Engine and gearbox
The usual superb and expansive range of turbocharged units, in four-, six- and eight-cylinder formats. Badges you’ll see on the rear-ends of 5 Series models: for petrol power, there’s the 520i, 528i, 535i and 550i; diesels are 518d, 520d, 525d, 530d and 535d. Petrol power runs from 181- to 444bhp, while the diesels offer up anything between 148- and 309bhp; comparative torque figures are 199-480lb ft for the petrols and 266-465lb ft in the diesels.
Four-pot engines are found in the 518d, 520i, 520d, 525d and 528i, with straight-sixes for the 530d, 535i and 535d. The 550i is a twin-turbocharged 4.4-litre V8. Every engine is available in the saloon, the Touring misses out on the V8 only and the GT has a range that runs 535i and 550i, 520d, 530d and 535d.
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Anything up to the 525d can be had with a manual, six-speed gearbox, with all models from 528i upwards coming as eight-speed automatics only (optionally with paddle shifts); both autos are options on the lower portion of the range. Also, the Gran Turismo is auto-only, as is the ActiveHybrid 5, which – for reference – makes 335bhp and 332lb ft.
'In the 528i there's no creamy straight-six hum, no BMW specific signature. That's because the new 528i has a 2-litre engine with four cylinders. The downsizing fairy has visited and has brought with it a twin scroll turbocharger and every efficiency trick in the book, from a stop-start to throttle-less Valvetronic valve-lift control. Thirsty nat-asp sixes are history.' John Simister, evo 164.