2021 BMW 5 Series: Electrification Soaks Deeper Into the 'I've Succeeded' Bimmer

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
2021 bmw 5 series electrification soaks deeper into the 8216 ive succeeded bimmer

Refreshed and technologically updated, the BMW 5 Series maintains a familiar powertrain lineup for 2021, albeit with a few adjustments that reflect the company’s environmental proclamations.

Just because buyers choose green doesn’t mean they shun horsepower, and just because buyers are willing to add some electrification to their life, doesn’t mean they want to feel it.

Visual changes, while mild, result in a slightly more aggressive first impression. The grille hasn’t grown to massive proportions; it’s just more defined, with pronounced vertical bars filling its slightly expanded real estate. The headlamps are more arresting with their L-shaped LED running lamp mascara. Out back, changes are similarly low-key, with trapezoidal tailpipe finishers added to the package and black edging on the taillights.

It’s beneath the hood where you’ll find more noteworthy additions to the 5 Series line. Entry-level 530i sedans continue in rear- and all-wheel drive form with a turbocharged 2.0-liter, good for 248 horsepower and 250 lb-ft of torque. Moving up to the 540i still gets you a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six, only this one comes hooked to a 48-volt mild hybrid system that should reduce the mill’s thirst (by just how much, the EPA hasn’t said). Output remains at 335 hp and 332 lb-ft, though the starter-generator lends 11 hp to the getaway process.

An increase in electrical content can be found in the already electrified 530e plug-in hybrid, which gains a boost in output for 2021. Retaining its 181 hp 2.0-liter under hood, the rear-drive and xDrive plug-ins see a 107 hp electric motor that bumps combined output to 288 hp — an increase of 40 green ponies. Set the drive mode indicator to Sport and you’ll (briefly) tap into an additional 40 hp via the hybrid system’s XtraBoost feature. That extra juice runs out after 10 seconds, mind you.

The opposite side of the coin is the unabashedly pro-oil M550i, which carries on with a decidedly non-hybridized twin-turbo 4.4-liter V8 that’s good for 523 hp and 553 lb-ft. All-wheel drive is the only way to go with this beast. Regardless of engine, an eight-speed automatic will be your constant driving companion.

BMW claims aero improvements results in a drag coefficient as low as 0.27 for the new 5 Series, adding that the subtle styling alterations have pushed stem and stern apart by 1.2 inches. Buyers who opt for the M Sport Package will gain redesigned bumpers with larger mesh-filled lower air vents and a new rear diffuser panel.

Speaking of dimensions, the car’s infotainment touchscreen grows from 10.25 inches to 12.3 inches.

Heading into U.S. dealers in July, the 2021 5 Series starts at $54,200 for the base 530i sedan and heads all the way to $76,800 for the M550i xDrive. The hybrid model starts at $57,200, with inline-six power carrying a price tag of $59,450.

[Images: BMW]

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3 of 7 comments
  • Jeff S I haven't seen one of these since the 90s. Good find.
  • William Piper Ditch the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance for starters….Mitzu has probably benefited less than the other two partners and it has shackled any brand creativity moving forward.
  • Tassos I knew a woman in the area, a journalist (at least she claimed to be a reporter of some kind) who owned one of these tiny pickups with a manual transmission. SHe was only 40 at the time, but she must have been hard of hearing, because she would routinely forget to shift and we would go at fairly high speeds in very low gear, which made a huge racket, which did not seem to bother her (hence my deafness hypothesis). Either that, or she was a lousy driver. Oh well, another very forgettable, silly car from the 80s (and if my first and LAST VW, a 1975 Dasher wagon, was any indication, a very unreliable one too!)
  • Tassos Now as for the Z specifically, Car and Driver had a comparison test of the new Z400, a car that looks good on paper, with plenty of HP etc, but, despite the fact that the cars that win in those tests are usually brand new models that are more up to date than their aging rivals, the Z finished DEAD LAST in the test, to my ovbious surprise.
  • Arthur Dailey Sorry but compare that spartan interior to the Marks that Corey is writing about. 'A cigarette lighter'. Every Mark had 4 cigarette lighters and ashtrays. And these came standard with 'a 3.4-liter, 182-horsepower straight-six in the engine compartment and a five-speed manual transmission'. Those do not tick off many of the luxury boxes aspired to by 'the greatest generation'.Not sure about the 7 series but one of My Old Man's associates showed up once with a brand new 5 series circa 1977 and they gave him such a bad time that he traded it for a Fleetwood within a week.