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STYLING | 8 out of 10
The new car appears more solid and substantial than the car it replaces.
The front view is more squat and aggressive, with larger "twin-kidney" grilles inspired by the CS Concept and current 7-Series
…the much-maligned "Bangle butt" (a legacy of former BMW styling chief Chris Bangle) has been erased and replaced by smooth, flowing lines.
Turning to the exterior of the 2011 5 Series is a bit underwhelming.
Road & Track
…the 2011 BMW 5-series looks like the latest 7-series, but it is more tight, dynamic, and alert.
Car and Driver
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.
The 2012 BMW 5-Series is conservative throughout, but its classic sport-sedan proportions definitely call out to enthusiasts.