Through the Generations: Is the new G30 5 Series one of the best looking 5 Series’ ever?

5-series, News | November 7th, 2016 by 16
BMW G30 5 Series M Sport exterior 30 750x500

Now that BMW has unveiled its latest G30-generation 5 Series, it’s only natural that it gets compared to its famous predecessors. If you take a …

Now that BMW has unveiled its latest G30-generation 5 Series, it’s only natural that it gets compared to its famous predecessors. If you take a look back at all of the generations in the history of the BMW 5 Series, there are some pretty darned good looking cars. So when a new one comes out, it has some pretty high standards to live up. Does the new G30-gen 5 Series live up to the previous generations of the famous BMW?

If you ask this guy, I’d say that the new G30 5 Series is one of the best looking in the history of the model. It’s certainly better looking than the F10-generation it replaces, as that car looks downright bland by comparison. This new car has beautiful creases and sharp lines with muscular wheel arches. It’s just a very good looking car overall and is both exciting and understated.

G30 5 Series vs F10 5 Series comparison 3 750x750

If it’s better looking than the F10, than it’s almost universally considered better looking than the E60 5 Series. The E60 might be the most controversial looking 5ers ever. Designed by Chris Bangle, the E60 had strange flame-surfacing throughout and possibly one of the weirdest rear ends of any BMW. It just wasn’t a pretty car then and it hasn’t aged particularly well. However, it is quite polarizing — some love it and some hate it. Personally, I’m of the latter group, but some may disagree. I think most of us will say that the new G30 is better looking than the E60 in almost every way.

bmw 5 series e60 wallpaper full desktop backgrounds 750x600

Now, go back one more generation and you’ll find the most beloved 5 Series, the E39-generation. With perfect proportions and a beautifully balanced blend of aggression and subtlety, the E39 is probably the best looking 5 Series ever. It’s just so handsome and charming with almost unanimous admiration. In M5-spec, the E39 might be perfectly designed with absolutely no need for improvement. By comparison, the G30 5 Series is actually quite similar in its balance. Its both aggressive, yet understated and it isn’t flashy.

BMW E39 M5

Before the E39 was the E34 which is also quite polarizing. Some love its simple, boxy design and some find it boring. While it isn’t really ugly by any means, it can just be a bit too plain. By comparison, the G30-gen 5er looks downright exciting. Where the E34 is boxy and square, the G30 flows with lovely curves and sharp lines. So, if you ask us, the new car is better.


These next two, the first-gen E12 5 Series and the second-gen E28, are so similar that we’re going to group them as one. While I’m personally a big fan of these two generations of 5 Series, because there’s just something so charming about them to me, I still think the new car is the better looking and better designed car. It’s just more exciting and more dramatic and I’m comparing them to their times as well as each other. So it isn’t just because the G30 has fancier headlights and bigger wheels that I’m saying the newer car is more exciting. It’s because the G30 is a better blend of excitement and understatement for its time than the E12/E28 were for theirs. In my opinion at least.


We think the new G30 is one of the best looking generations of 5 Series ever, with only the E39 being better looking and, even then, it’s close. The F10-generation 5 Series was a handsome car that was often criticized for not being exciting enough. BMW improved on that design with something similar, but far prettier. So we think the G30 is right up there with BMW’s best. What do you think?

16 responses to “Through the Generations: Is the new G30 5 Series one of the best looking 5 Series’ ever?”

  1. Fritz says:

    The best looking 5 Series since the E39. Similar to the G11/12 being the best looking 7 Series since the E38.

  2. Kaisuke971 says:

    E34 > G30 > E12 > E39 > E28 > F10 > E60

    The G30 and the E34 look good in every single config, which i like (except maybe with the overly small wheels but no car can pull that off). The G30 is kinda weird because it only looks good when you compare it to something else. You really have to put another car next to it to see how well it was designed.

    The E12 and the E28 look like classic BMWs, and pretty much all classic BMWs look good but also look alike so they can’t rank higher because come on you can’t just make all your cars look the exact same (furiously winks at Mercedes).

    I know people like the E39 but the regular version is just way too dull. Yes the M Pack and M5 are pure classic beauties, but you can’t just ignore the luxury and regular line and call it a day. I put it over the E28 only because the M5 looked that good.

    The F10 LCI looks really good but not better than all the previous cars i listed overall. Plus the pre LCI idk doesn’t do it that much for me, and there’s nothing that really wows you anyway.

    The E60… If all the version could look like the M Pack it would be second but the rest of the line is too ugly sorry.

    If it was M5 only i’d say E60 > E39 > E34 > G30 > F10 > E28

  3. JustSomeDude says:

    Oh come on. you can find a prettier E39 shot than that…

  4. Matt Stokes says:

    E28 > E60 > E34 > F10 > E12 (it’s not the same…) > E39 > G30

    Does depend on trim. Perhaps once I’ve seen a G30 first hand I’ll warm a little more to it.

  5. Julien says:

    E39 and E60 all the way
    Before that i’m too young to like those cars
    After that they look boring to me…

  6. Derrick Rose says:


  7. Max says:

    I think every 5er is/was the best looking in its class at its time.

    I would go E28>G30>F10>E39>E34=E60
    E60 has a the problem (at least in Germany) that many where driven by some turkish/arabic or whatever folks with tuning sh*t etc. so thats why I cant look at it at the moment. Same happend to the E36 and now moves to the E90 as well :D
    I dont understand the E34 hype, just dont like it very much.

  8. Arunabh Awasthi says:

    E39> E60> E28> F10>G30> E34

    To be honest, I wasn’t a big fan of E60. Its when the F10 came out that i actually understood E60. To my eyes, the E60 looks younger than F10. the design was such that it couldn’t be mistaken for anything else. It looked as if wants you to drive it hard, raw, and uninhibited. Once i saw it, through my car’s rear view mirror, speeding towards my car. By god, what a devilish sight it made for. It was unabashedly menacing and imposing sight. I just fall in love with it, Forever. One doesn’t need an SUV to put the traffic into submission.

    After E60, F10 felt all yawn. But atleast it was progressive. But the proportions were just superb. What i didnt like too much was the rear that felt unnecessarily heavy and excessively layered and thoose unimaginative taillights. They looked better when they were lit but during day they looked bulbous. Infact, the complete rear itself was very generic and bulbous. It felt as if BMW designers ran out of imagination by the time they reached the rear of the car.

    And with G30 , they have tried to evolve on the car that itself was a yawn to begin with. To be honest, the styling doesn’t put a foot wrong. But what i absolutely loathed about G30 is the fact that it didn’t break any new grounds with the design. The design feels stagnant and cold. Its rear especially is extremely generic. Check out the rear of the cars of most million rupee sedans of my country (India) and one will find that they are donning the remarkably similar rear (especially tail lights) as this G30 (and most of them are atleast 2 years old. Ex – Honda City, Maruti Ciaz ) . This G30 will be 5-6 million rupee car in my country and it has bought mass market styling 2 years after those mass market vehicles.

    What differentiation BMW is offering, in terms of design, to lesser mass market vehicles. Why to even give it any consideration when it isnt offering any exclusivity for the money BMW is asking? As it is BMWs trump card (ultimate driving pleasure) is useless in heavy traffic infested urban cities. Where BMW can make its distinct mark is the design of interiors and exteriors. And, as per me, BMW hasnt pushed the goalposts in any significant way in these areas. Quality, fit and finish, aesthetic balance etc.everything is there, objectively. But they arent creating any distinct, progressive experience in totality.

    So thats why G30 is behind F10 for me.

  9. Bob Morane says:

    The G30 looks ok, but is not mind-blowing.

    IMO: E39 > E60 > F10 > G30 > E12 = E28 > E34

  10. Senne says:

    I think the E39 is still the best looking 5 Series, and it always will be probably. The F10 is so good looking especially with M Sport Package, actually as I have seen the G30 in real life (which I’m very happy about), I can say that the F10 is more agressive and the G30 is more 7 Series like (= more luxurious)… so very hard to say which one is actually better looking.

  11. Kapitan Faster says:

    1) G30 (except of front end)
    2) F10 (front end is better than G30)
    3) E39
    4) E60

    I own (have owned) F10, E60 & E39 (and have personal memories to each of them), so I am not absolutely objective in this point…
    as for the design preference it is quite close for me in G30, F10, E39… I like them all
    E60 is so ugly that is nice at the and and like it too… :)

    5) E34
    6) E12
    7) E28
    all these were too “old” for me and still not old enough to become “classic” (well, E12 could be classic nowadays but is quite rare in good shape), I don’t really like either of them :? there were many better looking BMW’s from their time period (i.e. E9, E24, E30… and first of all E31)

  12. Jay Davis says:

    HOw can you say it is certainly better looking than the f10 it replaces when it looks nothing more than a refresh!? I don’t like the headlights so I will stick with the f10, which I find the best looking 5.

  13. Carsten Arent Olesen says:

    E39 > E60 > E34 > E12/E28 > G30 > F10.

    My good, the G30 is sooooo boring. I have had the E39 and now the E61, which I both love. The F10 was boring, so I skipped that, and have waited years for the G31. I need a new car to replace my 2009 E61, and for the first time in my life I am starting to look towards Audi A6…. (never thought that would happen).

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