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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
The 5-Series hasn't changed much since two years ago, when BMW redesigned this model at the heart of its lineup and recast it as more of a driver's car than the former (E60) version. The new 5-Series also led a new design direction, moving on from the era of controversial BMW designs and to a new kind of straightforward, more upright classic-sport sedan designs that seem to reach a couple of generations back.
Picking up in some ways where the late-1990s-era E39 left off in some respects, with more window glass and a lower beltline, the 5-Series follows tradition in its profile yet keeps with modern detailing. Perhaps most notable is the strong lower beltline crease that extends all the way to the back. The BMW kidney grille now sits a little lower and more up-front than before, flanked by beautiful new jeweled LED headlamps. 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.
Inside, the 5-Series is driver-centered but not exactly cockpit-like; we like how it optimizes a spacious feeling in front with its rather low, horizontal dash layout and pushed-out corners. 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. Most of the materials and trims look and feel conservative, but there's a lot to like about the simple, clean instrument-panel design.
The 2013 BMW 5-Series is by no means daring, but it's dashing, with classic sport-sedan proportions.