The 2021 BMW 5-Series Gets a New Look and Mild-Hybrid Inline-Six Power

After months of spy shots and a few leaks, BMW has officially unveiled its refreshed 5-Series sedan for the 2021 model year.

The biggest cosmetic update for the 2021 5-Series comes on the front end, with a reworked bumper and headlight setup that aligns itself closer to BMW’s current corporate fascia. Thinner headlight housings and double L-shaped daytime running lights are easy to spot, but other things, like the larger front air intakes and mesh panels, are harder to see. Thankfully, BMW seems to have decided against giving the car a massive 7-Series-like grille. Out back, the taillights, bumper, and diffuser have also been treated to a slight facelift. BMW says the car’s length has grown by 1.2 inches, helping to generate a drag coefficient as low as 0.27 for the base 530i.

The 2021 5-Series will be available with four different engine configurations. The aforementioned 530i is the cheapest, least powerful of the lot, using a twin-scroll turbocharged 2.0-inline-four to make 248 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. It’s able to sprint to 60 mph in 5.9 seconds, both in rear- and all-wheel drive configurations.

The 530e uses a 181-horsepower version of the 2.0-liter four-cylinder, paired with a 107-horsepower electric drive unit integrated into the transmission. BMW says the system makes 288 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque combined, but can deploy an additional 40 horsepower for up to 10 seconds when the throttle is pushed to the floor. The car can drive on electric power only thanks to an onboard 12 kWh lithium-ion battery. Flat out, it can get to 60 mph in just 5.7 seconds, whether it’s equipped with xDrive or not.

The turbo inline-six-powered 540i has been given a significant update for 2021, with the addition of a 48-volt starter-generator attached to the motor. It, along with a second onboard battery, allow for regenerative braking and smooth start-stop operation. BMW says it can even deliver an “electric boost effect,” resulting in a gain of 11 horsepower. Combined, that means 335 horsepower and 332 lb-ft of torque, resulting in a 0-60 time of 4.9 seconds, or 4.6 seconds when equipped with all-wheel drive.

The top-tier M550i xDrive makes the same 523 horsepower and 553 lb-ft of torque from its twin-turbo V-8 as it did before, able to thrust the car to 60 mph in 3.6 seconds. It also gets a new aerodynamic body kit from the M sport package, which includes a lip spoiler, different side mirror caps, a specific kidney grille design, dual trapezoidal exhaust exits, and blacked out window surround.

All four 5-Series variants have an electronically limited top speed of 130 mph when equipped with all-season tires. That raises to 155 mph if the car is optioned with summer performance tires (save for the 530e, which only raises to 146 mph for the rear-drive model, and 143 mph for the xDrive model). And no matter which 5-Series you go for, you’re getting an eight-speed automatic transmission. Sorry, manual lovers, no stickshifts in sight.

Inside, the central infotainment screen has been enlarged to 12.3 inches (up from 10.25), and comes standard with BMW’s iDrive 7 control system, as well as navigation, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto.

Pricing for the 2021 5-Series starts at $54,200 plus destination for the base 530i, and go all the way up to $76,800 plus destination for the M550i xDrive, before options. BMW says order books will open in May 2020, with first deliveries happening in July.

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