The car segment often referred to as the “premium end” of the executive class is where you will find the BMW 5 Series, a model that was first introduced in 1972. There was a newly facelifted BMW 540i at our disposal for a short drive and a first initial look near Munich, Germany. The rainy day offered a look at what the new 5 Series lifecycle update has to offer to its current and future clientele.

The Visual Upgrades

The most noticeable difference between the predecessor and this new LCI model is the updated exterior design, enhancements within the interior, and the increased efficiency through drive system electrification, which uses 48V mild hybrid technology.

On the outside, you will notice the new front and rear bumpers, new LED headlights with slimmer contours or the new Adaptive LED Headlights, with matrix technology. The newly shaped BMW kidney grille is now wider and taller. At the rear, you will find three-dimensional sculpted rear lights and all 5er model variants now come with trapezoidal exhaust tailpipe surrounds.

On the inside, you will notice the 12.3-inch Control Display from other models in the BMW lineup, automatic climate control with extended features and a sports leather steering wheel with newly arranged multifunction buttons. Controls on the center console are now in High-gloss Black. New Sensatec perforated trim variant for the seat surfaces are combined with comfort seats, new M multifunction seats with optimized seating comfort and new interior trim strips.

The new iDrive system with BMW’s Operating System 7 is complemented by new driver assistance systems and extended functions, such as lane departure warning, lane return function, lane change assistant, automatic formation of emergency lane and junction warning.

You also have the option to choose the BMW Drive Recorder and parking assistant with additional reversing assistant function. People with an Android phone can now connect their smartphone to Android Auto onboard the 5 Series.

Performance And Driving Impressions

On the subject of driving characteristics, not many things have changed. The 5 Series offers the same ability to shuttle you efficiently and effectively to your destination and while doing so it will offer you minimum irritation. It does what it needs to do and without much sex appeal. Its ability to cruise imperiously is where it shines combined by its ability to catapult you from zero to 100 km/h in about 5.2 seconds for the RWD model and 4.9 seconds for the xDrive model. That’s nice!

The smooth six-cylinder offering 245 kW/333 hp at 5,500 – 6,250 rpm plus 450 Nm (332 lb-ft) at 1,600 – 4,800 rpm and the eight-speed auto have all been tuned to deliver this performance in a nice, unflustered, undramatic way. Add that to the introduction of a new mild hybrid technology, and you now have more rapid responses and enhanced efficiency, thanks to 48V starter-generator. A 8 kW/11 hp power spike is available to lighten the combustion engine’s workload and boost its power.

At first sight it looks as if BMW have made improvements at every single aspect of the 5er, but there are a few niggles to discuss which you could take of note off when you order your new 5 Series. The optional Integral Active Steering should offer greater assistance in low-speed maneuvering, but more sporty orientated drivers focused on steering should stay away from this option. Don’t go for it, if you have the option and want a more natural steering feel.

Additionally, we would suggest opting for different rubber. Our test car was fitted with 19 inch wheels shod in Goodyear run-flat rubber and the tire noise on the short little drive was too noticeable not to mention in this story.

Other than that, the BMW 5 Series facelift offers what you should expect from it. It does what it needs to do, and not much else. It is great option for those looking for a premium sedan or touring offering a wide range of engine choices and interior refinements.