BMW's 5-Series has New Names, Much Better Performance
by HAILEY KERR
BMW has changed the name of its six-cylinder powered midsize, luxury 5-Series cars for 2008 to emphasize its larger and more powerful engines. The old 525i would be change to 528i with 230hp while the 530i becomes the 535i with 300 hp included on the twin-turbocharged, six-cylinder 535xi Sports Wagon.
The German automaker and producer of high quality BMW 325 parts has also updated the interiors of its 2008 5-Series sedans and wagons with the addition of an optional Lane Departure Warning system that softly vibrates the steering wheel whenever it detects that the driver is wandering out of his or her lane. The manufacturer’s suggested retail price for the 5-Series including destination charge will start at $45,075 for the base 528i.
BMW has also assured that buyers of the 5-Series sedan will love the image that the four-door car conveys. The 2008 5-Series styling and design reflects its performance heritage, a good bit of technology but not lightweight. It is also worth mentioning that would-be BMW 5-Series owners will receive four years/50,000 miles of free maintenance that would include scheduled oil changes and even replacement if worn out windshield wiper blades. This is in addition to the four-year/50,000-mile limited, bumper-to-bumper warranty.
It is also hard to miss out the new found power in the 2008 BMWs. The test 535xi weighs in at nearly 4,000 pounds which means that this particular BMW will not feel lightweight or flighty. Its peak torque is at 300 pounds-feet and can come as low as 1,400 rpm and can reach up to 5,000 rpm which is quite satisfying for any kind of driving.
The 3-liter, twin-turbocharged, inline six-cylinder with variable valve timing for both intake and exhaust functions are similar to the one equipped on the BMW 335i. It was mated in the test 535xi to an updated Steptronic automatic transmission that could be shifter manually. For the 536xi, BMW has removed the confusing and difficult-to-operate Sequential Manual Gearbox.
The power is also increased to its highest ever in the base 528i which has a 3-liter, inline six-cylinder with variable valve timing without the turbocharging. The top range 550i sedan retains its 360-hp, 4.8 liter V8.
Fuel economy is not a highly flaunted characteristic of BMW’s vehicles but for the test 535xi, it was able to perform within the government’s ratings of 17 mpg for city driving and 25 mpg for highway driving. The handling as expected of a BMW was remarkable. The car body was steady and well-controlled in all maneuvers even over some busy road surfaces.