BMW 545i (E60) Model 2005 - AZH-CARS

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BMW 545i (E60) Model 2005

For seven model years, the 4th-generation BMW 5-Series - BMW internal code E39 - won virtually universal praise from critics and customers alike. Remarkably, even during its final calendar year, BMW's "middle Series" defied convention by achieving higher U.S. sales than in the previous year. This doesn't "just happen" with a car line approaching the end of its production life; instead, it reflects the soundness of this Series' concept and the excellence of its execution.
Thus the 5-Series, as we've known it in recent years, was truly a tough act to follow. But BMW knows how to follow tough acts; the new 5-Series - internal code E60 - proves this once again. Launched as a 2004 model, the new Series broke new ground while remaining faithful to the tradition it has built since the first 5-Series models made their debut in 1972.

Excitingly new, yet true to the 5-Series tradition
Following the '02 debut of the new 7-Series and '03 launch of the Z4 Roadster, the new 5 takes BMW's "new look" to another vehicle category; yet upon the very first glance one knows that this is a BMW 5-Series.

Also in the BMW tradition, this is not merely a new look. For one thing, the new 5 is a roomier car: Riding on a wheelbase 2.3 inches longer than before, these new Sedans are 2.6 in. longer and 1.8 in. wider than their predecessors, as well as 1.3 in. taller. These dimensional gains result in greater rear seating space and comfort; entry into the rear seating compartment is easier, and there's fully 26% more trunk space.
And yet the new 5 preserves the trim look and driving feel, the maneuverability and agility that have always been a core value of the 5-Series. Contributing to this achievement is an all-aluminum front-end structure that allows the size increase, comfort and safety advances, and enhanced feature content with actual model-for-model decreases in overall vehicle weight.
Now moving into its second model year, the new Series continues in three models, each with its specific engine. The 525i Sedan ($41,995 including destination charge) is powered by a responsive and fuel-efficient 2.5-liter, 184-horsepower inline 6-cylinder unit that belies any thought of "entry-level" status. The 530i Sedan ($46,095) again offers a step up in 6-cylinder power (3.0 liters, 225 hp) and additional standard equipment over the 525i. And the BMW 545i Sedan ($56,495) derives its model designation from the remarkable Valvetronic engine, a 4.4-liter V8 delivering 325 hp.

Each model is available with a choice of 6-speed transmissions: manual, STEPTRONIC automatic and - for the 530i and 545i - a Sequential Manual Gearbox (SMG). Each is available with a wide range of optional Packages and stand-alone options, many of them new and innovative. And every new 5-Series offers, as either standard or optional equipment, exciting new technology - including the BMW 545i's Valvetronic engine, Active Roll Stabilization as part of each model's Sport Package, and Xenon Adaptive headlights (optional on 525i and 530i, standard on 545i). All three models come standard with Adaptive brakelights and an evolved iDrive driver/vehicle interface; all offer appealing options such as run-flat tires, a Head-Up Display, Active Cruise Control and BMW's unique Active Steering.

Under the aluminum hood: velvety inline 6-cylinder or V8 power
Each 5-Series model includes a powertrain that brings together exciting and effective new combinations and significantly advances BMW's state of the art.
The 525i and 530i are powered by 2.5- and 3.0-liter versions of the M54 inline
6-cylinder engine, a BMW hallmark as well as a never-ending source of critical praise and owner satisfaction. In its January '04 test of the 530i, Car and Driver declared this BMW engine "as ever, spectacularly smooth and spectacularly torquey" while according its quietness this left-handed compliment: "Our only quibble is that we can barely hear its rousing trill of an engine note. At full throttle it is now the quietest car in its class at 71 dBA."
Both of these "sixes" incorporate new fine-tuning of the intake and exhaust systems to enhance their response at low to medium speeds. The 525i engine delivers 184 hp, 175 lb-ft. of torque and a 0-60-mph time of 7.8 seconds with its standard 6-speed manual transmission, 8.2 sec. with the 6-speed automatic. With 225 hp and 214 lb-ft. of torque, the 530i achieves a 0-60-mph time of just 6.6 sec. with manual transmission, 6.9 with automatic.
Both these engines include many notable engineering features:
  • Inline 6-cylinder configuration, for outstanding smoothness and sound
  • Aluminum construction, contributing to both overall vehicle weight efficiency and BMW's typical optimum front/rear weight distribution
  • Dual overhead camshafts and four valves per cylinder
  • Chain camshaft drive, requiring no periodic replacement
  • Double VANOS steplessly variable valve timing
  • Hydraulic valve adjustment for consistently quiet operation and low maintenance
  • Electronic throttle system for smooth, precisely calibrated throttle action
  • Electronically controlled engine cooling, for precise and purposeful control of engine temperatures; contributes to fuel efficiency and heater effectiveness
  • ULEV II status - meeting Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle standards.
The BMW 545i is powered by BMW's advanced 4.4-liter N62 V8 engine, which delivers 325 hp. With the 6-speed manual transmission, official BMW data indicate a 0-60-mph time of just 5.7 sec.; Car and Driver recorded 5.5 sec. in its May '04 Short Take test. Again referring to BMW data, with the automatic the 545i comes within just a fraction of a stopwatch tick at 5.8 sec.
Equally remarkably, the BMW 545i achieves official EPA ratings of 17 mpg city/25 mpg highway with the manual transmission; 16/24 with SMG; and fully 18/26 with the 6-speed STEPTRONIC automatic. How BMW achieved such a combination of power and fuel economy is unique and fascinating:

Valvetronic: revolutionary "breathing" concept. Many engines now have variable valve timing, including all of BMW's. Some also vary valve lift. Valvetronic varies lift - but to a far greater, more fundamental degree than any other system. Indeed, engine breathing is controlled entirely by the valves, and the traditional throttle butterfly simply goes away.
The Valvetronic mechanism sits atop the intake valves on both of the V8's cylinder banks. Each of the engine's 32 valves is actuated as the camshaft lobe deflects a finger-type rocker arm. On the intake side, there is an added element between the cam lobe and rocker arm, an intermediate follower.
Upon contact by the camshaft lobe, this follower actuates the rocker arm and, in turn, the valve. The follower is held in place by an eccentric shaft that can be rotated by a small servo motor. This shaft, which rotates in response to the driver's accelerator-pedal movements, determines the intermediate follower's pivot point and thus varies the valve lift. The system's highlights:
  • Intake valves assume function of throttle. The driver's foot gives the commands; valve lift varies accordingly. At minimum lift, the engine is idling or decelerating; at maximum lift, it produces full power.
  • Greater efficiency. As a throttle closes, it imposes a restriction that incoming air must snake around. This causes so-called "pumping losses," which take an increasing portion of engine power in lower-speed driving. By eliminating the throttle and letting the valves control the breathing, Valvetronic essentially eliminates pumping losses.
  • More spontaneous engine response. Drivers are impressed by how spontaneously and quickly the engine responds to the accelerator pedal.
  • More power. Valve lift is tailored precisely to operating conditions, and is extra-high at the top end. This helps the N62 engine achieve high power.
  • Refined engine operation. In light-load driving, operation is especially smooth because of the relatively small valve lift.
  • Excellent cold starting. The small valve opening promotes effective vaporization of fuel, even when the engine is being started from cold.
  • No mechanical throttle linkage. With Valvetronic, "drive-by-wire" is even more natural than with a conventional throttle: Via the accelerator pedal, the driver's call for power is transmitted electronically to the eccentric shaft's electric servo motor.
  • Stepless variation of valve lift. Valve lift is varied continuously and smoothly all the way from minimum to maximum lift.
  • Lightning-fast system response. The system can vary lift all the way from minimum to maximum in just 300 milliseconds, or 0.3 sec. To achieve this, BMW developed a dedicated Valvetronic microprocessor, which networks with the 40-megahertz/32-bit primary engine computer.
  • Low friction, precision components. There are no "rubbing points" in the Valvetronic mechanism. Instead, low-friction rollers transmit the motion: from cam lobe to intermediate follower, from intermediate follower to rocker arm, from eccentric shaft to intermediate follower. The follower itself is a precision casting, machined to virtual perfection. To ensure quiet operation, zero valve clearance is maintained hydraulically.
Double VANOS
Responding to operating conditions and the driver's demands for power, Double VANOS rotates the intake and exhaust camshafts steplessly between "earliest" and "latest" valve timing. In combination with Valvetronic, this variable valve timing helps achieve new levels of performance, efficiency and general operational excellence.
Fully variable intake manifold: another major new technology. The 525i and 530i engines employ 2-stage intake manifolds, with a flap mechanism that switches between two paths for air entering the engine: one tuned for low- to medium-speed operation (improving torque and response), the other for high-speed operation (improving top-end power).
For the N62 engine, BMW engineers conceived a system with two intertwined helical elements which, rotated by an electric servo motor, vary the effective intake length steplessly. Like Valvetronic and stepless Double VANOS, this manifold concept eliminates traditional compromises to achieve truly optimum performance.
6-speed manual, all models
Enhances performance and active driving pleasure. Compared to the 5- and 6-speed manual gearboxes of the predecessor Series, it offers:
  • New, even more effective synchronization of shifting
  • Lighter, more pleasant feel as the shift lever is moved from gear to gear
  • Sportier shift action, via 10-mm (0.4-in.) shorter shift "throws" from neutral to each gear.
6-speed automatic, all models
As in all other current BMW models, this state-of-the-art transmission incorporates STEPTRONIC, with Manual and Sport modes. Its six speeds complement the engines' wide rpm range, facilitating a virtually seamless flow of power and providing a relaxed 6th gear for cruising at Interstate and freeway speeds.

6-speed Sequential Manual Gearbox (SMG), 530i and 545i
This is an electrohydraulically shifted, electronically controlled rendition of a 6-speed manual transmission, including an automatic clutch; as such it is an utterly different type of transmission from a conventional automatic such as the STEPTRONIC unit. There is no clutch pedal; the driver selects the desired mode (N, R, D) with a console-mounted selector lever, and can execute manual shifts via that lever or two "paddles" on the steering wheel. The fundamental advantages of SMG are that it fully preserves the performance of a manual transmission, yet facilitates both automated and very sporty driving.
Features and characteristics of the SMG driver interface include the following:
  • A Drive mode (D) in which shifting is automated
  • A Sequential mode (S) in which shifting is mostly driver-controlled
  • A Sport button on the console, which selects a Sport program
  • An instrument-panel display of the gear currently engaged and the operational range currently selected.
In D, shifts are automatic, and programmed according to how the driver is currently driving: More aggressive driving results in shift points at higher speeds. D is not to be interpreted as a substitute for the Drive range of a fully automatic transmission, but rather a convenient operational mode for those times when the driver wants ease of driving and is not primarily concerned with extracting maximum performance.
In the Sequential mode, operation is driver-initiated:
  • Tip lever rearward or push either steering column-mounted paddle forward = upshift
  • Tip lever forward or pull either steering column-mounted paddle backward = downshift
With the following exceptions:
  • If the driver takes the engine up to its rpm limit, SMG will automatically shift to the next higher gear.
  • Upon deceleration, as the engine comes down to approximately 1100 rpm, SMG selects the next lower gear. When the vehicle comes to a stop, SMG selects 1st gear automatically; upon moving off, however, the driver again controls the shifting.
Engaging the Sport program via the Sport button on the console influences shifting as follows:
  • In S, shifts occur more quickly (sharply).
  • In D, shifts occur not only more quickly, but at higher road speeds. This is parallel to the Sport mode of BMW automatic transmissions.
In the Sport program, throttle action is also "quicker"; that is, a given amount of movement at the accelerator pedal produces more engine response. An instrument-cluster display tells the driver which of the six speeds is currently engaged. In D, it also shows a "D."
Handling and riding comfort: once again advancing the state of the art
With its rigid structure, advanced aluminum suspension system and the fine-tuning at which BMW is famously capable, the 5-Series again advances BMW's unique combination of handling prowess and supple riding comfort. As always with new BMW vehicle generations, the chassis/body unit's structural rigidity has been further improved. The aluminum suspension is further evolved, and a revolutionary new steering system is offered optionally.
Aluminum front suspension, variable-ratio rack-and-pinion steering
The front suspension is of the double-pivot type, a unique BMW system that has proved its handling stability and response in upper-end BMWs such as the 7 and previous 5-Series. A further benefit derives from the reduced unsprung weight of aluminum, which optimizes the suspension's response to irregular road surfaces; this helps the suspension engineers achieve a supple ride in combination with precise, responsive and enjoyable handling.
Aluminum components include:
  • Unsprung
    • Both lower arms (two per side)
    • Steering knuckles
    • Strut tubes
  • Sprung
    • Spring pads
    • Subframe
    • Thrust plate (which reinforces the suspension system's attachment to the body/chassis unit)
    • Steering rack
Other aluminum components, though not part of the suspension, further contribute to overall weight savings: engine mounting brackets, transmission crossmember and mounting brackets, power-steering pump housing.
The 5-Series rack-and-pinion steering system has the special feature of variable ratio. Its rack's teeth are profiled to make the steering ratio become quicker as the wheel is turned outward from its center position. This fine-tunes the steering response according to the situation one is in, be it on a fast straightaway or maneuvering into a parking space.
Active Steering is a revolutionary new development that's included in the Sport Package for each model, and also newly available as a stand-alone option; it is described in the options & accessories section of this release.
Rear suspension system: careful evolution of BMW aluminum multi-link concept
As at the front, the new 5-Series shares its rear suspension concept with the 7-Series; this is BMW's highly sophisticated multi-link Integral system.
Here, in a continuation of existing 5-Series practice and sharing componentry with the current 7-Series, aluminum is again extensively employed. Because supple reaction of the suspension to bumps is especially critical for good road adhesion of the powered rear wheels, the benefits here are if anything more important than at the front. Aluminum components include:
  • Sprung
    • Subframe
    • Spring pads
  • Unsprung
    • All links of the 4-link Integral system
    • Shock-absorber tubes.
The aluminum subframe, which carries the entire rear suspension system and final drive (differential), is mounted to the main structure with four large rubber bushings that help absorb road shocks. The final drive unit is mounted to the subframe through its own rubber bushings. With these two stages of vibration and noise absorption between it and the body, the differential is acoustically decoupled from the body, minimizing any gear noise heard inside the vehicle.
Conventional anti-roll bars standard, Active Roll Stabilization optional
In standard form, all models have conventional anti-roll (stabilizer) bars, which are as always carefully calibrated for an optimum combination of response and stability. BMW's innovative Active Roll Stabilization (ARS), first introduced on the 7-Series, comes to the 5-Series as part of the Sport Package and makes for amazingly "flat" cornering; it is described in the options & accessories section of this release.
Ventilated disc brakes: more stopping power and new weight-saving technology
Compared to the already powerful and fade-resistant brakes of the predecessor Series, the brakes of each 5-Series model are generously dimensioned for powerful braking performance:
  • 525i - 310-mm diameter x 24-mm thickness at the front (12.2 x 0.94 in.); 320-mm x 20-mm rear brakes (12.6 x 0.79 in.).
  • 530i - 324 x 30-mm front brakes (12.8 x 1.18 in.); 320 x 20 rear brakes (12.6 x 0.79 in.) as on 525i.
  • 545i - 348 x 30-mm front brakes (13.7 x 1.18 in.); 345 x 24-mm rear brakes (13.6 x 0.94 in.).
All discs are ventilated. On the 6-cylinder (525i/530i) models, their cast-iron rotor construction has been optimized for a modest weight reduction. On the BMW 545i, an innovative weight-saving construction is employed.
In this aluminum/cast-iron construction, patented by BMW, the brake rotor consists of two components: the high-carbon cast-iron outer portion, which functions conventionally as the surface onto which the brake pads grip; and an aluminum "hat" in the center, which mounts the rotor to the vehicle. Advantages include:
  • Reduced unsprung weight, complementing the aluminum suspension system. Actual reductions are approximately 1 kg (2.2 lb.) at the front, 0.7 kg (1.5 lb.) at the rear - very significant in the scheme of things.
  • Reduced rotor deformation under hard braking, meaning less tendency of the brakes to vibrate when very hot, as when negotiating a steep mountain pass at speed.
All 5-Series front brake calipers are made of aluminum, which also reduce unsprung weight; the 525i and 530i have aluminum front and rear calipers. Thus in this respect too, BMW has maintained or extended its lead in reducing unsprung weight - a lead opened by the predecessor 5-Series that helped set new standards in combining top handling with amazing riding comfort.
Wheels and tires: upgraded all around, two choices for each model
Each model offers a choice of wheel-and-tire equipment: standard and Sport Package. Run-flat tires appear as part of all Sport Packages; new for '05 are 17-in. wheels and tires on the 525i, an upgrade from 2004's 16-in. equipment that brings the standard wheels and tires of all three models up to the same dimensional level
Run-flat tires with all Sport Packages
In their design and configuration, the self-supporting tires are distinguished primarily by their special sidewalls, which include specific inserts and highly heat-resistant rubber compounds. These features allow a deflated tire to maintain its essential shape and guidance characteristics for a considerable distance, so that when confronted with a flat the driver can continue on until reaching a convenient and safe place to have the tire repaired or replaced.
Flat Tire Monitor standard on all models
All models are equipped with a Flat Tire Monitor (FTM). Whenever tire pressure drops by 30% or more, the tire's rolling radius changes significantly; this means the wheel will rotate at a different speed from the other tires on the vehicle. FTM measures wheel rotation via the Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) system's wheel-speed sensors, recognizing any major deviation in wheel speed (and therefore tire pressure). Within a short time, the system triggers a pressure-loss signal via an indicator in the instrument cluster and an audible warning.
All models also come standard with a space-saver spare wheel/tire unit, which contributes to increased trunk space. Models equipped with run-flat tires retain the spare.
Dynamic Stability Control in its latest form
DSC appears in state-of-the-art form (version 8.0) in the 5-Series, incorporating programming refinements as well as the Dynamic Traction Control (DTC) function that first appeared in the 7-Series and is now included in the 3 and Z4 Series.
Activated by pressing the DSC console switch briefly, DTC improves utilization of available road traction under specific conditions:
  • on sand, gravel, deep snow or packed snow
  • climbing hills with deep or packed snow
  • when there is deep snow on only one side of the road
  • when driving with tire chains.
With DTC selected, engine intervention is de-activated at low speeds, leaving only the individual wheel brakes to control wheelspin. When the vehicle reaches a speed of approximately 43 mph, normal DSC operation is re-instated until speed once again drops below this threshold. A longer push of the DSC button de-activates all DSC functions except antilock braking.
The look: esthetics and function in harmony
The new 5-Series body is tightly dimensioned, with short overhangs, lean-forward dynamics and compact overall size. This is 5-Series tradition - the unique combination of sedan practicality and BMW sportiness that has characterized the Series through its previous four generations.
If the concept is traditional, the "design language" is new; though by no means a resized version of either, the new 5 is clearly consistent with BMW's other recent new designs, moving decisively into the future.
Starting at the front: The "kidney" grilles, a strong link to BMW tradition, are up-front and prominent, surrounded by painted surfaces and flanked by "quad" headlights (with BMW's popular luminous rings) under break-resistant clear covers. The body sides are ultra-clean, deriving esthetic interest not from multiple lines and trim but from a complex interplay of concave and convex surfaces.
Deeply wrapped-around lighting units at the front and rear not only add visual interest, but perform their functional duties admirably. The turn signals have clear lenses front and rear; the front parking lights are a thin, wedge-shaped "eyebrow" of amber LEDs. Window areas are generous and incorporate the traditional BMW "reverse kink" in the rear door window, while allowing for beefy roof pillars that contribute to meeting customers' expectations of excellent accident protection.
At the rear, the 5-Series expresses BMW's contemporary trunklid concept - featuring a high lid for increased cargo capacity and excellent aerodynamics - with a flowing integration into the silhouette and attractive, highly functional taillight wraparounds.
Functional innovation: Adaptive brakelights
Adaptive brakelights made their world debut on the 7-Series; in the meantime they've appeared on all other BMW Series.
There are two taillight segments per side. In normal braking, these same two segments illuminate more brightly. Under heavy braking or anytime the ABS goes into action, round segments at the inboard side of each taillight unit illuminate to enlarge the total brakelight area. Following drivers are thus alerted to sharp braking by the BMW driver.
Aluminum/steel construction: More than just the look is innovative
By employing aluminum for the entire front end - structure as well as skin - BMW's body engineers have pared approximately 44 lb. off the body/chassis shell's weight while simultaneously improving its strength and occupant protection. This is the most extensive use ever of structure-and-skin aluminum in a regular-production BMW: The 7-Series employs aluminum for its hood and front fenders, and the Z8 Roadster (whose production was completed in '03) was all-aluminum but built in very small quantities.
Building the Z8 and aluminum body components for other current models has given BMW considerable experience with this weight-saving, effectively energy-absorbing material. Bringing structural steel and aluminum components together posed new challenges, especially with regard to maintaining BMW's excellent corrosion resistance: if steel and aluminum are directly joined, galvanic action can cause corrosion at the junctions.
According to the materials being joined, three types of joints appear in the main structure:
  • Aluminum-aluminum: high-tech adhesives, rivets, laser welding
  • Aluminum-steel: high-tech adhesives, rivets
  • Spot welding, gas welding.
As is customary at BMW, nearly all steel panels are galvanized. Aluminum components receive a titanium/zircon coating that hinders oxidation and ensures clean, smooth surfaces for bonding with adhesives.
Once fully constructed, the body structure is dipped in a phosphate bath and then in a cathodic primer. Even in such immersion this primer may not reach every last nook and cranny, so all contact points between aluminum and steel are bonded together with the adhesive fully covering the joint - indeed, protruding at least 1 mm outside the joint. Thus direct contact between the aluminum and steel is completely avoided. Altogether, aluminum accounts for approximately 15% of the body/chassis structure.
Other weight-reducing techniques flowed into the new 5's body engineering. All four wheelwells incorporate textile inserts that eliminate the need for separate sound insulation, saving about 35% on weight in this area. The underbody is not only smoother than ever (for aerodynamics) but some 40% lighter, thanks to a new protective cladding material called Superlite. All models have an aerodynamic drag coefficient of 0.29, as compared to 0.29-0.31 for the various predecessor models.
BMW of North America schools personnel at the body shops of its BMW Centers so that accident damage to the aluminum structure and skin can be repaired competently throughout the U.S.
The cabin: space, advanced technology and appealing new materials
More space, particularly for rear-seat passengers, is an important facet of the new 5-Series interior:
  • Front-seat occupants enjoy 0.5 in. more shoulder room and 0.3 in. more head room than in the predecessor models.
  • Rear-seat passengers have 1.3 in. more shoulder room, 0.7 in. more head room and 1.8 in. more leg room at their disposal.
  • Trunk volume is up fully 26% according to EPA measurements.
Yet greater space for people and cargo is only one aspect of the new cabin. Its design is just as fresh as that of the exterior, and as always with BMW there is a wealth of new, thoughtful ideas to make the going even more comfortable, pleasant and esthetically satisfying than in the new 5's estimable predecessor.
Cockpit design: flowing lines, tasteful color schemes
The dash design is dominated by a "double wave" theme in two portions: one over the instrument cluster, defining the driver's area; and another that begins over the dash center and sweeps toward the right side. Maintaining an important BMW tradition, the instrument cluster is dominated by two main dials for the speedometer and tachometer; analog fuel and fuel-economy gauges appear at the bottom of these dials. The tachometer includes a variable warning segment: Its "caution" band extends downward to 4200 rpm when the engine is cold, then gradually increases the rpm limit to normal as the engine warms up.
At dash center is the display for the evolved iDrive control system, with ventilation outlets and "hard" climate controls below it, and basic audio controls farther down. Both front cupholders are positioned to the right of the center console, with the driver's holder swinging out to the left when opened.
A three-spoke steering steering wheel is standard in all models. Multi-function controls - including two switches that can be programmed by the driver to perform different functions - are conveniently arrayed on the wide horizontal spokes; the wheel incorporates quick-moving tilt/telescopic power adjustment and automatic tilt-up for ease of exit and entry.
The evolved iDrive system
Base equipment in all U.S. models is a simplified version of the iDrive system first seen in the 7-Series, with a 6.5-in. color monitor displaying 256 colors at 400 x 240-pixel resolution. Its controller provides four menu directions: Communication, Car Data, Entertainment and Climate.
iDrive Displays and control functions have been refined and optimized. There is an aluminum controller knob on the console, accessed equally conveniently by the driver and front passenger; this is complemented by a Menu button, which when pressed recalls the main menu or previous menu, depending upon the function being performed. A fifth " i " menu, not indicated on the main menu, is reached by pressing the controller while in the main menu; this allows users to choose settings and even turn off the monitor.
An optional GPS Navigation System, described under options, substitutes a larger monitor and includes additional iDrive functions.
Refined automatic climate control
All U.S. models come standard with a system which achieves even stronger heating and air-conditioning performance than its already capable predecessor, suited to the demands of the U.S. market. The system includes the following features:
  • Separate left/right temperature controls
  • Separate left/right air-distribution controls (in overriding automatic control, the driver and passenger can select their individual preferences).
  • Inclusion of front footwells in left/right separation
  • Variable rear-compartment ventilation and heating
  • Heat at Rest (allows heating interior for a limited time with the engine off)
  • Automatic ventilation (allows programming of interior ventilation during periods when the vehicle is standing)
  • Active-charcoal microfilter ventilation
  • Bi-directional solar sensor for front compartment; takes into account the direction of solar heat in determining interior cooling
  • Storage of individual users' climate settings in Vehicle and Key Memory System
  • Maximum-a/c setting for rapid cool-down at a single touch of a button
  • Automatic recirculation control, with specific sensing capability for diesel exhaust
  • Rotary temperature and blower-speed controls
  • Humidity control - avoids over-dehumidification in a/c operation
  • Climate-controlled console storage compartment
  • Multiple defroster outlets to accommodate optional Head-up Display.
A choice of audio systems
Two audio systems are offered: standard and the optional Premium Sound Package, which includes a 6-disc CD-changer and Logic 7 Surround Sound simulation; for details see options.
The standard AM/FM/CD system includes 10 speakers, including two subwoofers optimally positioned at the bases of the B-pillars; this placement utilizes cavities in the body structure, a principle patented by BMW. Continuing in enhanced form is a reception-enhancing diversity antenna system; its amplifier has been moved to a more ideal position, closer to the antenna circuits. A fin-type roof-antenna housing serves the available phone system, Navigation System and SIRIUS Satellite Radio.
The 6-disc CD changer, available separately or as part of the Premium Sound Package, is positioned at the forward end of the glove compartment.
Standard telematics and BMW Assist
Formerly included with the optional Navigation system, these amenities are now standard in all 5-Series models. The SOS (Emergency) button is in the roof console; when it is activated, the hardware transmits the vehicle's location (via standard GPS technology) and the customer's phone number, as well as vehicle information, to the BMW Response Center for assistance.
Upholstery, trim and seating: appealing choices
The 6-cylinder models 525i and 530i come standard with leatherette upholstery; luxurious Dakota leather is standard in the V8 545i models and optional in the 525i and 530i. Dark Poplar wood trim is now standard in all models; an alternative wood finish, the distinctive gray Maple Anthracite, is available at no extra cost.
As before, 10-way power front seats are standard in all models, as is a memory system for the driver's seat, steering wheel and exterior mirrors. Seating options include 4-way power lumbar support (standard in 530i and 545i, optional in 525i), sport front seats (Sport Packages) and 20-way Comfort seats as well as heated front and rear seats. For details on availability, see options.
Extensive storage space is provided throughout the interior. Between the front seats is a two-part center console compartment; its upper portion can accommodate a phone handset, and the lower part is climate-controlled. A padded lid on the left side is adjustable fore-aft to give the driver two armrest positions.
The rear seat is offered in standard and split-folding forms, the latter released from inside the trunk for effective security. The trunk can accommodate four golfbags laterally, and employs single-link tubular hinges that eliminate any intrusion into the trunk space.
Safety and security: meaningful evolution of an award-winning concept
The 1997-2003 5-Series was widely recognized for its excellent occupant protection; it pioneered BMW's highly effective Head Protection System for front-seat occupants. For the new 5-Series, BMW's Research and Engineering Center in Munich, Germany carefully evolved the line's established safety concept.
Both front-impact airbags, for example, have been further developed to optimize their 2-stage, accident-severity-dependent deployment characteristics, their inflated shape, and their interaction with surrounding surfaces and components.
Front and rear Head Protection System newly engineered
The new Series adopts AHPS II, the integrated front-rear Advanced Head Protection System. AHPS II extends all the way from the A-pillar to the C-pillar, with a "sail" connecting the inflatable tube to the roof structure between these two end points. The sail is of airbag-type material; between it and the long inflatable tube itself, essentially all body-side and side-window areas likely to be impacted by an occupant's head are covered by the system.
Active Head Restraints available for front-seat occupants
Included with the optional 20-way Comfort front seats, this feature enhances protection from neck injuries in rear-end impacts. Via two additional sensors, the front head restraints pivot forward into close proximity with the driver's and front passenger's heads; thus if they prefer, occupants can adjust the head restraints away from direct contact with their heads during normal vehicle use, yet in the case of a rear-end impact gain optimum protection.
Ultra-sensitive "satellite" side-impact sensors
By sensing pressure change (rather than deformation) within the door structure, these sensors trigger deployment very early in a side impact, yet still minimize the chance of an unwanted deployment.
Interlocking door anchoring system
This familiar BMW feature employs diagonally positioned aluminum reinforcing bars in each door to strengthen the body side. At the aft end of each bar is a hook-like member that, in the event of a serious side impact, hooks into the body as the door deforms. The system is designed so that after most impacts, elastic snap-back releases the hook and the doors can be opened.
Intelligent Safety and Information System (ISIS)
An overall system for controlling the vehicle's safety systems and devices. ISIS is a decentralized system, with an overall Safety Gateway Module (SGM) and seven subordinate control units, each with a microprocessor of its own. This multiplicity of units provides a redundancy that helps preserve system reliability even when portions of the system might be damaged by accident forces. In interaction with the main and subordinate units, ISIS employs fully 14 sensors, which together achieve remarkable "tailoring" of the deployment of airbags, Battery Safety Terminal and safety-belt tensioners to actual accident circumstances.
Supporting the ultra-sophisticated electronic control scheme itself, fiber-optic cables are not susceptible to extraneous electromagnetic disturbances. System software can be updated over the life of the vehicle.
Options: an appealing array of Packages and individual choices
The range of factory options and BMW Center-installed accessories is multi-faceted. Some options, like the Premium and Cold Weather Packages and the stand-alone leather option for the 6-cylinder models, are continuations of familiar 5-Series offerings. Others, such as Active Steering and Active Cruise Control, arrived with the new 5-Series in 2004.
Premium Package (525i and 530i)
Adds to the 6-cylinder models features that are standard in the V8 BMW 545i:
  • Dakota leather upholstery, a highly luxurious leather grade.
  • Ambient Light Package, consisting of LED ground lighting in the exterior mirror housings; illumination at interior door handles and door storage bins; front footwell lighting; exit/entry lighting in rear door panels (front standard); additional trunk lighting.
  • 4-way power lumbar support for the front seats (525i Package only; newly standard in 530i)
  • Auto-dimming exterior and interior mirrors
  • BMW Universal Transceiver, with three functions for operating garage doors and other external devices.
Sport Package
Essentially the same for all models but with different wheel-and-tire equipment for each models. Includes some of the Series' most exciting new technology.
  • Active Steering. Exclusive to BMW in the U.S. market, this remarkable feature electromechanically varies the steering ratio on the basis of vehicle speed and other driving conditions. The variation in steering ratio is much greater than is achievable by purely mechanical means like that which is standard on the 5 - so great, in fact, that steering-wheel movements required in parking maneuvers, U-turns and sharp low-speed corners are very significantly reduced. This results in greater convenience, comfort and agility; controls located on the steering wheel can be operated more easily and naturally while the driver is steering. Other benefits include:
    • - Further optimized driving dynamics. Measures many factors of operating conditions and varies the steering ratio to optimize dynamics.
    • - Vehicle stabilization. Can intervene in situations that would normally reduce the vehicle's stability. Example: braking when the vehicle is moving on a surface with uneven traction, such as pavement on one side and packed snow on the other.
    • - Active Steering employs an auxiliary planetary gearbox, at the bottom of the steering column, to increase the amount of rotation there relative to the driver's turning of the steering wheel. Electrically driven, this gearbox can vary the overall steering ratio between 10:1 and 18:1.
  • Servotronic power assist. Vehicle-speed-sensitive instead of the 5's standard engine-speed-sensitive assist - an essential feature because of the very "quick" steering at lower speeds.
  • Active Roll Stabilization. Replaces conventional anti-roll (stabilizer) bars with active bars, which are twisted by hydraulic actuators to achieve amazingly "flat" cornering.
  • Sport suspension calibration. This more traditional BMW Sport Package feature means firmer springs and shock absorbers, plus 15-mm (0.6-in.) lower ride height.
  • Sporty wheels and run-flat performance tires. Described in detail elsewhere in this text; unique wheel design for each model and W-rated tires in 17-in. sizes for the 525i, 18-in. for the 530i and 18-in. with front/rear differentiated sizes for the 545i.
  • Satin Chrome Shadowline exterior trim. All-black trim around the side windows replaces the standard black-plus-chrome treatment.
  • 12-way power front sport seats, adding power-adjustable thigh support and specially contoured seat cushions and backrests. Can now be combined with the available 4-way power lumbar support.
The Cold Weather Package for all models includes:
  • High-intensity headlight cleaning system with new retracting jets
  • Heated front seats with new variable heating balance between the seat cushions and backrests, controlled via the iDrive monitor.
  • Heated steering wheel.
Premium Sound Package
A significant step up from the already excellent standard audio equipment, including:
  • Logic 7 audio system. Includes increased audio power, 13 speakers vs. the standard 10, even higher-caliber speakers throughout, Digital Sound Processing and Surround Sound simulation.
  • 6-disc CD changer, magazine-type, in the glove compartment.
Active Steering
Newly available as a stand-alone option for customers who desire this feature but not the Sport Package.
Active Cruise Control (all models)
Employing a radar sensor at the front of the vehicle, ACC senses the speed of vehicles traveling ahead, and adjusts speed to maintain a safe following distance.
When the road is clear, operation is essentially as with the standard cruise control, though with certain specific nuances:
  • The current speed is captured by tipping the cruise-control stalk forward or rearward. Thereafter, each time the stalk is tipped forward or rearward, the set speed is increased or decreased by 5 mph.
  • The driver can also adjust the set speed (upward only) in increments of 1 mph by pressing inward on the slider button at the left end of the stalk. When cruise control has been cancelled (by braking, for example), this button is used to resume.
  • The set speed is indicated by an arrow at the speedometer scale and a digital display in the instrument's center field.
When traffic is encountered ahead, ACC's special capabilities come into play:
  • The driver can choose from four following distances by adjusting the rotary dial on the control stalk. Via four bars below the vehicle icon in the speedometer dial, the chosen following distance is displayed briefly after selection (more bars = greater distance).
  • When the radar sensor detects a vehicle ahead, the "vehicle" icon in the speedometer dial illuminates. ACC adjusts the BMW driver's speed to maintain the selected following distance.
  • In adjusting vehicle speed, ACC may apply the brakes. It may also apply the brakes when the driver changes the set speed abruptly. If the brake application causes DSC or ABS to activate, a specific warning indicator in the dial face illuminates.
  • When a vehicle pulls into the BMW driver's lane, ACC recognizes that vehicle only after it has fully moved into the lane. If the vehicle cuts suddenly into the lane, ACC may not be able to adjust speed quickly enough, in which case the vehicle icon is surrounded by a blinking triangular warning signal. ACC does not react to stationary vehicles or other objects ahead.
  • When traffic ahead clears, ACC automatically resumes the previously set cruising speed.
ACC can also reduce vehicle speed when a curve is entered at too high a speed. However, the system does not "look ahead" to curves, so any such adjustment occurs only after the curve is entered. In sharp curves, ACC may react briefly to oncoming vehicles; the driver can cancel this action by stepping on the accelerator.
Park Distance Control (optional 525i and 530i, newly standard on 545i)
Employing four ultrasonic sensors each in the front and rear bumpers to warn the driver when the vehicle is approaching obstacles that may not be visible to the driver.
Xenon Adaptive headlights with dynamic auto-leveling (optional 525i and 530i, standard 545i)
Adaptive Light Control (ALC) literally "aims" at making night driving safer. With the headlight switch in its Automatic position, as soon as the vehicle is moving forward, the outboard lights steer with the front wheels, guided by an electronic control system and swiveled by small servo motors. The system responds not simplistically to the steering angle, but also to vehicle speed and the "yaw rate," or the rate at which the vehicle's direction is changing. The driver benefits from enhanced night vision around corners and curves. If the vehicle is stationary or backing up, the feature is inactive.
The Xenon lights include dynamic auto-leveling, which corrects the lights' aim not only for loads carried in the vehicle, but even for transitory acceleration and braking.
Head-up Display (all models; requires Navigation System)
Displays important information in color on a 6- x 3-in. field in the windshield. A virtual image is projected from the top of the instrument panel, appearing approximately in line with the end of the hood in the driver's line of sight so that the driver can observe the information with essentially no diversion of attention from the road ahead. Via the iDrive monitor and controller, the driver decides which information is to be displayed and the brightness of the display; the display can be de-activated via a switch on the instrument panel.
Information of the following categories can be displayed:
  • Check Control (vehicle monitor system) indications, prioritized according to their urgency
  • Navigation instructions
  • Programmed speed of cruise control.
In addition to the basic brightness selection, the display's brightness is also automatically regulated according to ambient light and moisture conditions via the sensors that govern the automatic headlight control and rain-sensing wipers. Settings chosen by the driver are re-captured by the Vehicle and Key Memory when that individual user unlocks the car.
Maple Anthracite wood trim (all models)
With Dark Poplar wood interior trim now standard in all models, this distinctive gray-tone wood is available at no extra cost.
20-way front Comfort seats (all models)
Described earlier, these seats incorporate 20-way power adjustment and memory for both driver and passenger. In the 525i and 530i, they require leather upholstery.
Split folding rear seats and ski bag (all models)
The seats are split 60% left/40% right; the center-positioned ski pass-through and bag are part of the 60% segment.
Rear-seat heating (all models; requires Cold Weather Package and leather upholstery)
3-stage/2-zone heating.
Dakota leather
This upholstery is also available as a stand-alone option for 525i and 530i models not equipped with the Premium Package.
BMW On-board Navigation System (all models)
Vehicles with this option get an iDrive version with a larger (8.8-in.) monitor, a controller incorporating Force Feedback for enhanced tactile feel, and other distinctive features. One such feature is BMW's Voice Command System, which can be used to control the -
  • Available phone system, including phone book
  • Address book
  • Navigation System
  • Short Message System (SMS)
  • BMW Assist
  • Audio system
  • Climate control.
SIRIUS Satellite Radio (all models)
Sirius beams programming to satellites orbiting the earth; Sirius-equipped vehicles receive the programming. Except where reception is physically blocked, users can enjoy the same programs anywhere in the continental U.S. Includes 65 original channels of commercial-free music of virtually every genre; 50 sports, news and entertainment channels; and live NFL and NHL games. Customer activation is necessary and a monthly fee applies. Also optional is factory vehicle preparation so that the SIRIUS system can be installed later by a BMW center.
Power rear sunshade and manual rear side-window sunshades (all models)
The rear-window shade is controlled from a console switch; dual-segment side-window shades cover the lowerable door windows and the fixed quarter panes.
Rear-seat side-impact airbags (all models) are offered as an option so that customers may make the choice. This option also includes automatic tensioners on the rear outboard safety belts.
BMW Cellular Phone System (all models)
A BMW center-installed cradle accommodates any Motorola V60c phone, or the customer can acquire a BMW-specific version of the V60c whose functionality BMW guarantees. Vehicles are appropriately pre-wired at the start of production; actual phone-system installation is relatively simple.
Like all current models, each 5-Series vehicle is covered by BMW's 4-year/50,000-mile limited warranty - and continues to come with a standard 4-year/50,000-mile Full Maintenance Program for customer convenience, peace of mind and economic benefit.
Performance with a conscience

BMW strives to produce its motor vehicles and other products with the utmost attention to environmental compatibility and protection. Integrated into the design and development of BMW automobiles are such criteria as resource efficiency and emission control in production; environmentally responsible selection of materials; recyclability during production and within the vehicle; elimination of CFCs and hazardous materials in production; and continuing research into environmentally friendly automotive power sources. Tangible results of these efforts include the recycling of bumper cladding into other vehicle components; water-based paint color coats and powder clear coats; near-future availability of hydrogen-powered models; and various design and engineering elements that help make BMWs easier to dismantle at the end of their service life.