The M5 model resides at the top of BMW's performance lineup. It's powered by a monster of a V10 engine that makes 500 hp and 383 lb-feet of torque. Power gets to the road via a 7-speed sequential transmission. The M5 utilizes a specially tuned sport suspension and unique cross-drilled disc brakes. M5-specific 19" wheels all around, a special spoiler and air diffuser also distinguish the M5 sedan from the rest of the 5-Series.
The most popular 5-Series configuration is four-door sedan, but a five-door wagon is also available, only in all-wheel-drive 535xi trim. The wagon comes with a cargo cover, cargo net, and under-floor storage compartment.
The 5-Series models have a roomy interior, with front seats that are excellent for long trips, enough back seat space for adults and, in sedans, a very roomy trunk. The instrument panel looks deceivingly simple, with a streamlined, horizontal design, but there's an underlying complexity in the iDrive controller that's needed to access some functions.
Though the standard suspension setup is already quite firm, rear-wheel-drive models can be specified with a Sport Package, which brings a tighter Sport suspension, grippy multi-contour front seats, and upgraded wheels and run-flat performance tires. The package also includes Active Roll Stabilization, a system that simulates much stiffer anti-roll bars with an electronically controlled pump system. Another performance option is Active Steering, which actually helps steer the car back toward a more stable situation when the electronic stability control intervenes.
The 5-Series comes with front side airbags and head-protecting airbags for front and rear outboard occupants. Rear side airbags, a still-rare feature, are optional.
Compared to other mid-size sport sedans, the 5-Series is a technology powerhouse. To help increase alertness and safety, there's a lane departure warning system; a night vision system is available, which might help spot and avoid animals up ahead after dark; and BMW's active cruise control is one of the most advanced offered, capable of stopping and restarting in traffic. Other unusual options include a head-up display, high-definition (HD) radio and a high-beam assist feature.