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The mid-size 5-series debuted in the 1972 model year with the introduction of the 520 and its base-level 2.0-liter engine that produced 115 horsepower. The 528 model debuted in 1979 as the replacement for the 530, but the 528 again was replaced by the 530i in 2001. The 528i made its triumphant return in 2008 and remains the base-model 5-Series through 2013.
The 2013 model year 528 is essentially a carryover from 2012, but BMW did add in standard split-folding rear seats and universal garage door opener to the lineup. The 528 comes in just a pair of trim levels: i and i xDrive. The i trim level is the entry-level for the 528 and the i xDrive acts as the upgraded version. The two models come standard with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that pumps out 240 horsepower and 255 foot-pounds of torque. The engine mates up to a standard eight-speed automatic transmission.
There are only the two trim levels, but there are plenty of optional packages to choose from to spice up your 528 a little bit. First up is the Cold Weather Package, which includes heated seats and steering wheel, and headlight washers. The Driver Assistance Package adds in a rearview camera, active blind-spot detection, side- and top-view cameras, and park distance control. The Driver Assistance Plus Package adds speed limit information and lane-departure warning. The Luxury Seating Package adds extra comfort with its multi-contour seats with multi-contour and ventilated front seats. The Premium Package adds a power trunk, Comfort Access keyless entry, SiriusXM with a 1-year subscription, and seven leather upholstery options. The M Sport Package boosts performance and appearance by increasing the top-speed limiter, and adding in one of five different interior trimmings, 18-inch double-spoke wheels, seven exclusive exterior colors, body kit, anthracite-colored headliner, Shadowline exterior trim and an M steering wheel. Lastly, there is the Technology package, which adds in navigation with real-time traffic information, a heads-up display, smartphone integration and BMW apps.
The Bimmer has plenty of competition to fend off. The competitors start off with the 2013 Mercedes-Benz E350, which comes standard with a 3.5-liter V-6 engine that produces 302 horsepower, a seven-speed automatic transmission and leatherette seating. Next up is the 2013 Audi A6, which comes standard with turbocharged 2.0-liter engine with 211 horsepower, a continuously variable transaxle and leather seating. The final addition to the list is the Lexus GS 350, which comes standard with a 3,5-liter V-6 with 306 horsepower, a six-speed automatic transmission and leather seats.
With competition this fierce, BMW can no longer just rely on its name to sell cars. It needs to bring something special in 2013, if it expects to maintain its top-tier ranking in its class.
The 528i is the base level for the BMW 538 and it comes relatively well equipped. On the outside, a set of 17-8-inch Star Spoke-style rims add extra style to the sedan, four-wheel disc brakes with ABS drag it to a halt quickly, front fog lights and xenon adaptive headlights help keep you safe, and heated mirrors keep your view clear. Inside the cabin, leatherette upholstery keeps things luxurious without the extra cost of real leather. Dark wood trimming inside the cabin adds a little touch of class to the luxury sedan. Lastly, a 10-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio system with HD Radio and SiriusXM keeps you entertained.
The 582i xDrive trim level carries over all of the same trimmings and features on the inside and outside of the BMW 528. Its biggest addition to the sedan is BMW’s xDrive all-wheel-drive system, which gives you the feel of rear-wheel drive under normal circumstances, but instantaneously transfers power to the other wheels once the main traction wheels slip. The only other difference is the addition of BMW’s Hill Descent Control, which maintains a slow crawl – roughly 4 mph – as you go down a hill to help keep constant traction.
Legendary luxury, powerful V-6 engine and excellent standard audio system, but very expensive and low mpg
Great base price, good mpg and standard leather interior, but relatively slow, underpowered and lacks a pedigree
Powerful V-6, stunning exterior and excellent base features, but soft-feeling transmission and relatively low mpg
Standard V-8 engine, loaded in base format and very fast, but body is bland, poor mpg and no AWD available