The BMW 5 Series has always set the benchmark in the midsize luxury sedan segment. This is mainly due to the fact that it manages to combine comfort and class-leading sportiness in one package. Basically, the 5 Series is multiple things to multiple people. Receiving a facelift in 2021, this new 2022 BMW 530i M Sport costs less whilst having more features, thanks to one unlikely source–Malaysia. Because of that, the 5 Series is even harder to beat, even if it’s missing one important aspect that I look for in any modern car nowadays.
For this mid-cycle facelift, the BMW 5 Series gains a new front and rear end. The adaptive LED headlights have been reshaped, which is complemented by a slightly enlarged grille and a new front bumper design. Likewise, the rear end gets new graphics for the LED taillights along with a new rear bumper. With this model being the BMW 530i M Sport, the exterior bits are extra sporty compared to the base 520i Luxury Line, such as the bumpers, blacked-out window trim, and grille. It even gets a nice set of 19-inch alloys with M Sport brakes inside those wheels.
Overall, the facelift has done wonders to the BMW 5 Series, and even more so for this M Sport model. I’d even go as far as saying as this is the most handsome midsize luxury sedan you can buy right now. It manages to retain the classic BMW proportions as opposed to the brand’s newer models with ostentatiously-large grilles.
As for the interior, the aesthetic upgrades are minor. Despite costing less, the interior surfaces are now mostly wrapped in full-grain leather or synthetic leather in the case of the dashboard–which is an upgrade compared to the already plush soft-touch plastics of the pre-facelift 5 Series. Even when you go down the doors and dash, there’s no ounce of hard, scratch plastics to be felt. With this being the M Sport model, you get aluminum trims as opposed to the Luxury Line’s open-pore wood. Combined with the black headlining, black leather seats, blue stitching details, and the M tri-color theme dotted around the cabin, the overall vibe is indeed very sporty.
Equally sporty is its driving position, which is one of my favorites in the segment. And because this is the M Sport model, you also get M Sport seats, which offer an increased range of adjustment compared to the Luxury Line. Also welcome inside are the hard buttons which will always be better than migrating everything into the touch screen. This is an interior that has top-notch ergonomics, and it’s very BMW indeed in the execution–especially with regard to the new cabin tech that it has.
Features and Infotainment
The 5 Series is still one of those Bimmers who managed to have just the right amount of tech without being too gimmicky. That begins with the standard Live Cockpit Professional digital gauges that work seamlessly with iDrive 7–my favorite infotainment system in the industry. This same infotainment system graces the dashboards of the X7, outgoing 7 Series, and a host of other BMWs. The best part of the infotainment has and is always been its rotary controller knob, which will always be better than touch screens (though you can operate it via that manner, too). While a Harman Kardon sound system along with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, wireless charging isn’t, which meant I still relied on the USB ports since these features drain the battery easily.
Other noteworthy interior features include the soft-closing doors–which means you don’t have to slam them shut, and also gesture control for the infotainment, which is perhaps the only gimmicky aspect of the 5 Series. There’s also ambient lighting to set the mood, as well as BMW’s Intelligent Personal Assistant baked right into iDrive 7. It works well enough, though it’s still not as good as Google Assistant or Apple’s Siri.
Space and Practicality
It is a given that being a midsize sedan, the BMW 5 Series offers plenty of space, and that’s indeed the case. There’s a good amount of room on all two rows, though the rear center passenger has to deal with the transmission tunnel of this rear-wheel drive (RWD) luxury sedan. It’s also wide enough to accommodate three adults with enough shoulder room for everyone. Oh, and you have to remember that the BMW 5 Series is meant to be driven, not for you to be driven in, so in terms of rear seat amenities, you only get rear sunshades, two-zone climate control, and two USB-C ports. No power-adjustable rear seats in here just like in a Lexus ES.
Should you need to use the trunk, there are 530 liters on offer, which is exactly what you would expect in a car like this. There’s also a hands-free tailgate if lifting the trunk lid is already too much of a chore for you.
What we’re driving here is the 2022 BMW 530i M Sport, which means it gets an uprated version of the 520i Luxury Line’s 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbo gasoline engine. In this case, it produces 252 hp and 350 Nm of torque. In typical BMW fashion, this drives the rear wheels via a ZF 8-speed automatic. If there’s one thing that BMW’s really good at, that would be creating excellent powertrains.
Whatever the rev range, the BMW 530i M Sport offers plenty of pulling power. There’s not much in the way of turbo lag, either, which results in responsive acceleration whether it’s from a standstill or when overtaking. You know that an engine or transmission is well engineered if it simply operates in the background without making itself felt, and that’s the case with the 5 Series–even if it’s the 520i Luxury Line.
But with the added poke of the 530i M Sport, this midsize luxury sedan hits the century mark in just 6.1 seconds, and it can reach all the way to a top speed of 250 kph. While most people will be content with the 520i, this 530i is for those who want peak performance out of their 5 Series without spending M5 Competition money.
Sportiness has always been a strong suit of the 5 Series–even without the M Sport package, yet this model benefits from lowered, stiffened M Sport suspension, which reduces body roll even further. The steering, while excellent in terms of precision and response, doesn’t offer that much in terms of feedback. Still, the 5 Series is after all a more mature car compared to the 3 Series, so that’s a given. While this model also benefits from M Sport brakes, I did not notice that much of a difference in stopping power compared to the 520i Luxury Line, which is already excellent, to begin with.
The best part about the BMW 5 Series is if you want things to be settled down, this car is equally sublime as a long-distance cruiser. The sound insulation and stability of a German luxury car will always be unparalleled, even next to the Lexus ES. The 8-speed auto also comes with paddle shifters, but even during spirited drives, barely used it since BMW tunes their transmissions so well, that it almost always gives you the correct gear all the time. That’s even the case even on highway drives, as the transmission and engine simply settle into the background.
This is also a great time to talk about its fuel economy because even if this luxury sedan has so much power, I managed to have an excellent fuel economy figure of 10.5 to 11 km/l, which is just a 1 km/l penalty over the 520i Luxury Line. That’s a compromise I’m willing to accept. Likewise to its M Sport suspension, which does make the ride a little bit stiffer, but it’s not what you would consider as matagtag by any means.
So the BMW 530i M Sport seems to be flawlessly perfect in terms of the driving experience, but there’s one aspect that’s already too hard to ignore at this point–its lack of any advanced driver-assistance tech. Apart from BMW Philippines’ usual insistence on its Reversing Assistant and Parking Assistant features, it doesn’t come with adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, blind spot warning, or even at the very least, automatic emergency braking.
There’s no denying that the BMW 530i M Sport continues to be the benchmark in the segment in so many respects–especially with regard to the driving experience. It is, after all, marketed as The Ultimate Driving Machine. This iteration of the 5 Series is the best it has ever been, especially when it comes to offering plenty of value for money in this segment. Now that it’s made in Malaysia, it’s also priced up to half a million less compared to its German-sourced rivals. If only BMW Philippines gave their offerings some of the advanced driver-assistance features we expect in cars nowadays, then the 5 Series would indeed be the complete package.
Yet despite the missing driver-assistance tech, the BMW 5 Series would still end up as our top pick in the segment. It’s just too perfect in other areas that in the end, what you get is a midsize luxury sedan that drives unlike any other in its segment–and you’ll even be rewarded in spades if you’re the one behind the wheel instead of a chauffeur.
Pricing and Rating
Exterior Design: ★★★★★
Interior Design: ★★★★★
Space and Practicality: ★★★★☆
Safety and Driver Assistance: ★★★☆☆
Fuel Efficiency: ★★★★★
Value For Money: ★★★★☆
Overall: 4.4 out of 5
*Pricing is correct and accurate as of this article’s time of writing.