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Justin Cupler
Automotive Editor - January 8, 2013

Expert Rating

4.85 (Excellent)
23 City / 34 Highway

Unlike other websites and magazines, our ratings are not based solely on a singular road test, but rather a more encompassing batch of criteria: quality, safety, comfort, performance, fuel economy, reliability history and value. When comparing vehicles using our Rating System, it's important to note that the rating earned by each vehicle correlates only to the models within its class. For example, a compact car cannot be compared to a SUV—They are different vehicles altogether.

You can interpret our ratings in the following way:

5-Star: Outstanding vehicle. Only the most exceptional vehicles achieve this rating.

4-Star: Very Good vehicle. Very good and close to being the best vehicle in its class.

3-Star: Good vehicle. Decent, but not quite the best. Often affordable, but lacking key features found in vehicles of the same class.

2-Star: Below average vehicle. Not recommended, and lacking attributes a car buyer would come to expect for the price.

1-Star: Poor vehicle. Simply does not deserve to be on the road.


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.

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