Normally, you might have read a review of the new 5 Series from one of my colleagues, but I had the unique opportunity to test drive several of the new five-series Bavarians, which left me with a roller-coaster ride in the case of the two 520d diesel sedans. Same models, same engines, same big wheels, same powertrain, but two completely different cars.

Mr. Green

It all started with the rides at the Car of the Year 2024 in the Czech Republic, where I sat in an unremarkable sedan with all-wheel drive xDrive in a strange green color and thought to myself: “How is this the new top five?” Well, duty called and all I had to do was switch to test pilot mode and start investigating if the car drives as “strangely” as it looks from the front. Although I admit, design is almost always highly subjective, which is perhaps not only the case with the Fiat Multipla.

Foto: BMW Group Czech Republic

The 5 Series is a conservative car, but the base configuration in Cape York Green lacks a bit of flair.

In any case, even the first impression of the interior was not a hit, as the artificial button for the longitudinal shift of the seat eventually evoked that I had to reach for the mechanical lever on the lower right. Well, I would enthusiastically welcome the manual seat adjustment for the three- and four-wheel Bavarians in the base, but for the five-wheel drive in the basic price of almost 1.6 million, or in the tested specification for CZK 1,923,142? You, dear people of Munich, have been saving money in the wrong place. Personally, I love moderate configurations of cars, but some elements should simply be standard for the given class of car.

The five-row has always been such a transition between ordinary and luxury, an executive limousine, thus a swallower of highway kilometers. Sure, it’s not a pizza delivery truck with a new part-timer taking turns on it every week, but still…

Inside the strangely green five, you’ll find a black-(creamy) white interior awash in plastic that’s partly brought out into a shiny piano, which is perhaps the worst finish because it shows absolutely everything. Every speck of dust. Well, I got behind the wheel and found that this huge steering wheel didn’t go down well with the BMW either.

Foto: BMW Group Czech Republic

Lots of shiny plastics, a thick angular steering wheel. Why?

In short, the angular thick rim didn’t stick to me well, which can be considered a de facto coincidence, because BMW has a total of around 500 types of steering wheels on offer across models. And I won the one that not only didn’t look good to me.

The last point was the blinker levers, the quality of which to the touch corresponded to a better toy from the mall. So the first feelings are really mixed and the desired luxury is not achieved.

However, the drives themselves (there were several of them) made it clear that a classic consumer, but velvety and economical mild-hybrid two-liter diesel engine with 197 hp and 400 Nm of torque is working under the hood. The automatic ZF gearbox shifts as if from parts, the map data is accurate, the traffic goes online, the chassis irons the road beautifully and the xDrive drive does not do any tricks even when cornering at full throttle.

Foto: BMW Group Czech Republic

In terms of driving, however, the green 520d is an exemplary Bavarian.

So I handed over the green five with mixed feelings, especially because its i5 electric variant was so much more tuned. But the questions that BMW would go to such lengths on the mass-selling 20d model? This kept me awake for a night (really), but by coincidence a few days later I got my hands on a black and white model designed for corporate fleets. And there, a whole new chapter of series 5 began to be written.

Where have the laser lamps gone?

Have you noticed that BMW no longer offers laser headlights on new models, including the 5 Series? The reason is simple, the performance of the LEDs used has almost caught up with the lasers, in addition, the headlight is easier to manufacture, and therefore cheaper in the end. And not only for a new car, but also as a spare part that you can use in the event of a wreck.

Mr. White

Just looking at the two-tone combination, where the body with the M package is covered by a free white non-metallic paint called Alpine White, but complemented by black accessories including lights, gives me a completely different impression of beauty than the green model.

Photo: Tomáš Kopečný

The backlit edging stands out better on the black mask.

I suddenly feel that I am looking at a completely different car, a representative model, which is more majestic and has a proper decent sports drive, because it belongs to BMW, while the moderate convention is a matter of Mercedes-Benz E-class. And so it should be and then is the world right

In addition, with the black mask, the backlit edges around the main kidneys stand out, which at night make it clear in advance that the model you are looking at is from Bayerische Motoren Werke.

Photo: Tomáš Kopečný

The optically contrasting two-tone design highlights the Bavarian muscles.

Optically, the rear part is also pleasing, thanks to its two-tone design, it demonstrates more of those Bavarian muscles (we are curious about the M5!) and follows on from the black painted side sills. The imaginary cherry on the cake is the small black spoiler located on the trunk lid. Add to that the M Performance wheels and suddenly you have a completely different car in front of you, which, by the way, costs CZK 2,059,958, so it is “only” CZK 136,816 more expensive than the green five.

Another surprise is the interior, which is again included in the sports hall as part of the packages. However, against the green five, more upholstery and decorations have been added and shiny piano plastics have decreased. Although the blinker levers from the toy store remained, the other elements mostly appeared to be different, better, more premium.

Photo: Tomáš Kopečný

The interior of the white 5 looks sportier and more luxurious than in the case of the green model.

The heated round (in the green five was rather square) sports steering wheel suddenly fits comfortably in the hand, the leather upholstery and other decors create an impression of luxury, the seats fit better to the body and you can also adjust them fully electrically. Finally, an authentic five from BMW!

Due to the identical units and the xDrive drive, the dynamics of the car are the same compared to the green sedan, only in corners the car seemed a bit more confident thanks to the adaptive sports M chassis. Fortunately, it didn’t lose its comfort, so even the black and white five ironed out the irregularities like a skilled shirt housekeeper.

Photo: Tomáš Kopečný

The motorization of the 20d, in the vernacular, does not eat, it drives and works with velvety smoothness.

As the kilometers behind the wheel of the white 5er increased, it became more and more clear to me how vast the difference can be between the configurations of very similar priced cars. How is it enough if the body has indistinct shapes or non-contrasting colors. And what about decors, which we generally consider to be trinkets, but it is the design and materials that make luxury luxury.

Five in general

Regardless of the configuration, the new five-series boasts curved combined displays with the iDrive 8.5 info system, which works on the principle of applications and icons as in a tablet. This interface suits some, but not so much for me, it seems to me somewhat the same (albeit practically functional) with what everyone else offers.

Photo: Tomáš Kopečný

The heart of iDrive 8.5 are application icons like on a mobile phone or tablet.

I consider the Bavarian online navigation to be truly successful, according to which you can drive decently, it works with the head-up display and augmented reality. So yes, the front-facing camera is launched and the image with virtual arrows is projected either on the instrument panel or on the central display. We do not forget, however, that this is a technology that competitor Mercedes has already extended in its models.

You can also praise the possible personalization of the car, an integrated driving camera, quick switching off of the obligatory annoying speed assistant (just hold the SET button on the steering wheel for a long time), a panoramic camera system with 3D rendering or perhaps on-board entertainment elements like games.

Photo: Tomáš Kopečný

Augmented reality has gradually arrived in new BMW models.

Overall, the interior can be described as quite decently spacious in the front, including legroom (Mercedes, learn here…), in the back it’s not such a hit parade, but at least the trunk has a volume of 520 liters.

The 520d xDrive configuration itself will then offer a fuel tank volume of 60 liters, while the average consumption is around six liters of diesel per hundred. The resulting maximum range is around 1,000 km per refueling. It has already been said that the motorization is a mild-hybrid, but this helper is actually only there for emissions, a gentle push of the car during acceleration and for turning off the engine earlier as part of eco driving. But don’t worry, it’s discreet and you won’t know about it.

I would like to emphasize that it is not necessary to buy a Bavarian five ridiculously expensive, it does not matter that much. Much more depends on how you configure it (albeit sparingly). Namely (and take it as an exaggeration), while I would go to the end of the world for the basic BMW 2 Series Active Tourer, I wouldn’t even argue with a dancer with a wooden leg after four years of forced labor over a basic BMW 5 Series.

The BMW 5 Series starts with a four-cylinder two-liter petrol from CZK 1,467,700, while the basic plug-in hybrid with four-cylinder gasoline costs CZK 1,647,100 and the more powerful six-cylinder with xDrive at CZK 1,968,200. The diesel two-liter four-cylinder 20d starts at 1,524,900 CZK, or with all-wheel drive xDrive at 1,587,300 CZK. The basic electric i5 then costs from 1,749,800 CZK, while the top M60 xDrive has a price starting from 2,523,300 CZK. Additional engines, including additional six-cylinders, will arrive in the 5er during 2024.

Specifications 520d xDrive sedan
Motor mild-hybrid inline four-cylinder
Fuel diesel
Displacement volume 1,995 cm3
Performance 145 kW (197 hp) at 4,000 rpm
Torque 400 Nm at 1,500-2,750 rpm
Transmission automatic, 8 degrees
Tree cars connectable, 4×4
Operating weight 1 905 kg
Acceleration 0-100 km/h 7,3 s
Maximal speed 228km/h
Consumption (combination) 6.0–5.5 l/100 km
Fuel tank volume 60 l
Wheels and tires 245/45 R19
Dimensions (length/width/height) 5 060/1 900/1 515 mm
Wheelbase 2 995 mm
Volume of the luggage compartment 520 l