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The BMW 5 Series is an iconic car line. With decades of models that go back 50 years, the BMW 5 Series represents the perfect balance between performance and comfort with an appropriately sized sedan that has the power, performance and handling of a lightweight coupe. In fact, the BMW 5 Series is often seen as the pinnacle of luxury sport, and various other automakers from Mercedes to Audi have all brought their own sport sedans to market after BMW jumped in back in the 70s.

The BMW 5 Series is such a great car that it’s often the cornerstone of BMW’s product lineup year after year, and the carmaker has even spun off the sedan as a BMW 5 Series wagon for those that want a little more space and storage inside. With a no-compromise approach to comfort and performance, the BMW 5 Series interior is as impressive as it looks, and that makes the price of a BMW 5 series all the more worth it when it comes to everything that the model line stands for.

But if you’re new to the BMW 5 Series or you’re just playing catch up after considering leasing a BMW 5 Series, here are some of the best BMW 5 Series facts.


As the BMW 5 Series was introduced almost 50 years ago in 1972, there’s lots of historical pedigree and intrigue wrapped up in this vehicle. Not only was it the first car BMW released (the E12 5 Series, only available as a sedan with manual transmission), but it indicated a new approach to car making as BMW would come to flesh out that 5 Series line fully.


For six straight years, the BMW E39 5 Series was named in Car and Driver’s annual Ten Best list from its introductory year in 1997 through 2002. The 5 Series was a bestseller for BMW for many years, and the model line continued to collect accolades and awards well into the new millennium. Today, BMW 5 Series vehicles lead the sport sedan luxury market, still turning heads and influencing other carmakers with each new iteration.


The reason that the BMW 5 Series has stood atop the heap of the luxury sedan market is because BMW has made modern 5 Series cars infinitely customizable. From diesel to naturally aspirated engines, as well as turbos and even hybrids and electrics, there’s a BMW 5 Series out there for everyone. And when it comes to the interior, customization abounds with various finishes, textiles and other accouterments available across the entire 5 Series line.


Not to be outdone by anyone, modern BMW 5 Series vehicles are packed with the latest techno-wizardry and feature convenient systems and AI that makes the car safer and perform better than ever before. Things like brake assist and cameras help with handling and parking, as well as a dash and panel packed with a convenient array of modern tech and assistance that’s always within reach. Even an accident can be recognized by the vehicle with intelligent emergency call features that can get you help in a time of need.


For many, however, the fact that the BMW 5 Series has sold almost 10 million units across seven generations of 5 Series vehicles is a testament to the model line. There’s the original E12, which kicked things off in 1972. But then in ’81, BMW introduced the second generation of the 5 Series, also called the E28, which ran until 1988. In ’98, BMW retired the E28 for the E34, which ran until 1996. In ’95, BMW outdid themselves with the E39, which many consider the predecessor to today’s iconic 5 Series vehicles. In 2003, the E39 was replaced by the E60/E61, which ran until 2010. The sixth generation F10/F11/F07/F18 was introduced in 2010 and ran until 2017, at which time it was succeeded by the current seventh generation G30/G31/G38 in 2016.


While many carmakers have obtuse naming conventions that are driven more by marketing than a desire to describe the vehicle, BMW’s 5 Series naming convention kicked off what has been a long-standing methodology of indicating the performance under the hood. Three-number codes such as the 520i, 525i and 530i told you the size of the engine as well as how fuel made its way in. Furthermore, the car’s model years are also easily indicated by each generation’s code: E12, E28, E34, E39, E60/E61, F10/F11/F07/F18 and G30/G31/G38.


With looks and tech getting the lion’s share of attention these days, you may think that the BMW 5 Series isn’t as powerful as in years past. However, today’s seventh generation G30s and G31s can be configured as true powerhouses. Sure, there’s the diesel and hybrid counterparts, but even the lowly 530i puts out about 250 horsepower. Not to be outdone, the 540i features 335 horsepower with a three-liter, six-cylinder turbo, and the M5 and the Alpina B5 push the power with 591 and 599 horsepower, respectively.

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