2010 BMW 5-Series Review
The 2010 BMW 5 Series is looking at the tail end of its career. With a completely redesigned model just a year away, the latest 5 is facing its final curtain, but does so while still remaining a top choice for a premium midsize luxury sedan. Indeed, while newer competitors have surpassed this segment's elder statesman in certain areas, the 5 remains one of the finest vehicles in the world to travel each and every highway. Regrets? The 5 has a few, but the most worthy to mention is iDrive, which has been harped on endlessly since its introduction in the early 2000s. For 2010, all 5 Series thankfully get the latest iDrive knob and accompanying menu buttons, but without navigation, the same old convoluted menu structure remains. We suggest opting for the navigation system, which includes the higher- resolution screen and improved iDrive menus found in the all-new 7 Series. Other than those updates, the 2010 5 Series continues to consist of the 528i, 535i and 550i sedans and 535i xDrive wagon. Of all these, the 535i would certainly be our pick. Its twin-turbocharged inline -6 endows it with an ideal blend of seamless power and respectable fuel efficiency. This torque-rich engine pulls hard from low in its rev range and effortlessly gets this BMW up to speed. In fact, the 535i is only a few tenths slower to 60 mph than the V8-powered 550i, while returning only 1 mpg less combined than the 528i. The strong engines, along with an ideal ride/handling balance, spacious interior and impressive build quality are still the 5 Series' core strengths. Yet it is certainly pricey, and its advanced age has put it behind the electronic times in a few areas. Also, its standard steering may be too stiff for some drivers. As such, the fully redesigned Mercedes E-Class, the sleek- looking Jaguar XF and even the very impressive Hyundai Genesis are worth close looks. But the 5 Series has faced them all and stood tall, continuing to be a favorite among our editors and shoppers alike. So although the end is near, the 2010 BMW 5 Series still does things its way.
The 2010 BMW 5 Series is available in sedan and wagon body styles. Three engines are available on the sedan that correspond to the three trim levels (528i, 535i and 550i), with xDrive all-wheel drive available on the 528i and 535i sedans. The wagon comes in 535i xDrive trim only. The 528i comes standard with 17-inch wheels, a sunroof, automatic headlights and wipers, power front seats with driver memory and power headrests, a power tilt- telescoping steering column, leatherette vinyl upholstery, automatic climate control, the iDrive electronics interface and a 10-speaker stereo with a CD player and an auxiliary audio jack. The 535i adds adaptive xenon headlights and lumbar support, while the 535i xDrive wagon adds a panoramic sunroof, fold-down rear seats and a power tailgate. The 550i adds parking assist, leather upholstery and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.
The 2010 BMW 5 Series is just at home on a winding back road as it is on a leisurely cross-country road trip. Opting for either of the sport packages allows the 5 to tackle tight corners as skillfully as some dedicated sports cars. When driven aggressively, the steering has perfect weighting and a near-telepathic feel, but around town and in parking lots, it feels overly heavy. For this reason, we think casual drivers mostly interested in the 5 Series' looks, luxury and curb appeal should opt for the active steering system. Likewise, those drivers might find the ride quality to be a little stiff at times when equipped with the Sport package, but overall this BMW is a fine all-purpose luxury sport sedan.
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