BMW recently took the wraps off of the 2021 BMW 5-Series earlier this week, and it brings a number of welcome updates that not only help keep the 5-Series fresh in the minds of buyers for a few more years, but also allows the 5-Series to take a big step closer towards formally fitting in with BMW’s renewed push towards electrification technology.
But before we get into the more radical changes that take place in the performance hardware, we might as well address the decidedly more subtle updates that define the exterior styling. Being a mid-cycle refresh, the 5-Series avoids an all out reboot, and instead focuses on tasteful tweaks and revisions. While the 5-Series does receive the controversial all new kidney grille design that has certainly generated its fair share of reactions among the BMW faithful, hard line loyalists can breath a sigh of relief since the grilles here are not quite as extreme as those that we have seen on some recent BMW concept cars. Meanwhile, the head and tailights have been redesigned, and new front and rear bumpers help add more chiseled charisma to its flanks. The changes cover both the base model and those equipped with the optional M-Sport package, and actually helps increase the length of the car slightly, with the new 5 being roughly an inch longer than the outgoing model.
As for changes to the performance hardware, this particular category is somewhat of a mixed bag with the 530i, 540i, and M550i models all carrying over relatively unchanged. That means that the trio still wields 248, 335, and 523 horsepower respectively. The bulk of the attention here is centered on the PHEV model, with this particular variant getting a bump in power. Once known for making 248 horsepower, the 2021 version now makes 288 horsepower thanks to revisions to some of the electrified portions of the powertrain. Torque also goes up slightly to 310 lb-ft of torque which could play a hand in improving acceleration for the PHEV. But don’t think that the existing engines were left off the hook in this freshening process, the 3.0 liter in line six for example now comes equipped with an all new 48-volt mild hybrid system that is supposed to not only improve fuel efficiency, but also allowed BMW engineers to add several new features. These include a coasting feature that allows the car to cruise on EV power alone when certain speed parameters are met, as well as an enhanced version of the company’s start/stop technology that can work at speeds as low as 9 mph.
The cabin of the 5-Series also receives some much needed attention including an updated infotainment system that comes bundled with the latest version of the company’s Intelligent Personal Assistant. First seen in the 8 and 7 Series, IPA is a natural language interface that responds to “Hey BMW” with the system allowing the driver control over a wide range of interior features and settings. This includes the bigger 12.3 inch screen that is nestled on top of the center stack which now comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability. An all new Drive Recorder system is also on board, and monitors vehicle cameras, with drivers being able to save the recorded footage onto a USB drive.
When the 2021 BMW 5-Series eventually arrives in showrooms this July, it will come with a base price of $55,195 (which includes the $995 destination fee.) The order book for the model opens up later this month, with the car expected to complete its full roll out to dealerships nationwide some time in August or September.
Carl Malek has been an automotive journalist for over 10 years. First starting out as a freelance photographer before making the transition to writing during college, his work has appeared on numerous automotive forums as well as websites such as Autoshopper.com.
Carl is also a big fan of British vehicles with the bulk of his devotion going to the Morgan Motor Company as well as offerings from Lotus, MG, and Caterham. When he is not writing about automobiles, Carl enjoys spending time with his family and friends in the Metro Detroit area, as well as spending time with his adorable pets.