The 2008 BMW 5-Series sports a body with avant-garde details that meet with mixed reviews.
BMW designer Chris “Bangle has alienated some hardcore BMW-philes,” Automobile observes, with his new styling themes. The BMW 7-Series was the first example of his dramatically curved theme; this 5-Series plies the same lines and surfaces with a more subdued result. According to Cars.com, “The 5 Series' design was a radical departure for BMW when it debuted in 2003, but its dramatically raked hood and squared off rump are more widely used by many automakers today, meaning the 5 Series now blends fairly well into the flow of traffic.” Still, Car and Driver says, “Styling doesn't appeal to all,” and calls it “somewhat controversial.”
Edmunds deems it a “wolf in a flamboyant sheep's clothing,” but changes for the new model year are slight. Automedia reports, “Despite revised front and rear styling, for instance, the 2008 5 Series sedan doesn't look markedly different” from previous years. The slightly updated look for 2008 includes rear LED lights, a new headlight design, a new steering wheel, and revised door panels.
The interior strikes a more traditional path. Automobile says “the new cabin is handsome but not as elegantly turned out as that of the new E-class. Still, its colors, materials, and shapes will appeal to those who favor Barcelona chairs over Barcaloungers.” Automedia notes its “lack of fanciness extends into the interior, with down-to-business seats and familiar BMW gauges.” Motor Trend cuts down the 5-Series’s cabin, calling it “a dark and cold cockpit.”