BMW just completely redesigned the 5-Series models for 2011; the new version clearly is intended to be (and is) more of a driver's car than the former (E60) version that was sold through 2010; it also moves on design-wise, past an era of controversial BMW designs and into a new generation of sedans that seem to reach a couple of generations back. While the new version might reach back to the late-1990s-era E39 in some respects (with a bit more of the classic, upright look), BMW has preserved the 5-Series' modern profile and proportions.
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 interior of the 5-Series is driver-centered but not exactly cockpit-like; we like how it optimizes a spacious feeling in front. Most of the materials and trims look and feel conservative, but we like the simple, clean instrument-panel design. Major controls and displays are angled six degrees toward the driver, and to store away electronics, out of sight, there’s a rather wide center console that opens wide.