If you're shopping for a mid-size luxury sedan, the BMW 5-Series should be on your list. This handsome model offers great powertrain choices, agile steering, responsive handling, and cutting-edge technology. We're just left aghast at how expensive this sedan can become.

Best Value

The 2018 BMW 5-Series is a mid-size luxury sedan with room for five. It comes with standard rear-wheel drive and available all-wheel drive. BMW offers gas, diesel, and hybrid powertrain choices along with extensive ways to build yours.

BMW requires shoppers to choose one of three designs when they begin their build. The Sport Line and Luxury designs are priced the same, while the M Sport design adds $4,500 to the price. From there, BMW requires customers to choose a trim tier: Base, Premium, or Executive. The Premium tier adds $2,300, the Executive tier adds $4,400.

  • Model: 2018 BMW 540i
  • Engine: 3.0-liter turbocharged inline six-cylinder
  • Output: 335 hp / 332 lb-ft
  • Transmission: Eight-speed automatic
  • Drivetrain: Rear-wheel drive
  • MPG: 21 City / 30 Hwy
  • Options: Luxury Design ($0, chrome design accents), Executive Tier ($4,400, adaptive full LED headlights, automatic high beams, self-close automatic doors, parking assist, active park distance control, surround-view monitor, dynamic digital instrument cluster), Driving Assistance Package ($1,700, blind-spot monitoring, lane departure warning, forward collision warning with pedestrian detection, city collision mitigation, rear cross-traffic alert). Apple CarPlay Compatibility ($300).
  • Base Price: $59,195 (including a $995 destination charge)
  • Best Value Price: $65,595

Performance

BMW 5 Series

The base 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine found in 530i models offers sufficient power, but our preferred choice is the turbocharged six-cylinder. It's a good replacement for the previous V8, with an output of 335 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque. BMW pairs this engine with an eight-speed automatic transmission. Sorry, there's no stick shift to be had anywhere with the 5-Series.

The six-cylinder-equipped 5-Series is fast, making the run up to 60 miles per hour in under five seconds. The steering set up is generally very good and the feedback is what we expect. Most buyers will enjoy how well balanced this sedan is. We would only consider all-wheel drive for customers living where wintry conditions are a factor.

Style

We're happy that, even as BMW makes the necessary time passage changes to its models, the 5-Series doesn't lose its swagger. The automaker manages to make changes without losing the overall flavor. After all, what would any BMW be without its pronounced twin kidney grilles? Sharper lines are clearly evident with this generation model, but the theme remains reassuring and handsome.

BMW’s craftsmanship is evident throughout the interior, with high-end materials, exquisitely sculpted surfaces, soothing colors, and relaxing lights setting the mood. The cabin is visually pleasing with beautiful leather upholstery, brushed aluminum, or fine woods present. The seats are firm yet comfortable and are designed to allow the driver to enjoy long drives with minimal fatigue.

The tech center is tastefully displaced and reflects the latest and greatest that BMW has to offer. The center console is bigger than ever and the digital instrument panel is sublime tech extraordinaire.

The Best and Worst Things

The 2018 5-Series is a tech machine on wheels. At least it seems that way. You'll find a big digital instrument panel and an even larger center console display. Of course, we're also fans of the BMW’s iDrive system.

The bad news is that BMW pricing can get outrageously expensive. Even though we opted for it, the $300 Apple CarPlay upgrade is a cost BMW should bear, not the customer.

Right For? Wrong For?

BMW 5 Series

Anyone shopping for a mid-size luxury sedan will want to compare competition to the 5-Series. It offers the right measuring stick by which to judge all comers. On the other hand, BMW faithful will soon realize that this isn't the same 5-Series as before. There are so many tech features present that make it seem like a wholly different animal.

The Bottom Line

The 2018 BMW 5-Series is one of the best luxury cars you can buy. But the price point can become terribly expensive, depending on the design, tier, powertrain, and package options. For these reasons, people are more apt to lease than buy in an effort to get the amenities they want for an affordable monthly payment.