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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 recast the current 5-Series—referred to in close-knit BMW-enthusiast circles by its internal designation, the F10—to be more of a driver's car than the former F60 version, and it shows, with a lean, masculine look that really showcases BMW's best sense for classic sport-sedan proportions.
To those BMW fans, it has signaled the brand's 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.
While that hasn't changed for 2014—neither has the delightful silhouette and near-perfect stance, thankfully—BMW has given the 5-Series lineup a more 'up front' face, with new lines around the familiar kidney grille, plus a more aggressive-looking lower air intake below. There's also a more dramatic taillamp design, and xenon adaptive headlamps are standard with LED headlamps optional. Also, side indicator lights are now integrated into the exterior mirrors. Inside, there are better coordinated exterior trims, and a refreshed dash appearance with a new iDrive controller and touch pad.Taking the exterior in with a little more detail, 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 sits lower than before, and the changes for 2014 push it visually, if not physically, outward. It's definitely at its most glamorous when flanked by the LED headlamps. With its somewhat curvy hood, swooping-upward taillamp design, and flowing contour lines alongside, the 5-Series very much fits in with the rest of the current 5-Series lineup. 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. With the light design changes for 2014, cupholders become larger, as do storage compartments.
Also new for the 5-Series range are the Luxury Line and Modern Line trim packages, which join the existing M Sport package. They include more visual touches including unique treatments for items such as the grille and wheels.
All the classic sport-sedan proportions carry over, but some crisp new detailing dresses up the look a bit more for 2014.