With a heritage stretching over 50 years, the transcendent BMW 5 Series has come to epitomise style, elegance and driving performance in the executive sedan category.
As we celebrate the debut of the 8th-generation (G60) BMW 5 Series, which introduces a fully electric variant for the first time, let's take a look back at all generations of the ultimate business sedan.
Also read: All-new G60 2023 BMW 5 Series and i5 revealed - MHEV, PHEV, EV, up to 601 PS/820 Nm
First Generation (1972-1981) - E12
The first-generation E12 BMW 5 Series introduced the iconic design language and the new type model designation (520, 525...) that set the standard for the series. Replacing the Neue Klasse (New Class) sedans of the sixties, the E12 introduced a new range of engines which included a fuel-injected inline-six and featured advanced technologies like four-wheel disc brakes and independent suspension.
Second Generation (1981-1988) - E28
The second-generation 5 Series, known as the E28, showcased advancements in aerodynamics and introduced several new engine options, including the potent 258 PS / 330 Nm M535i. It also introduced innovations like onboard computers, ABS and the driver-focussed dashboard layout - a design feature that carries on today.
Third Generation (1988-1996) - E34
If the E28 set the standard, it was the E34 that took the 5 Series to the world. The E34 also had a sleeker design and brought significant improvements in performance, comfort, and safety technology such as stability control and traction control. Engine options widened to include a V8 option, and for the first time, an M5 model with a manic 315 PS / 360 Nm 3.6-litre inline-six engine.
Also read: Buying a used modern BMW? They may be more reliable than you think
Fourth Generation (1995-2003) - E39
The fourth-generation 5 Series, known as the E39, was renowned for its sporty handling and refined driving experience. It featured a wider body, improved aerodynamics, and advanced suspension systems. The E39 also introduced a range of new engines, including a diesel variant, and a supercar rivalling 400 PS / 500 Nm V8 engine in the M5 variant.
Also read: RM 15k buys you the best BMW 5 Series, the E39. How much to maintain and repair?
Fifth Generation (2003-2010) - E60
The fifth-generation 5 Series, known as the E60, marked a styling departure from its predecessors due to its controversial "flame surfacing" design language. However, it went on to become one of the most successful 5 Series generations and introduced technologies such as iDrive, active steering and for the first and only time, a 500 PS / 520 Nm 5.0-litre V10 engine in the M5.
Also read: Used E60 BMW 5 Series for under RM 35k. Common problems and how much to repair?
Sixth Generation (2010-2016) - F10
The sixth-generation F10 5 Series, emphasized luxury, refinement and a return to more classical design traits. The F10 introduced a new generation of downsized turbocharged engines, including a hybrid option and technologies like night vision, lane departure warning, and automatic parking assistance. The M5 also received its first turbocharged engine, the 560 PS / 648 Nm 'S63' 4.0-litre V8.
Also read: Used F10 BMW 5-Series - An easy way up executive alley from RM 52k? What to look out for and how much to repair
Seventh Generation (2016-2023) - G30
The G30 5 Series took a much broader approach to combine performance, efficiency and technology. It featured a lighter construction, improved fuel efficiency, and powerful engines, including new plug-in hybrid variants. The G30 offered advanced driver-assistance systems, a digital instrument cluster, and a gesture-controlled infotainment system. Further fettling of the S63 V8 boosted power to 636 PS / 750 Nm in the most powerful M5 CS version.
Each iteration of the 5 Series brought its own advancements in performance, technology, and design, maintaining the series' reputation as a benchmark for luxury sports sedans.
Now in its eighth generation, will the G60 5 Series continue to set the benchmark in the new era of electrification and connectivity? When for the first time, it will offer an electrified i5 variant as the flagship of the range... time will tell.