BMW 5 Series History
The first BMW 5 Series, the BMW 1500, named “The New Class”, first appeared in 1961. It was the first German mid-sized 4-door car with an agile sporty chassis and powerful engine that was also comfortable for 5 passengers.
Production of sibling models, named the BMW 1800, the BMW 1600, the BMW 2000 and BMW 2000tii, followed until 1972. At the end of production, “The New Class” had become the most successful BMW model series.
In 1972, the 5 Series debuted the BMW 520 and BMW 520i. New interior and exterior designing, improved passive safety features as well as extensive use of computer technology marked the 5 Series as a new generation of automobile.
Newer 5 Series models, with added-value features, named the BMW 525, the BMW 528, the BMW 520, the BMW 530 and the BMW 535, quickly followed on the car scene. When this generation of the 5 Series came to the end of its lifecycle in 1982, BMW had more than doubled production of automobiles in this class.
In 1985, BMW debuted the 524td, a diesel-engine model that boasted characteristic dynamic performance and smooth derivability. In 1988, the M5, with a 256 horsepower 24-valve engine, was first offered in the United States. It proved to be one of the fastest sedans in the world.
In that year also, a completely new 5 Series, the 535i (with a chassis derived from the 7 Series), took center stage and became one of the outstanding success stories in the history of BMW automobiles.
By 1995, the 5 Series sedan had grown in every dimension within its class. In 1997, BMW offered the 540i Protection model, the first standard light-armored security car in Germany.
In 2004, BMW introduced a revolutionary new design to replace the outgoing E39 model, code named the E60. The car’s design initially drew much criticism from the media and loyal BMW enthusiasts however as time went on, the car became extremely popular and outsold all prior 5 Series models!
The 5 Series has always set the highest standards and if often used as a benchmark to which other cars in its class are judged.
In 2010, the newest 5 Series, code named F10, continues this tradition as successfully. The vehicle was designed by Adrian van Hooydonk, with a more prominent upright split kidney and a more traditional BMW design. Improvements over the E60-generation 5-series include a front dual ball joint short-long arm suspension, and rear multi-link suspension. The non-traditional interior of the E60 has been modified to mark a return to the center console being clearly angled towards the driver. Many of the powertrain options are unchanged from the E60 5 series and the new F10 comes standard in North America with a new ZF sourced 8 speed automatic transmission.