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STYLING | 8 out of 10
The new car appears more solid and substantial than the car it replaces.
The front view is more squat and aggressive, with larger "twin-kidney" grilles inspired by the CS Concept and current 7-Series
…the much-maligned "Bangle butt" (a legacy of former BMW styling chief Chris Bangle) has been erased and replaced by smooth, flowing lines.
Turning to the exterior of the 2011 5 Series is a bit underwhelming.
Road & Track
…the 2011 BMW 5-series looks like the latest 7-series, but it is more tight, dynamic, and alert.
Car and Driver
Thankfully, to many BMW fans in the know, the new 2011 5-Series takes a step sideways with respect to styling and design, letting in more influences from the old E39 5-Series that ran until 2002 and closing the door on some of the more radical design statements made by the outgoing 5-Series. The new 5-Series has a familiar profile, and the overall proportions haven’t changed appreciably, but most notably the Bangle-butt is gone and the front end has more of that classic upright look.
The BMW kidney grille now sits a little lower and more up-front than before, flanked by beautiful new jeweled LED headlamps. Perhaps most notable is the strong lower beltline crease that extends all the way to the back. There’s a good deal of additional expression in other details; the hood is a little curvier, a new taillight design swoops upward at the sides, and the hood itself includes outwardly flowing contour lines.
The new 2011 BMW 5-Series is only an inch and a half longer than the outgoing 5-Series, but the wheelbase is about three inches longer.
Inside, the 5-Series doesn’t exactly have a cockpit layout, but it’s driver-centered while also optimizing spaciousness in front. Major controls and displays are angled six degrees toward the driver, and there’s a rather wide center console that opens wide to store PDAs, iPods, and other precious electronics.
The 2011 BMW 5-Series is conservative, but it hits the mark in a way that will both please longtime brand enthusiasts and first-time Bimmer buyers.