Released in all-new form for 2011, the 2012 BMW 5-Series carries forward this year largely unchanged--with the exception of a new engine in the 528i. New engine or not, however, the BMW 5-Series remains an excellent luxury sedan and a driver's car, earning an overall rating of 8 from MotorAuthority.
With BMW's signature kidney grille dominating the nose, and familiar BMW proportions and details elsewhere, the 5-Series sedan is at once instantly recognizable and somewhat under the radar--unless you opt for the very fast, very imposing M5. With an aggressive aerodynamics treatment and large, lightweight alloy wheels, it's the eye-catcher of the group. The 5-Series GT's somewhat out-of-balance rear might draw objections from some, but it encloses a very useful and well-designed cargo area.
Already introduced in other BMW models, the new 240-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder in the 2012 528i is more powerful and more efficient than the 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder it replaces. The 535i and 550i models continue unchanged with their 300-horsepower 3.0-liter turbocharged inline six-cylinder (535i) and 400-horsepower twin-turbo 4.4-liter V-8 (550i). Eight-speed automatics are standard across the range.
The 5-Series Gran Turismo, or GT, likewise keeps its configuration, its not-quite-a-hatchback-or-a-wagon bodystyle separating it from the four-door sedans. The GT's funky styling polarizes observers, while the sedans are generally recognized as stylish, if conservative, full-size transport.
Back for 2012 is the M5, the M Division's high-performance version of the 5-Series sedan. Dropping the last model's V-10 engine in favor of a hot 4.4-liter twin-turbo V-8 rated at 560 horsepower and 502 pound-feet of torque. It can accelerate to 60 mph in just 4.4 seconds, and uses a seven-speed M DCT dual-clutch transmission.
Inside, the 5-Series range offers style, comfort, and premium materials. Supple leather, fine hardwood, and brushed metal accents are the primary impression; where it's used, the plastic looks and feels high-grade. The 5-Series GT offers fantastic rear-seat room, much more so than the sedan, while the M5's performance-minded interior gets special M Division touches including badges, different materials, and unique seats.
For a full look at the 2012 BMW 5-Series, read the full review at TheCarConnection.
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