The 2010 5-Series sedan and wagon bear the hallmarks of an older school of BMW styling-one that's being left behind. With elaborate curves and sculpturing on the body sides, the 5-Series looks disjointed and complicated from some angles. It's far from the conservative streak seen in BMWs past, and it's been controversial on this car and on others sharing its theme: the 7-Series, the 6-Series, and the first-generation Z4. Wagons look a bit more balanced. Edmunds deems the 2010 BMW 5-Series a "wolf in a flamboyant sheep's clothing." Car and Driver says, "Styling doesn't appeal to all," and calls it "somewhat controversial." 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."
The interior's one arc after another, with a deep black hole in the dash for the LCD navigation screen and a general favoritism for exotic surfaces instead of functional spaces. It's challenging as a piece of art-it's far more challenging as a place to do driving work. Automedia notes the 5-Series' "lack of fanciness extends into the interior, with down-to-business seats and familiar BMW gauges." Motor Trend cuts down the 5-Series' cabin, calling it "a dark and cold cockpit." While Kelley Blue Book states "the overall air of firm luxury remains," Edmunds points out that "competitors offer more stylish and less austere environments." ConsumerGuide disagrees and says it features "elegant interior décor." Automobile says "the cabin is handsome but not as elegantly turned out as that of the new E-class."