Despite an interior received coolly by reviewers, the 2008 BMW 5-Series scores high for comfort and quality.
The New York Times considers the 5-Series to have a "cold, synthetic-looking interior" and says it "badly needs a makeover." Minor tweaks are performed for 2008, but they include the addition of that “aggravating electronic shifter,” Car and Driver reports. It’s still “handsome but not as elegantly turned out as that of the new E-class,” Automobile observes. Edmunds agrees, noting “competitors offer more stylish and less austere environments.”
Seating is a virtue in the new 5-Series. Edmunds says, “Supportive seating is provided in both the front and rear, and even adults won't mind sitting in the commodious backseat.” Automedia writes “seat cushioning is firm, but comfortable for long hauls.” Kelley Blue Book reports that the 2008 BMW 5-Series 10-way adjustable seats (20-way adjustment is available as an option) are "the most comfortable and supportive in the class," whether one is traveling on the open freeway or curving back roads. And while the backseat is large, “this is really only a four-passenger car," Automedia says, adding, "The center rear is hard and uncomfortable, worsened by a huge hump on the floor to straddle.”
Edmunds points out the 5-Series sedan “has 14 cubic feet of trunk capacity.”
The BMW 5-Series continues a BMW tradition of tightly assembled, highly finished vehicles. “Build quality and materials inside the 5 Series are still outstanding,” Edmunds says. Anachronistically, the 5-Series’s standard upholstery is vinyl, Automedia observes, probably a nod to its civil-service duties as a fleet machine in Germany. ConsumerGuide notes a minimum of wind noise; road noises become apparent only when riding on the optional "high-performance" tires available with BMW's "Sport Package" of options.