BMW has refreshed the 5 Series for the 2021 model year

BMW updated the 5 Series sedan for the 2021 model in May 2020. It looks sharper and sportier on the outside, features notable changes on the inside, and comes with a new mild-hybrid system for the six-cylinder engines. There are some tweaks made to make it aerodynamically more efficient, too.

  • 2021 BMW 5 Series
  • Year:
    2021
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    inline-4
  • Transmission:
    eight-speed automatic
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    248 @ 5200
  • Torque @ RPM:
    257 @ 4800
  • Displacement:
    2.0 L
  • 0-60 time:
    5.9 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    130 mph
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • size:
  • Purpose:
  • body style:

2021 BMW 5 Series Exterior

  • Re-sculpted LED Adaptive headlights
  • Choice between U-shaped and L-shaped DRLs
  • Taller and wider kidney grille
  • Nine color options
  • More efficient aerodynamically
  • M550i looks a lot sportier than the other models
left right

On the outside, the 2021 5 Series looks much more aggressive than before. Up front, it features re-sculpted LED Adaptive headlights that are slimmer and feature the U-shaped DRLs as standard. However, you can also opt for two L-shaped Daytime Running Lights that would distinguish it from the other models.

BMW’s insistence on making us fall in love with the kidney grille is reaching new heights with every new model. The kidney grille here is taller and wider, although it isn’t very noticeable. The vertical slats in them, however, are more pronounced. They even help channel the airflow better, which is one of the factors that make it more aerodynamically efficient. The 530i has achieved a drag coefficient rating of 0.27.

2021 BMW 5 Series Exterior
- image 942647

To make the sweeping profile look even smoother, BMW has increased the 5 Series sedan’s length by 1.2 inches. The rest of the dimensions remain the same. Other than the M550i xDrive, all the other models ride on 18-inch wheels wrapped in 245/45 section all-season run-flat tires. 19- and 20-inch wheels in varying sizes are available as optional, including wider wheels and tires for the rear on each of them.

The M550i xDrive, however, benefits from the best that the German automaker has to offer on this sedan. It comes with 19-inch wheels as standard, wrapped in 245/40 section tires at the front and 275/35 section tires at the rear. You can choose to have either performance run-flats, or all-season run-flats, depending on your usage. 20-inch wheels are optional with even lower profile tires for your car to stick to the road like a leech and improve the braking when you’re taking it hard, especially around the corners. It also comes with M Sport Brakes and blue calipers with the M logo as standard. It is optional on all the other models.

left right

Things at the rear are slightly different, too. The 2021 5 Series features new L-shaped taillights that feature black edging and 3D lenses. BMW has designed new trapezoidal tailpipes that are integrated into the lower part of the bumper. Overall, the 5 Series, in all its derivatives, looks a lot sportier than any of its predecessors.

How Big and Heavy Is The 2021 5 Series?

2021 BMW 5 Series Exterior
- image 942593

The 2021 5 Series sedan is 195.8 inches long, 73.5 inches wide, and 58.2 inches tall. The wheelbase measures 117.1 inches. The front track is 63 inches wide whereas the rear track is 0.2 inches narrower. Depending on the trims, it weighs between 3,765- and 4,321 pounds.

2021 BMW 5 Series exterior dimensions
Length 195.8 inches
Width 73.5 inches
Height 58.2 inches
Wheelbase 117.1 inches
Track front/rear 63.0/62.8 inches
Weight 3,765- 4,321 pounds

How Many Colors Are Offered On The 2021 5 Series?

2021 BMW 5 Series Interior
- image 942559

BMW offers nine different colors on every 5 Series model:

  • Alpine White
  • Bernina Grey Amber Effect Metallic
  • Bluestone Metallic
  • Phytonic Blue Metallic
  • Mineral White Metallic
  • Dark Graphite Metallic
  • Glacier Silver Metallic
  • Jet Black
  • Black Sapphire Metallic
2021 BMW 5 Series Exterior
- image 942632

To maintain its uniqueness, the M550i is offered in a few exclusive shades. It is also offered in nine colors, but without Mineral White Metallic, Glacier Silver, and Jet Black. The three exclusive shades are:

  • Aventurin Red Metallic
  • Tanzanite Blue II Metallic
  • Carbon Black Metallic

2021 BMW 5 Series Interior

  • Sport seats as standard
  • New perforated SensaTec upholstery
  • Nappa leather available
  • 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster
  • Bigger 12.3-inch touchscreen system
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatible
2021 BMW 5 Series Interior
- image 942614
The cabin presence has always been a strong suit, and BMW takes it up a notch this time around.

The M550i comes with M Multi-contour seats whereas the other models feature sport seats as standard. There is a new Perforated SensaTec upholstery with contrast stitching offered as standard on all the models except the M550i; which finds itself wrapped in Dakota leather upholstery. If you want to make the cabin feel all plusher and luxurious, you can opt for Nappa Leather, too. The M550i comes with a dash wrapped in Black SensaTec with brown stitching as standard and is optional on all the other trims.

2021 BMW 5 Series Interior
- image 942558

BMW has also introduced some tech upgrades on the 2021 5 Series. A 12.3-inch touchscreen system replaces the 10.25-inch touchscreen on the center console. It runs on the iDrive system and is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Behind the steering wheel is a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster that displays all the drive-related info. Some other standard stuff includes:

  • Sport leather steering wheel
  • Tire pressure monitor
  • Keyless entry
  • Rearview camera
  • Moonroof
  • Auto-dimming rear-view mirror
  • Power front Sport seats with lumbar support
  • 40/20/40 Split folding rear seat
  • Ambient interior lighting
  • Anthracite headliner
  • Automatic climate control
  • Live Cockpit Pro with iDrive 7
  • SiriusXM with 1 year All Access subscription

What’s Special About The M550i xDrive?

2021 BMW 5 Series Interior
- image 942609

Being the top-of-the-line performance-spec 5er, BMW has set it apart by offering loads of features that are exclusive to this model, but can be had as optional on other models. Some of these features include:

  • Remote Engine Start
  • 19-inch M Y-spoke bicolor Jet Black wheels with performance run-flat tires
  • M Sport brakes with blue calipers
  • M Sport rear differential
  • Adaptive M Suspension
  • M Aerodynamic kit
  • Rear spoiler
  • Power tailgate
  • Shadowline exterior trim
  • M Steering wheel
  • Multi-contour power front heated seats
  • SensaTec dashboard
  • Harman Kardon surround sound system
  • Interior trim in Aluminum Rhombicle Smoke Grey with Pearl Chrome highlight trim

How Spacious Is The 5 Series?

2021 BMW 5 Series Interior
- image 942666
The sedan is pretty spacious, too. At the front, it offers 38.8 inches of headroom, 41.4 inches of legroom, and 58.7 inches of shoulder room.

Things at the back are not so cramped either, with the sedan offering exactly the same headroom as the front, 36.5 inches of legroom, and 55.9 inches of shoulder room. As for the cargo capacity, the 2021 5 Series offers a space of 14 cubic feet. Courtesy of the battery pack in the 530e and the 530e xDrive models, the cargo space offered here is just 10 cubic feet.

2021 BMW 5 Series interior dimensions
Front Rear
Headroom 38.8 38.8
Legroom 41.4 36.5
Shoulder room 58.7 55.9

2021 BMW 5 Series Drivetrain

  • 2.0-liter, twin-turbo four-cylinder engine
  • 248 Horsepower and 257 pound-feet of torque
  • Plug-in Hybrid version of the same available
  • 288 Horsepower and 257 pound-feet of torque
  • 3.0-liter, twin-turbo six-cylinder mill
  • 335 Horsepower and 331 pound-feet of torque
  • 4.4-liter, twin-turbocharged V-8 engine
  • 523 Horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque
  • All engines mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox

530i and 530i xDrive

2021 BMW 5 Series Interior
- image 942559

The 530i is powered by a 2.0-liter, twin-turbo four-cylinder engine that dishes out 248 horses between 5,200 and 6,500 rpm, and 257 pound-feet of torque between 1,450 and 4,800 rpm. Power is sent to the rear wheels via an eight-speed automatic gearbox. It takes 5.9 seconds to sprint to 60 mph from a standstill and has a top speed of 130 mph. You can have this extended to 155 mph with additional packages.

The 530i is also available with an all-wheel-drive configuration called the 530i xDrive. While the power outputs are the same, it is one-tenth of a second quicker than its rear-wheel-drive counterpart.

2021 BMW 530i specifications
Engine 2.0-liter, twin-turbo four-cylinder
Horsepower 248 HP @ 5,200-6,500 RPM
Torque 257 LB-FT @ 1,450-4,800 RPM
Transmission eight-speed automatic
0 to 60 mph 5.9 seconds
Top Speed 130 mph (155 mph optional)

530e and 530e xDrive

2021 BMW 5 Series
- image 963246

The 530e is powered by the same 2.0-liter engine as the 530i, but it makes 181 horses. The integrated electric motor here adds another 107 horses, thus bringing the combined power output to 288 ponies, which is 40 horses more than the 530i. The combined torque is also a healthy 310 pound-feet, but the peak-torque range is only between 1,450- and 3,600 rpm. It has a wider peak-power bracket of 3,800- and 6,500 rpm, however. While you may not feel a significant difference when you start off, the 530e will certainly be a lot peppier, thanks to the punchy mid-range.

Power is sent to the rear wheels through an eight-speed auto gearbox. The 5 Series also comes with an “XtraBoost” feature that is activated when you select the Sport mode. It offers 40 additional horses for 10 seconds when the throttle is depressed to the kick-down position. It takes 5.7 seconds to 60 mph from rest with this function. Top speed is rated at 130 mph as standard and can be unlocked to 146 mph for additional bucks.

2021 BMW 530e specifications
Engine 2.0-liter, twin-turbo four-cylinder + electric motor
Gasoline power 181 HP
Electric power 107 HP
Combined power 288 HP
Combined torque 310 LB-FT @ 1,450- 3,600 RPM
Transmission eight-speed automatic
0 to 60 mph 5.7 seconds
Top Speed 130 mph (146 mph optional)
2021 BMW 5 Series
- image 963245

The 530e xDrive is identical in all aspects, except for the top unlocked speed limited to 143 mph. Both the 530e models also feature Acoustic Protection for Pedestrians, which uses an exterior speaker system to generate a sound to notify pedestrians when the sedan is driving in electric-only mode at speeds up to 19 mph. It must also be noted that this is the only model in the 5 Series lineup that is able to achieve a perfect weight distribution of 50:50.

540i and 540i xDrive

2021 BMW 5 Series Exterior
- image 942653

Next in line is the 540i, which is powered by a 3.0-liter, twin-turbo six-cylinder mill that makes 335 ponies between 5,500- and 6,500 rpm, and 331 pound-feet of twist between 1,500- and 5,200 rpm. Power is sent to the rear wheels via the same eight-speed automatic gearbox. The 540i takes 4.9 seconds for its 0-60 mph dash with the same 130 mph standard top speed that can be unlocked up to 155 mph.

BMW offers the 540i also in an all-wheel-drive avatar called the 540i xDrive, which comes with the same technical specs except for a much quicker 0-60 mph sprint. It is 0.3 seconds quicker, taking just 4.6 seconds to hit 60 mph.

2021 BMW 5 Series Exterior
- image 942656
What differentiates the 540i and the 540i xDrive from the pre-facelift models is the addition of the new 48-volt mild-hybrid technology.

BMW has equipped the six-cylinder models with a 48-Volt starter-generator system that not only makes it slightly more efficient, but also helps better the performance. The 48-Volt battery also supplies the recuperated energy to the 12V electrical system that powers the lights, windows, ventilation, audio system, seat heating, and steering wheel.

2021 BMW 540i specifications
Engine 3.0-liter, twin-turbo six-cylinder
Horsepower 335 HP @ 5,500- 6,500 RPM
Torque 331 LB-FT @ 1,500- 5,200 RPM
Transmission eight-speed automatic
0 to 60 mph 4.9 seconds/4.6 seconds xDrive
Top Speed 130 mph (155 mph optional)

M550i xDrive

2021 BMW 5 Series Exterior
- image 942640

Finally, there’s the mighty powerful M550i model that’s offered only with an all-wheel-drive configuration. It is powered by a V-8, twin-turbocharged engine that displaces at 4.4-liter. It makes 523 horses between 5,500 and 6,000 rpm, and 553 pound-feet of torque between 1,800- and 4,600 rpm.

Power is sent to all the wheels via the same eight-speed automatic gearbox. The M550i xDrive takes just 3.6 seconds to sprint to 60 mph from rest and has a top speed of 130 mph that can be unlocked to 155 mph.

2021 BMW M550i XDrive specifications
Engine 4.4-liter, V-8, twin-turbocharged
Horsepower 523 HP @ 5,500- 6,000 RPM
Torque 553 LB-FT @ 1,800- 4,600 RPM
Transmission eight-speed automatic
0 to 60 mph 3.6 seconds
Top Speed 130 mph (155 mph optional)

What About The Fuel Economy?

2021 BMW 5 Series Exterior
- image 942644

The 530i rear-wheel-drive with its four-cylinder engine returns 25 mpg in the city, 33 mpg on the highway, and 28 mpg combined. The 530i xDrive takes a slight hit, delivering 23 mpg in the city, 32 mpg on the highway, and 27 mpg combined.

The six-pot 540i rear-wheel-drive delivers 25 mpg in the city, 32 mpg on the highway, and 27 mpg combined. Ratings dip a bit for the all-wheel- xDrive model that returns 23 miles in the city, 31 miles on the highway, and 26 miles combined for every gallon of gas consumed.

2021 BMW 5 Series
- image 963247

As for the 530e and 530e xDrive ratings are not yet announced, but expect them to be the best that BMW has to offer on the 5 Series. However, it features just a 12.1-gallon fuel tank as opposed to 18-gallon tanks in the other non-hybrid models.

As expected, the V-8-powered M550i comes with the lowest fuel economy ratings, returning 17 mpg in the city, 25 mpg on the highway, and 20 mpg combined. These figures are generally achieved when driven in the most ideal conditions. Will you be able to keep yourself from flooring the A-pedal every time you see the road ahead empty?

2021 BMW 5 Series fuel economy
City Highway Combined
BMW 530i 25 33 28
BMW 530i xDrive 23 32 27
BMW 540i 25 32 27
BMW 540i xDrive 23 31 26
BMW M550i 17 25 20

2021 BMW 5 Series Price

2021 BMW 5 Series Exterior
- image 942662

The starting price of every 2021 BMW 5 Series trim is as follows:

  • 530i - $54,200
  • 530i xDrive - $56,500
  • 530e - $57,200
  • 530e xDrive - $59,500
  • 540i - $59,450
  • 540i xDrive - $61,750
  • M550i xDrive - $76,800

2021 BMW 5 Series Competition

Mercedes-Benz E-Class

2020 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Exterior
- image 889661

The three German automakers are at each other’s throats ever since they’ve had to co-exist. All the brands have offerings that take on almost every model from their counterparts’ stable. The 5 Series goes up against the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, which in itself is a fantastic proposition. The car feels luxurious on the inside and is loaded to the gills. In the last few years, the automaker has taken its tech game to new heights.

The engine options are also quite similar. Mercedes offers a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder turbocharged mill that makes 255 horses and 273 pound-feet of torque in its base trim, and a 3.0-liter, six-cylinder turbocharged engine that dishes out 362 ponies and 369 pound-feet of twist. A V-8 is also available, but in the AMG avatar that has a six-digit sticker price. The standard E-Class starts at $54,250.

Read our full review on the Mercedes-Benz E-Class

Audi A6

2019 Audi A6 Exterior
- image 771023

Audi’s offering to this segment is the A6. The A6 is also pretty loaded in terms of tech and features inside the cabin. It feels cozy and premium at the same time. The layout is different and has a more fluidic design when compared to the slightly sportier interiors of the other two Germans.

Audi also offers the A6 with a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder mill, and a 3.0-liter, V-6 engine. The former makes 261 horses and 273 pound-feet of torque, whereas the six-pot engine churns out 335 ponies and 369 pound-feet of twist. It takes just 5.1 seconds in its best avatar. The Audi A6 starts at $54,900.

Read our full review on the Audi A6

2021 BMW 5 Series Driver-Assistance Features

2021 BMW 5 Series Exterior
- image 942623

There is a host of drive driver-assistance features that are offered on the 5 Series as standard. These include:

  • Lane Departure Warning with Steering Correction
  • Frontal Collision and Pedestrian Warning with Braking Function
  • City Collision Mitigation
  • Blind Spot Detection
  • Rear Cross Traffic Alert
  • Rear Collision Preparation
  • Automatic High Beams
  • Speed limit information

The optional features include:

  • Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go
  • Extended Traffic Jam Assist (Level 2 autonomous assist system)
  • Lane-Keeping Assistant
  • Evasion Aid
  • Front Cross-Traffic Alert
  • Emergency Stop Assistant

2021 BMW 5 Series Optional Accessories and Packages

2021 BMW 5 Series Exterior
- image 942646

BMW also offers packages for the 5 Series sedan. Depending on the model you choose, some are offered as standard and some optional.

Aerodynamic Kit (Standard on M550i xDrive)

  • Rear trunk lid spoiler
  • Cerium Grey finish on the side mirror caps
  • BMW Kidney Grille surround
  • Front air intake inlays and Air Breathers
  • Dual trapezoidal exhaust pipes finished in black chrome
  • Window surrounds finished in high-gloss black

Parking Assistance Package

  • 3D Surround Camera
  • Panorama view

Convenience Package

  • Remote engine start
  • Power tailgate
  • Heated front seats or Heated front and rear seats

Dynamic Handling Package

  • Adaptive Drive
  • Active Roll Stabilization
  • Dynamic Damper Control

Dynamic Handling Package

  • Adaptive M Suspension Professional
  • Integral Active Steering
  • Active Roll Stabilization

Shadowline Package

  • Individual Shadowline lights
  • Extended Shadowline exterior trim including Kidney Grille

Luxury Seating Package

  • Front ventilated seats
  • Multi-Contour seats

Parking Assistance Package

  • Parking Assistant Plus
  • Drive Recorder
  • Active Park Distance Control
  • Surround View with 3D View

Premium Package

  • Remote Engine Start
  • Power tailgate
  • Heated front seats or Heated front and rear seats
  • Head-Up Display
  • Harman Kardon Surround sound system
  • Wireless charging for compatible mobile devices
  • Gesture Control

Executive Package

  • Remote Engine Start
  • Power tailgate
  • Power rear sunshade and rear side window shades
  • Heated front seats or Heated front and rear seats
  • Ceramic Controls
  • Head-Up Display
  • Harman Kardon Surround sound system
  • Wireless charging
  • Gesture Control
  • Leave it
    • Kidney grille
    • Gets pricey with add-ons
Sidd Dhimaan
Associate Editor and Truck Expert - sidd@topspeed.com
Sidd joined the Topspeed.com team in 2017 as an intern and in less than a year he earned a full-time position as an associate editor and junior automotive expert. He is currently our pickup truck expert and focuses his attention on heavy-duty and off-road vehicles.  Read More
About the author

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