What changes and what stays the same for BMW’s 5 Series

BMW is keen to keep the 5 Series fresh, hence the rather hefty mid-life nip and tuck for the core model. Here’s what Munich had in store for the executive sedan and its wagon - aka Touring - persona and what is now different for the two models.

2021 BMW 5 Series Debut Video

2021 BMW 5 Series - Exterior

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First things first: the exterior.

Changes here include more width and height for the kidney grille which now drops deeper on the car's face and sports a single-piece surround element.

Additionally, the headlights look slimmer and the DRLs can be had with either U- or L-shaped graphics - the latter are optional, though.

In the back, the rear lights and brake lights are now part of the same fixture for a more unitary appearance and BMW tells us every 5 Series (sedan or wagon) will sport trapezoidal final exhausts.

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On top of these tweaks, the M Sport package will be offered as before, with clients getting the chance to opt for BMW Individual’s Air Performance Wheels (light alloy construction that helps bring down weight and drag, sizes range from 18 to 20 inches), as well as a new M Sport Edition (available for a batch of just 1,000 units, though).

2021 BMW 5 Series - Interior

Everything You Need to Know About The Facelifted 2021 BMW 5 Series Interior
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Now much to write home about on the inside, but in all fairness, the 5er’s cabin was already looking pretty mature and well-rounded. B

MW did, however, redesign the controls on the center console; the same treatment was applied to the standard steering wheel which now has a different button arrangement.

The optional M multifunction seats get Sensatec perforated upholstery just like the cabin gets new deco elements. A 10.25-inch multimedia screen is offered as standard, but on demand, customers can have a 12.3-inch display instead. Automatic climate control is also standard.

2021 BMW 5 Series - Powertrain

Everything You Need to Know About The Facelifted 2021 BMW 5 Series Drivetrain
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The biggest news in the engine department is the addition of the new BMW 545e xDrive sedan. It mixes a 80-kilowatt (107 horsepower) e-motor with a straight-six gasoline engine with 282 horsepower on tap for a grand total of 389 horsepower. We’re also told that the 545e xDrive can drive for about 54-57 kilometers (34-35 miles) on electricity alone.

Moreover, BMW is looking to further spread its mild-hybrid tech first introduced on the likes of BMW 520d and 520d xDrive back in 2019. Essentially, the concept mixes a 48-volt starter-generator and a battery pack that stores energy recuperated during braking for later use to either power the car’s electrical system or to assist and boost the internal combustion engine under heavy load with eight kilowatts (roughly 11 horsepower) more.

Everything You Need to Know About The Facelifted 2021 BMW 5 Series Exterior
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The range-topper remains the M550i xDrive sedan (V-8, 523 horsepower), but for a more down-to-Earth spec, customers are offered with three gasoline engines and three diesels (not in the U.S., though) with outputs that vary between 181 horsepower and 335 horsepower.

Every powerplant marries to BMW's eight-speed Steptronic transmission, while xDrive can be had as either standard or optional, except for the entry-level gasoline unit, which sends power exclusively to the rear wheels.
BMW 5 Series lineup
530i 2.0-liter, inline-four 248 hp 0-60 in 5.9 seconds $53,900
530i xDrive 2.0-liter, inline-four 248 hp 0-60 in 5.8 seconds $56,200
540i 3.0-liter, straight-six 335 hp 0-60 in 4.9 seconds $59,450
540i xDrive 3.0-liter, straight-six 335 hp 0-60 in 4.6 seconds $61,750
530e 2.0-liter, inline-four with e-motor 248 hp 0-60 in 5.9 seconds $53,900
530 e xDrive 2.0-liter, inline-four with e-motor 248 hp 0-60 in 5.9 seconds $56,200
M550i xDrive 4.4-liter, V-8 523 hp 0-60 in 3.6 seconds $76,650
M5 4.4-liter, V-8 600 hp 0-60 in 3.2 seconds $102,700
M5 Competition 4.4-liter, V-8 617 hp 0-60 in 3.1 seconds $110,000

2021 BMW 5 Series - Technology

Everything You Need to Know About The Facelifted 2021 BMW 5 Series Interior
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BMW is big on technology these days and while the 5er came with a comprehensive pack in this regard, there’s always room for more and the Germans know it.

Specifically, for the facelifted 2021 5 Series, BMW upgraded the Parking Assistant with the so-called reversing feature, which takes control of the steering wheel while backing up (it only works for distances of up to 50 meters/164 feet, mind you).

The new BMW Operating System 7 is also unlocked for the refreshed 5er via two packs - BMW Live Cockpit Plus and the (optional) BMW Live Cockpit Professional.

Worth noting is that BMW Maps is now using cloud-based tech to navigate drivers to their destinations, and the whole setup is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Over-the-air updates are also possible through BMW’s Remote Software Upgrade function.

Everything You Need to Know About The Facelifted 2021 BMW 5 Series Exterior
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Coming back to design for a little bit, the revamped full-LED headlights get the likes of adaptive cornering function and BMW Selective Beam non-dazzling high beam as standard. Upping the ante are the BMW matrix technology and the High-beam Assistant, but these are options and they’ll cost extra. Also an option is the BMW Laserlight pack.

Going down deeper on the safety front, the revised 5 Series also gets the following:

  • Lane Departure Warning with lane return function
  • Active Navigation with Lane Change Assistant
  • automatic formation of emergency lane
  • junction warning with city braking
  • 3D rendering of the surrounding traffic in real time

Final Word

Everything You Need to Know About The Facelifted 2021 BMW 5 Series Exterior
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Just like you, we’re waiting for official 2021 5 Series pricing but that’s not bound to surface until BMW actually launches the revised 5 Series on the market, which will happen in July 2020. For the sake of the argument, here’s the current BMW pricing scheme for the 5 Series in the U.S., at the time of writing:

2020 BMW 5 Series prices
BMW 530i $53,900
BMW 530i xDrive $56,200
BMW 540i xDrive $49,450
BMW 540i xDrive $61,750
BMW 530e $53,900
BMW 530e xDrive $56,200
M550i xDrive $76,650
Tudor Rus
Assistant Content Manager - Automotive Expert - tudor@topspeed.com
Tudor’s first encounter with cars took place when he was only a child. Back then, his father brought home a Trabant 601 Kombi and a few years later, a Wartburg 353. At that time, he was too young to know how they worked and way too young to drive them, but he could see one thing – each of them had a different ethos and their own unique personality. As time went on, he started seeing that in other cars as well, and his love for the automobile was born.  Read More
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