The 2008 BMW 5-Series offers passenger-carrying performance from one of the most respected car manufacturers on the planet. The wide model range includes the renowned M5 to satisfy closet racers, a wagon in 535xiT all-wheel-drive trim to provide cargo capacity when the road becomes twisty, and the elegant entry-version $44,300 528i sedan.
For 2008, BMW's iconic 5-Series undergoes mostly minor changes, although new, more powerful 6-cylinder engines are significant improvements. 2007's 525 entry-level cars have been upgraded with a 3.0L 230-horsepower engine, changing the nomenclature to 528. The formerly-known-as-530 cars receive a 3.0L twin-turborcharged inline six that improves horsepower by 45 (300 total) and ups the badging to 535. Base prices increase modestly, between $400 and $1,900, depending on the vehicle. Only the 550i does not increase in price.
Small changes to the exterior have been made, including a refresh of the headlight and taillight design. Inside, the center console is now leather-trimmed. iDrive has been enhanced with six programmable memory keys to improve usability.
The automatic transmission has been upgraded and is now a no-cost option (in 2007, not shifting cost $1,275). The sequential manual gearbox (SMG) is no longer offered on the 535i and 550i--in its place, a sport six-speed automatic can be ordered. A lane departure warning system is optional, as is a high-beam assist function. The active cruise control now features "stop and go" capability, and there is a USB adapter for MP3 players. The Sport Package on the 528i adds 18-inch wheels and tires versus 2007's 17-inchers. On the M5, a heated steering wheel is available.
- Track-ready performance M5
- all-wheel drive optional
- wagon available.
The 2008 BMW 5-Series serves up a range of possibilities, all backed by performance ability and luxury features. All 5-Series come with comprehensive stability technology that includes dynamic stability control, dynamic traction control, and dynamic brake control.
The 528i and 535i sedans come standard as rear-wheel drive, with all-wheel-drive systems adding $2,200 to the list price. The 550i and M5 sedans are rear-wheel drive only, and the 535 wagon is available in all-wheel drive only. New six-cylinder engines add power to the 528s and 535s. The 528s receive a new 3.0L inline six that produces 230 horsepower--a modest 15-horsepower improvement over 2007. The 535s receive a 45-horsepower bump (300 total) over 2007 by virtue of a new 3.0L twin-turbocharged inline six. The 550 and M5 round out the power offerings. The 550's V8 produces 360 horsepower and the M5's V10 an even 500.
The Steptronic automatic transmission is a no-cost option (in 2007, going shiftless cost $1,275). The sequential manual gearbox (SMG) is no longer offered on the 535i and 550i--in its place, a six-speed sport automatic with paddle shifters can be added for $500.
Standard features on the 5-Series include a power sunroof with an anti-trap feature, automatic headlights, fog lights, power mirrors with auto tilt-down, tri-zone climate control, and iDrive. In addition to the powertrain upgrade, the 535 gets xenon headlights with auto-leveling and 10-way power front seats. The 550i adds Dakota leather seats and front and rear park distance control.
Options for the 528i include genuine Dakota leather seats for $1,450 as well as a Premium Package that includes power driver seat lumbar support, interior illumination, and a universal garage door opener. The Sport Package upgrades the tires to 245 series run-flats on 18-inch wheels, 20-way power front seats, active roll stabilization, and a sport-tuned suspension. Active cruise control with a "stop and go" function is available, as is a navigation system and an audiophile Logic7 sound system with 13 speakers and twin subwoofers. For 2008, a lane departure warning system is optional. A high-beam assist option gives drivers one less thing to worry about, while a USB adapter adds to the audio possibilities.
On the 535s, Premium and Sport Packages are also available; the Sport Package upgrades the wheels and tires to 18-inch run-flats.
On the 550i, the Sport Package includes 19-inch wheels and run-flat tires as well as 20-way power seats for $4,600. A Premium Package is not available on the 550i, as the equipment is already standard.
The performance-oriented M5 is a completely different story, and it stands apart from the rest of the 5-Series as one of the best performance sedans in the world. Every part of the car seems designed with high speed handling in mind. It's equipped with a high-output aluminum 5.0L V10 that uses stepless variable valve timing and direct ignition to generate its adrenalin-inducing 500 horsepower. The engine is mated to a seven-speed SMG transmission with 11 shift programs and launch control (a conventional six-speed manual transmission is also available). The wheels are driven via a variable differential lock and a special dynamic stability control program unique to the M5. Further performance enhancements include M-specific suspension, cross drilled disc brakes, body panels with air intakes and spoiler, and even M-specific Merino leather heated power front seats. For 2008, a heated steering wheel can be added.