2012 BMW 5-Series Comfort & Quality

On Comfort & Quality

The 2012 BMW 5-Series has a very traditional sport-sedan interior, if you look at seating layout, but it's also a comfortable, quiet luxury sedan whenever you need it to be. Front seats are as comfortable and supportive as we’ve come to expect from BMW, with extendable lower cushion supports for taller drivers.

There are few weaknesses, but backseat space remains one. There’s simply not as much useful legroom as in most rivals this size, and the back of the front seat has a hard-plastic pocket. BMW 5-Series GranTurismo models are an exception; with a slightly elevated backseat, lots more legroom, and plenty of headroom—plus a great view out—the GT is an ideal choice for shuttling around adults.

The 2012 BMW 5-Series sedans have superb front seats and excellent refinement, but if back-seat comfort is a priority, look to the GranTurismo.

Throughout all the models, the interior is impressive, with good-quality, tactile switchgear. The iDrive interface still remains the center point of the dash; you'll need it to access many vehicle functions, but the 5-Series benefits from the much-simplified fourth-generation system—including an improved menu structure and hot buttons for main-menu categories. Simply put, iDrive has finally reached its potential in being a relatively intuitive interface that might not be as easy as buttons to some, but you probably won’t need to read manuals to digest and use it on the fly.

While the 2011 BMW 5-Series provides a large impressive trunk, the GranTurismo also wows with respect to cargo. With a two-piece tailgate that can be opened and configured in several different ways, the GranTurismo provides some of the benefits of a wagon without the station wagon look. In the 535i Gran Turismo and 550i GranTurismo models, we're a fast fan of the limo-like rear seats and the flexible cargo area. Fitted with two rear seats and a console, the 5-Series GT does a convincing impression of a first-class cabin, depending on the airlines you frequent. The seats can be reclined, heated, ventilated, and stimulated with massaging functions. Only the Mercedes-Benz R-Class and Lincoln MKT approach its second-row seat comfort, and neither performs as capably.

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