2014 BMW 5-Series Comfort & Quality

On Comfort & Quality

The 2014 BMW 5-Series isn't at all surprising in its interior accommodations—and that's mostly a good thing. What you see is what you get, and you can pretty much gauge the overall seating space in this mid-sizer from the outside.

Inside, you'll find this luxury sedan to be comfortable, quiet, and fitted with some of the best materials in the business. In many cases, it's just as inviting as the 7-Series' interior—at least compared to the affordable end of that luxury flagship.

Front seats are as comfortable and supportive as we’ve come to expect from BMW, with extendable lower cushion supports for taller drivers. Even on base models, they're the kind that you could rack hundreds of miles per day in--even with a problematic back.

The GranTurismo is the way to go for those who need a roomy back seat; but you'll find superb front seats and top-notch refinement throughout the range.

Backseat space remains one of the few weaknesses. Compare the 5-Series to mainstream models like a Honda Accord, and back-seat space is clearly tighter in this BMW. There's a hard-plastic pocket at the back of the front seats that can compound that feeling of tightness, pushing up against knees; and overall, taller adults are likely to feel a little wedged-in.

BMW 5-Series GranTurismo models have a completely different seating arrangement, and they're the exception. With a slightly elevated backseat, lots more legroom, and plenty of headroom (and a great view out), carrying adult passengers is one of the GT's strengths. For 2014, the rearmost section of the GranTurismo has been redesigned, too; with an extended hatch and extended rear, with more squared-off corners, there's now 17.7 cubic feet of cargo space back there—2.1 more than before.

The 535i Gran Turismo and 550i GranTurismo models (there's no 528i GT) offer limo-like rear seats and a flexible cargo area that feel first-class--with only the Lincoln MKT and extended-length versions of the Audi A8 and 7-Series coming close. The seats can be reclined, heated, ventilated, and stimulated with massaging functions.

You'll also want to focus in on the GranTurismo if cargo space is critical. While 5-Series sedans come with a reasonably spacious trunk, the GT's two-piece tailgate can be opened and configured in several different ways. Although we think there should be a 5-Series wagon in the U.S. market, it's close—offering some of the benefits of a wagon with a look that's a little...different.

Over many drives of the current-generation 5-Series, we haven't found its cabin appointments to be anything but impressive and first-rate. Switchgear feels good-quality and satisfying, while seat upholsteries and trims are plush and uncommon.

For 2014, new Luxury Line and Modern Line trim packages add premium Nappa leather trim, while the dash has some subtle trim changes.

BMW's iDrive interface still remains the center point of the dash; you'll need it to access many vehicle functions. For 2014, navigation is now included, and alongside a revised controller you get a touch-pad device that recognizes individual characters traced with your finger.

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