2011 5 Series vs. 2010 5 Seriesby Rob Wagner
The 2010 and 2011 BMW 5 Series differed significantly, with the 2011 models undergoing dramatic body restyling and a decent upgrade in torque for the in-line six-cylinder engines. The 2011 5 Series also received a modest increase in overall size, although the automaker chose to drop the estate wagon and offer only the sedan.
The BMW 5 series is a mid-size luxury sedan positioned between BMW's 3 Series and the ultra-luxury 7 Series models. In 2010, its lineup featured the 528i, 535i and 550i. The 528xi and 535xi were all-wheel drive versions. The 2011 5 Series featured the same model lineup as 2010, but BMW also offered in the North America market the 5 Series GT in lieu of the abandoned wagon. The 2011 5 Series featured a more sculpted, yet conservative look than 2010 models. BMW added a more pronounced nose to the 5 Series with an upright, kidney-shaped grille instead of the raked version on 2010 models. BMW also redesigned the headlamp assembly and softened some of the body flourishes.
The 2010 528i featured a 3.0-liter in-line six-cylinder engine generating 230 horsepower and 200 foot-pounds of torque. The 535i’s power came from a turbocharged 3.0-liter in-line six that developed 300 horsepower and 300 foot-pounds of torque. The mighty 550i got a 4.8-liter V-8 that wielded 360 horsepower and 360 foot-pounds of torque. A six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission matched the engines. For 2011, things got only better. The 528i’s six-cylinder received an output boost to 240 horsepower and 230 foot-pounds of torque. The 535i’s engine was identical to the 2010 version, but the 550i now came with a 4.4-liter V-8 generating 400 horsepower and a whopping 450 foot-pounds of torque. BMW carried over the six-speed manual, but offered an eight-speed automatic as optional equipment for 2011.
The 2010 turbocharged 535i could go from 0 to 60 mph in 5.8 seconds when equipped with the manual transmission. The 550i went from 0 to 60 mph in 5.4 seconds with a manual transmission. The 528i earned 18 mpg in city driving and 27 mpg on the highway for a combined 21 mpg rating. The 535i was rated at 18 mpg in city driving and 26 mpg on the highway, with a combined 20 mpg rating. The 550i garnered 15 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the open road, with a combined rating of 18 mpg. The 2010 535xi, or xDrive, wagon fared poorly in comparison, rated at 16 mpg in the city and 24 on the highway for a combined 19 mpg. The bigger and heavier 2011 5 Series went from 0 to 60 mph in 5.9 seconds, but the 528i demonstrated improved fuel efficiency. It was rated at 22 mpg in the city and 32 in highway driving for a combined 25 mpg. The 535i equipped with an automatic got 20 mpg city, 30 mpg highway and a combined 24 mpg. The 2011 550i was rated at 17 mpg in the city, 25 mpg on highways and a combined 20 mpg.
The 2010 528i sat on a 113.7-inch wheelbase and the body stretched to 191.1 inches long. It was 72.7 inches wide and stood 57.8 inches tall. Its front track measured 61.3 inches wide, and the rear’s width was 62.3 inches. Its curbside weight was 3,505 pounds. In contrast, the 2011 528i’s wheelbase reached 116.9 inches and the length grew by 2 inches. The 2011 version's body was about a half-inch wider than the 2010 model and it also had a wider stance, with the front track measuring 63 inches and the rear 64.1 inches. The new size meant the 2011 528i weighed about 300 pounds more than the 2011 528i.
Rob Wagner is a journalist with over 35 years experience reporting and editing for newspapers and magazines. His experience ranges from legal affairs reporting to covering the Middle East. He served stints as a newspaper and magazine editor in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Wagner attended California State University, Los Angeles, and has a degree in journalism.