for optimum combustion, the injectors – those critical components that inject the fuel into each cylinder’s combustion chamber – are subject to especially high temperatures. A new-type piezo injector is another essential element in attaining the ambitious performance/efficiency/emissions goals with the necessary long-term durability: A “stack” of piezo crystals reacts lightning-fast to impulses from the engine electronics, governing the injector needle’s opening stroke and duration for ultra-precise control of fuel quantity.

According to researchers who led the piezo injector’s development, alone it contributes 2-3% fuel savings and 20% less emissions. Its operating principle involves applying mechanical pressure to a non-conducting crystal to produce an electrical impulse; in turn, this impulse is so fast that it significantly reduces the injector’s response time.

Air-to-air intercooling. Turbocharging typically includes intercooling of the engine’s induction air, that is, some method of cooling the compressed air that emerges, heated up by the compression process, from the turbocharger(s). Sometimes it’s done with coolant; in this case it’s done indirectly by outside air. Intercooling is desirable, even necessary, to reduce the temperature of incoming air to help preclude detonation or “knocking” that can reduce power or, in the extreme, damage the engine. Of course the N54, like the N52 and all other current BMW engines, has knock control.

High-rpm concept. This is shared with the N52 engine, and also contributes significantly to the engine’s performance character. Like the N52, the N54 has a 7000-rpm redline. Its maximum power occurs at 5800 rpm – actually lower than the 530i’s 6600 and the new 528i’s 6500 rpm – but power stays high and vigorous well toward that 7000 rpm.

2008 BMW 5-Series
- image 125801

The bottom lines. The peak power of 300 hp has already been mentioned; this is fully 45 higher than the 530i, and 70 hp up on the 528i. The torque increase is just as impressive: 300 lb-ft., vs. the 530i’s 220 and 528i’s 200. At least as important is the fact that this engine can deliver its peak torque all the way from 1400 rpm (not far above idling!) to 5000 rpm. Finally, 300 lb-ft. is significantly better than competing 3.5-liter non-turbo engines deliver: Lexus GS 350, 274 lb-ft. at a high 3600 rpm; Infiniti M35, 268 lb-ft. at an even higher 4800 rpm. Compared to the 528i’s 200 lb-ft., the N54’s 300 lb-ft. is fully 50% greater. BMW engine engineers assert that to achieve this kind of torque increase, it would have taken a 4-liter naturally aspirated engine. That would have weighed too much and its fuel consumption would have been unacceptably high. For this reason, say the engineers, “we did not take that path.”

One BMW engine engineer, Udo Lindner, goes so far as to assert that the N54 has “the torque of a diesel but the revving capability of a gasoline engine.” Diesels, currently very popular in Europe and capable of stump-pulling torque, operate at rpm levels well below those of gasoline engines, so he’s saying that the N54 delivers the best of both worlds.

The other bottom line, surely the most important to performance enthusiasts, is dramatically quicker acceleration compared to their predecessors:

535i Sedan:

  • 0-60 in 5.7 sec. with automatic transmission, vs. 6.6 sec. for the 530i

535xi Sedan:

  • 0-60 in 5.6 sec. with automatic transmission, vs. 6.9 sec. for the 530xi Sedan

535i Sports Wagon:

  • 0-60 in 5.8 sec. with automatic transmission, vs. 7.3 sec. for the 530xi Sports Wagon
2008 BMW 5-Series
- image 125795

With their standard manual transmissions (SOP 09/07), all these pairings will offer comparable improvements. As in all 5 Series cars, top speed is electronically controlled at 150 mph.

The 550i’s V-8

The 550i’s predecessor was widely acclaimed by most who drove or tested the 545i, not merely for its strong, fuel-efficient power, but also for its highly pleasing sound. Car and Driver (May ’04) summed it up as “among the friendliest, most enthusiastic engines in existence.“

With 4.8 liters, the 550i’s V-8 delivers brilliant performance. Peak power is 360 hp; likewise, peak torque is 360. With its standard 6-speed manual transmission the 550i attains 60 mph in just 5.4 sec. from rest; with automatic, the new model does 0-60 in 5.5 sec.

Dynamic Stability Control

All BMW models are standard-equipped with Dynamic Stability Control, which provides a wide range of traction and stability functions.

While retaining all the functions or the previous DSC, a revised system appeared in the 5 Series and other BMWs in 2006. This Enhanced DSC adds a wide array of customer-relevant functions that make driving even safer and more pleasant. They are:

2008 BMW 5-Series
- image 125797
  • Brake Fade Compensation. Brake fade occurs as the brakes heat up under hard use; a given degree of deceleration requires more pressure on the brake pedal. As brake temperature rises, this function automatically compensates by increasing the hydraulic pressure relative to pedal force.
  • Brake Standby. When the driver lifts off the accelerator pedal abruptly, DSC recognizes that sharp braking may be about to occur and applies just enough pressure in the brake system to snug up the pads against the rotors. Thus by the time the driver’s foot reaches the brake pedal, the lag time normally resulting from bringing the pad to the rotor is eliminated, reducing stopping or deceleration distance.
  • Brake Drying. Acting on input from the rain sensor (an element of the standard rain-sensing windshield wipers), the pads are periodically brought up to the rotors – just enough to eliminate any film of water between pads and rotors, but not enough to cause a brake application.
  • Comfort Stop. Especially with an automatic transmission, unless the driver consciously eases off on the brake pedal, a jerk can occur as the vehicle comes to a stop. Comfort Stop eases off, making for smoother stops. Currently only in the rear-wheel-drive models.
  • Start-off Assistant. Briefly holds the vehicle when the brakes are released while stopped facing uphill. The driver can then start up without doing a ballet with the clutch, brake and accelerator (manual transmission) or rolling backward on a steep hill (automatic transmission).
  • Modulated ABS function. “Analogized” control of the DSC brake valves makes the anti-lockup function (ABS) smoother. Instead of simply being fully on or off, application and release of these valves are now modulated.
  • 2008 BMW 5-Series
- image 167382

Character of the 5 Series: the essence of sport and luxury

Long one of BMW’s true core products, the 5 Series elegantly defines the middle of the line with compact exterior dimensions, ample interior space and a masterfully calibrated blend of sport and luxury. Appearing in ’04 in its current generation, the Series maintained trim exterior size while increasing interior space and introducing new technologies – including an aluminum front-end structure, available Active Steering and Active Roll Stabilization, evolved suspension and a further developed iDrive control system.

That the current generation carries on the 5 Series tradition brilliantly is supported by this quote from Motor Trend’s March ’05 issue: “Here’s a thoroughbred, the product of decades of setting the benchmark all other automakers’ sport sedans aspire to. Just look at the stance, the way the body sits on the chassis, ready to pounce on any opportunity to show its stuff on a challenging stretch of road. The smoothness and flexibility of BMW inline-sixes are legendary, and the 225 horses of the 2979-cc engine seem more spirited than their numbers might otherwise suggest. And BMW is one of the only automakers courageous enough to offer a 6-speed manual gearbox in a $50,000 sedan.”

With even more powerful engines, available xDrive and the new Sports Wagon to extend its capabilities, the 5 Series is today’s representative of this fine tradition.

2008 BMW 5-Series
- image 167385

State-of-the-art safety and security features

In terms of safety and security, the 5 Series is a state-of-the-art vehicle from a state-of-the-art vehicle maker. With an extensive array of standard features, and such available options as the new Lane Departure Warning system, Night Vision and Head-up Display, the 2008 5 Series remains an industry leader and fully representative of BMW’s safety values. Key standard features include:

  • Dual front-impact Supplementary Restraint System (SRS) with dual-threshold deployment, 2-stage Smart Airbags – optimized for shape and deployment characteristics.
  • Front safety belts with automatic tensioners and force limiters – standard on all models.
  • Rear safety belts with automatic tensioners – included with the optional rear-seat side-impact airbags.
  • Automatic-locking retractors (ALR) on all passenger safety belts for installation of child restraint seats.
  • LATCH attachments at the outboard rear seating positions for child restraint seats.
  • Front-seat side-impact airbags – standard.
  • Rear-seat side-impact airbags – optional at nominal extra cost, so that customers can make their own choice in this matter.
  • Head Protection System – front-to-rear via BMW’s Inflatable Tubular concept; a long airbag deploys from the ceiling, suspended on a “sail.”
  • Active front head restraints – included with the front Multi-contour seats that are optional in all 5 Series models. Responding to impact sensors at the rear of the vehicle, the head restraints instantly pivot forward into close proximity with the occupants’ heads. Thus occupants are able, if they prefer, to adjust the restraints away from direct contact with their heads, yet gain optimum protection against whiplash or more serious head/neck injuries.
  • Energy-absorbing padding of body-pillar and roof areas – specific padding at the A-, B- and C-pillars as well as along the roof above the doors.
  • Fuel-tank design and location. Not only is the fuel tank designed to remain sealed even in severe impacts, its location has been chosen to provide optimum protection from impacts.
  • Battery Safety Terminal – in case of a severe accident impact, breaks the high-current connection between the battery and starter cable. This helps prevent a possible short circuit in the electrical system.
  • Automatic fuel-pump shutoff upon severe accident impact. In addition, the doors are automatically unlocked; the interior lighting and 4-way hazard flashers are switched on. Thus even after an accident, BMW’s safety strategy is still at work.
  • Coded Driveaway Protection – BMW’s rolling-code engine immobilizer.
  • Central locking system with double-lock feature. When the vehicle is locked from the outside, the double-lock feature prevents individual door-lock buttons from being pulled up; thus even if a thief has broken into the car, it isn’t possible to open the doors. Owners, however, have access to information on how to get out if one is locked in the vehicle from the outside.
  • Alarm system with interior motion detector – standard on the 5 Series.
2008 BMW 5-Series
- image 125796

Options and Packages

2008 brings with it a number of significant new technological options that complement an already extensive array of performance, comfort and safety features. For 2008 Package highlights include new contents for both Premium and Sport Packages for 6-cylinder models, as well as a revised Sport Package for the 550i Sedan.

Most of the optional features on the 2007 5 Series carry over to 2008, with few exceptions. Most notable, the Sequential Manual Gearbox has been discontinued, effectively replaced by the new Sport Automatic that arrives later in the year. The Premium Sound Package (ZPS), which included the Logic7 audio system and 6-disc CD changer, has been replaced by an individual stand-alone option for the Logic7 system and a BMW center-installed 6-disc changer.

2008 BMW 5-Series
- image 167376


Premium Package (528i/xi and 535i/xi models). Combines luxury and convenience features:

For all models –

  • Dakota leather upholstery
  • BMW Universal Transceiver, a 3-function remote for garage doors and other external devices
  • Auto-dimming interior and exterior mirrors, now including a power-fold feature
  • Additionally for 528i and 528xi models –
  • 4-way power lumbar support for the front seats, which is standard in the 535i/xi.
  • Additionally for 535xi Sports Wagon
  • Power tailgate. Released from the interior or exterior switch or the remote, the tailgate opens electrohydraulically. Closing is from the exterior button.
  • Sport Package. Comes in essentially two forms, one for rear- and one for all-wheel-drive models:
  • Rear-wheel-drive models –
  • Active Roll Stabilization, which dramatically reduces body roll in corners and curves
  • Sport suspension calibration
  • Sport wheels and tires:
    •  528i Sedan – 18 x 8.0 wheels, 245/45R-18 run-flat performance tires 
    •  535i Sedan – 18 x 8.0 front and 18 x 9.0 rear Star Spoke wheels (design #124) with 245/40R-18 front and 275/35-18 rear run-flat performance tires 4
    •  550i Sedan – 19 x 8.0 front/19 x 9.5 rear wheels; 245/40R-18 front / 275/35R-18 rear performance tires 4
  • Satin-chrome Shadowline exterior trim – all-black around the side windows replaces the standard black-plus-chrome window framing
  • 20-way power front Multi-contour seats, in place of the standard 10-way power seats
  • 3-spoke sport steering wheel
2008 BMW 5-Series
- image 167377

For 550i Sedan only –

  • Aerodynamics kit.

All-wheel-drive models –

  • Includes only the exterior and interior features; no sport suspension or Active Roll Stabilization
  • For all-weather attributes, retains standard wheels and all-season tires. Wheels described for 528i and 535i Sedans are available on 528xi Sedan, 535xi Sedan and 535xi Sports Wagon as stand-alone options in combination with the Sport Package. (Optional wheels on the 535xi Sports Wagon are 18 x 8.0 front and rear.)
  • Cold Weather Package. Combines weather- and versatility-oriented features:
  • For all models –
  • Heated front seats, with variable heating balance via iDrive
  • Heated steering wheel
  • Headlight cleaning system, with retracting high-intensity liquid jets.

For 535xi Sports Wagon only –

  • Ski bag.
2008 BMW 5-Series
- image 167383

STEPTRONIC automatic transmission – 6-speed, like all 5 Series transmissions.

Sport Automatic transmission – 535i and 550i Sedans only; requires the Sport Package. An even sportier alternative to the standard STEPTRONIC Sport setting, this 6-speed transmission offers crisper gearshifts in manual mode, and paddle shifters on the steering wheel. A leather boot around the console shifter also distinguishes this transmission from the standard STEPTRONIC.

Lane Departure Warning. A camera mounted on the windshield near the rearview mirror monitors lane position at all times at highway speeds. The central control unit projects the vehicle’s path based on that position. When the system projects that the vehicle will drift out of the lane, it will warn the driver by producing a mild vibration in the steering wheel. The warning is cancelled by the use of the turn signals, brake actuation, or below approximately 35 mph, indicating city traffic. The system can also be turned off via a switch on the multi-function steering wheel or in the iDrive menu.

Active Cruise Control. Employing a radar sensor unit at the front of the vehicle, ACC senses the speed of vehicles traveling ahead, adjusts the BMW driver’s speed to maintain following distance, and offers the driver additional control choices over the standard cruise control. 2008 adds a Stop & Go feature, which allows use in heavy traffic. The system can come to a complete stop and remain active; a touch of the accelerator pedal by the driver reactivates the cruise control so it can resume the set speed.

Active Steering. Offered on RWD models only; offers unique benefits:

  • Widely variable steering ratio; steering-wheel movements for parking maneuvers, U-turns and sharp corners are greatly reduced for amazing agility. With increasing vehicle speed, the steering becomes “slower,” favoring stability over agility.
  • Vehicle stabilization; in critical situations, can intervene to preserve stability. For example, if the driver applies the brakes while driving on a surface with uneven traction (one side of the road slick, the other grippy), Active Steering can recognize incipient instability and steer against it.
2008 BMW 5-Series
- image 167387

Park Distance Control employs ultrasonic sensors in the front and rear bumpers to detect obstacles not be visible to the driver; emits an acoustic warning. Includes a vehicle diagram in the iDrive display, which graphically depicts obstacles’ locations. Standard on 550i.

Xenon Adaptive headlights with auto-leveling and low-speed cornering lights. Stronger, daylight-like illumination; headlights “steer” to enhance the driver’s view around curves and corners. This year adds low-speed cornering lights in the inboard headlamps, which illuminate nearby objects at speeds below 25 mph. Optional on 528i/xi models, standard on 538i/xi models and 550i.

Leather upholstery – though included in the Premium Package, also available as a stand-alone options. Standard on 550i.

Light Poplar wood interior trim. The Light Poplar offers the same attractively grained wood as the standard Dark Poplar, but with a more subtle effect.

Bamboo wood interior trim. Another distinctive wood grain, Bamboo provides an especially distinctive and contemporary look, harmonizes well with all interior colors, and is an eco-friendly, renewable resource.

20-way front Multi-contour seats. In addition to the standard seats’ 10-way power adjustments, the 20-way power adjustments of these remarkable and comprehensive luxury seats include –

  • Thigh support
  • Angle of articulated upper backrest section, independently from overall backrest angle
  • Backrest width (the backrests’ side bolsters spread or narrow to accommodate the occupants’ back and shoulders)
  • 4-way power lumbar support, which is standard in the 535i/xi models and 550i.
2008 BMW 5-Series
- image 167389

Split folding rear seats and ski bag for the Sedans.

Heated front seats as a stand-alone option.

Heated rear seats, available for all models in combination with the Cold Weather Package.

BMW On-board Navigation System. The standard iDrive system has a 6.5-in. control display (color monitor) at dash center and a turn-and-push controller between the front seats. This option includes an 8.5-in., higher-resolution control display plus:

  • GPS Navigation with DVD database
  • Standard controller, plus Voice Command activation of features
  • Real Time Traffic Information, which provides up-to-the-minute information on traffic and road conditions

Head-up Display – displays important driving-related information on a 6 x 3-in. field in the windshield, just below the driver’s normal line of sight to the road ahead:

  • Check Control and On-board Computer warnings, prioritized according to their urgency, such as vehicle defects, engine-oil level, low windshield-washer fluid
  • Navigation instructions
  • Cruise-control set speed (standard or Active Cruise Control)
  • Current vehicle speed.
2008 BMW 5-Series
- image 167390

Logic7 premium stereo. The optional Logic7 premium audio system delivers audiophile-quality sound via a digital Surround Sound process, utilizing 13 high-quality speakers, Digital Sound Processing and increased audio power.

Sirius Satellite Radio. Appealing path to entertainment, news and information channels. After the first year of ownership, a subscription fee is required for Sirius service.

High-Definition Radio. Offers enhanced digital sound quality; FM reception becomes CD quality while AM reception becomes equivalent to analog FM reception. There are over 1,000 radio stations nationwide that currently offer high-definition broadcasts.

iPod/USB adapter. A separate USB adaptor for iPods or MP3 players, which does not use the CD changer connections, provides a convenient audio connection.

Power rear-window and manual rear side-window sunshades. For the Sedans, the option includes both; for the Sports Wagon, only the side-window shades. The power rear-window shade is controlled from a console switch; the side-window shades are easily raised or lowered by rear-seat passengers.

BMW Ultimate ServiceTM:

providing owners with incredible value and peace of mind
Every 2008 BMW 5 series is provided with BMW Ultimate ServiceTM, a suite of services that includes the BMW Maintenance Program (formerly called Full Maintenance), Roadside Assistance, the New Vehicle Limited Warranty and BMW AssistTM with TeleService. 

BMW Ultimate ServiceTM includes:

The BMW Maintenance Program is the only no-cost maintenance program in the industry that covers wear and tear items like brake pads and rotors for 4 years or 50,000 miles, whichever comes first. BMW owners pay nothing for all scheduled inspections, oil changes, brake pads, wiper blade inserts and other wear-and-tear items.

2008 BMW 5-Series
- image 167382

BMW Roadside Assistance is one of the industry’s most comprehensive plans available. Not only is it no-charge for the first 4 years, but there is no mileage limit. BMW drivers enjoy the assurance of on-the-road help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, anywhere in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. This includes everything from flat tire changes, emergency gasoline and lock-out assistance, to towing, alternative transportation and even trip-interruption benefits. This service also includes valuable trip routing advice.

BMW New Vehicle Limited Warranty: All 2008 BMW passenger vehicles are covered by BMW’s excellent Limited Warranty, which includes:

  • New-vehicle warranty – 4-year/50,000-mile coverage of the vehicle. 
  • Rust-perforation warranty – 12-year/unlimited-mileage coverage.

BMW AssistTM provides the driver with services that enhance on-the-road security and convenience, for added peace of mind. The BMW AssistTM Safety Plan is standard on all 5, 6, and 7 Series models, including M5 and M6, and is included in the Premium Package or available as a stand-alone option on all other models. Starting with MY 2007 vehicles, BMW is the only manufacturer that offers this service for 4 years at no additional cost. Most other manufacturers cover only the first year of service.

The in-vehicle equipment for BMW AssistTM includes GPS technology and hands-free communication functions accessed via buttons in the overhead or center console. Vehicle occupants may request emergency or other services simply by pressing a button; the BMW AssistTM system then transmits the location and vehicle information to the BMW AssistTM Response Center. A response specialist will then speak with the occupants to coordinate dispatch, notify emergency contacts on file, and link BMW Roadside Assistance or emergency services as needed and requested. A severe accident automatically activates the BMW AssistTM call as well. The BMW AssistTM Safety Plan also includes Remote Door Unlock and Stolen Vehicle Recovery services, which can save the owner time and money.

2008 BMW 5-Series
- image 167375

TeleService automatically notifies the BMW center when a vehicle will need service. This feature allows the Service Advisor to proactively set up a customer appointment and have the needed parts ready. 

BMW AssistTM subscribers can also enroll in the BMW AssistTM Convenience Plan (available at an additional cost of $199 per year) to avail themselves of many BMW AssistTM Concierge services, from travel planning to dining reservations, shopping assistance and event tickets, as well as receive directions, and traffic and weather information. On many models produced September 2006 and later, a selected destination and its phone number can be sent directly to the on-board navigation system and Bluetooth®–linked mobile phone, after a push of the new Concierge button. The Convenience Plan also includes Critical Calling, a new service that connects the driver in case their mobile phone is not in the vehicle or its battery is discharged. After pushing the SOS button, a BMW AssistTM response specialist will link the driver to his requested party for up to five minutes and for up to four events per year.

As before, the BMW AssistTM system includes Bluetooth® hands-free phone connectivity with hands-free phonebook access and dialing by name or number via the steering wheel controls. Use of this feature requires a customer-provided compatible Bluetooth® mobile phone.

2008 BMW 5-Series
- image 167376

Performance with a conscience

BMW strives to produce its motor vehicles and other products with the utmost attention to environmental compatibility and protection. Integrated into the design and development of BMW automobiles are such criteria as resource efficiency and emission control in production; environmentally responsible selection of materials; recyclability during production and within the vehicle; elimination of CFCs and hazardous materials in production; and continuing research into environmentally friendly automotive power sources. Tangible results of these efforts include the recycling of bumper cladding into other vehicle components; water-based paint color coats and powder clear coats; near-future availability of hydrogen-powered models; and various design and engineering elements that help make BMWs easier to dismantle at the end of their service life.


US Models 528i Sedan 528xi Sedan 535i Sedan 535xi Sedan 550i Sedan 535xi Sports Wagon
Base Price USA Port of Entry $45,075 $47,275 $50,175 $52,375 $59,275< $54,775
STEPTRONIC 6-speed, Automatic Transmission NC NC STD STD NC STD
Sport Automatic transmission with shift paddles NA NA 500 NA 500 NA
Active Steering 1,400 NA 1,400 NA 1,400 NA
Rear Door Mounted Side-Impact Airbag 385 385 385 385 385 385
Comfort Access 1,000 1,000 1,000 1,000 1,000 1,000
Power Rear Sun Shade/Manual Rear Side Window Shades 575 575 575 575 575 NA
Manual Rear Side Window Shades NA NA NA NA NA 250
Light Poplar wood trim NC NC NC NC NC NC
Bamboo Anthracite wood trim NC NC NC NC NC NC
Multi-contour Front Seats including Lumbar Support 1,200/ZSP 1,200/ZSP 1,200/ZSP 1,200/ZSP 1,200/ZSP 1,200/ZSP
Fold Down Rear Seats 475 475 475 475 475 STD
Front Seat Lumbar Support ZPP ZPP STD STD STD STD
Heated Front Seats 500/ZCW 500/ZCW 500/ZCW 500/ZCW 500/ZCW 500/ZCW
Rear Seat Heating 350 350 350 350 350 350
Park Distance Control (PDC), front and rear 700 700 700 700 STD 700
Adaptive Xenon Low and High Beam Headlights 800 800 STD STD STD STD
Lane Departure Warning 500 500 500 500 500 500
Active Cruise Control (ACC) 2,400 2,400 2,400 2,400 2,400 2,400
17" Star Spoke Alloy Wheels (Style 122)
w/245/45R-17 performance run-flat-tires
(528xi: requires Sport Package)
18" Star Spoke Alloy Wheels (Style 123)
w/240/45R18 performance run-flat-tires
(535xi models: requires Sport Package)
NA NA ZSP 600 NA 600
On-board Navigation System (incl. RTTI) 1,900 1,900 1,900 1,900 1,900 1,900
Head up display 1,200 1,200 1,200 1,200 1,200 1,200
Night Vision 2,200 2,200 2,200 2,200 2,200 2,200
HD Radio with multicasting reception capability 500 500 500 500 500 500
SIRIUS Satellite Radio 595 595 595 595 595 595
Logic7 Sound System 1,200 1,200 1,200 1,200 1,200 1,200
iPod/USB Adapter 400 400 400 400 400 400
Dakota Leather Upholstery 1,450/ZPP 1,450/ZPP 1,450/ZPP 1,450/ZPP STD 1,450/ZPP
2008 BMW 5-Series
- image 125795
Alina Moore
Alina Moore
Alina Joined the team in the early 2000s as one of the outlets very first experts, and she’s been with ever since. Over the years, she’s served various roles, but today she’s is relied on heavily to verify automotive facts, assist with formatting, and discover new and engaging topics.  Read full bio
About the author

Related Articles

The Cool and Sad History Of The BMW 5 Series E60

What do you think?
Show Comments
Car Finder: