The inclination when considering the virtues of a fair-sized car equipped with a small engine is to approach it with diminished expectations as to the fun-to-drive quotient, and the hopes that the fuel economy numbers will somehow make up for it. But no such tradeoffs are required for the 2014 BMW 528i; this is a car that is stylish, solid and surprisingly sporty.
The car looks good both sitting still and driving down the road, and feels solid, both in the quality of materials and construction as well in how it feels ‘planted’ on the road. The surprising sporty aspect arrives courtesy of the 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine under the hood. It produces a modest 240 horsepower, but, coupled to the BMW 8-speed automatic transmission, it pulls strongly when desired, shifts so smoothly you can’t even feel it, and cruises economically the rest of the time. EPA ratings are 23 mpg City and 34 mpg Highway, making it the most fuel-efficient 5 Series ever sold in the U.S.
And the BMW Driving Dynamics system is standard equipment, so a button on the center console offers a choice of Eco-Pro economy mode, Comfort mode or Sport mode. And each is clearly different from the other.
In addition to the mild styling changes to all 5 Series for 2014, our test car was equipped with the M Sport package which includes aerodynamic bodywork, special alloy wheels and a nice, fat racing-style steering wheel. And the Prestige package option includes all the amenities, including keyless entry and the new touchpad surface for the iDrive controller that lets you ‘write’ numbers and letters for the navigation system, rather than having to hunt for them on a menu.
The BMW 5 Series, now in its sixth generation, has been a best-selling BMW model, both in the U.S. and globally, and for this year changes include a ‘freshening’ of the styling, standard navigation system, standard Adaptive Xenon headlights and an MSRP of $50,425. A wide variety of 5 Series are offered, with 6- and 8-cylinder engines, diesel engines, hybrid powertrains, rear- and all-wheel drive and Sedan and GT body styles.
The 528i is the sort of under-the-radar model, but given its virtues, it deserves – and will probably achieve – a higher profile as drivers come to expect from BMW not just a world-class driving experience, but a fuel-efficient one as well.
Stop by and see us in West Palm Beach, or visit our other BMW dealership in South Florida, for a closer look at the 5 series and all of our other available BMW models.