2021 BMW 5 Series 51

2021 BMW 5 Series: Free Ultimate Reference Guide to This Swoon-Worthy Machine


This guide provides a complete overview of the 2021 BMW 5 Series. We go through the updates and changes, take a peek under the hood, and provide a comprehensive list of the standard and available features and packages.


The 2021 BMW 5 Series has kicked down the double doors and is now standing on the tables before us. (Sorry I was listening to John Mayer earlier). Anyway, the new 5 Series is easily the belle of the ball with updated styling, enhanced aerodynamics, and a new 48-volt mild hybrid system for good measure.

Here are all the deets on the 2021 BMW 5 Series. Let’s take it from the top.

2021 BMW 5 Series Lineup

The new 5 Series lineup includes the 530i and 530i xDrive Sedans, 530e and 530e xDrive PHEV Sedans, 540i and 540i xDrive Sedans, and the M550i xDrive Sedan. If you are new to the BMW world, or just learning about the German manufacturer, xDrive means all-wheel drive (we explain more how it works farther down).

What Does The 2021 BMW 5 Series Cost?

2021 BMW 5 Series
Starting MSRP
Model & Drivetrain MSRP w/ Destination ($995)
530i Sedan $55,195
530i xDrive Sedan $57,495
530e Sedan $58,195
530e xDrive Sedan $60,495
540i Sedan $60,445
540i xDrive Sedan $62,745
M550i xDrive Sedan $77,795

If you are in the market for a new BMW 5 Series, this free and helpful search tool* will show you dealer inventory in your area. That tool will also help you secure the invoice price, which is beneficial to have if you are negotiating with the dealership. 

Fresh New Threads

Naturally, the 2021 BMW 5 Series features the brand’s now-famous kidney grille. However, the grille is taller and wider, extending down more into the front bumper’s territory. Along with resculpted headlights, the vertical grille slats are more pronounced (BMW hints at how these slats help increase airflow).

Adaptive LED headlights, with two “L–shaped” daytime running lights on each side, reside in front. At the rear, the taillights have the same L-shape with black edging.

The M Sport Package receives new front and rear bumpers, larger front air intakes with mesh inserts, and a sleeker rear diffuser panel. At the top of the range, the M550i xDrive Sedan includes a new Aerodynamic kit from the M Sport Package. As an extra touch of spice, the side mirror caps receive a Cerium Grey finish.

2021 BMW 5 Series.
The 2021 BMW 5 Series is 1.2 inches longer than the 2020 model, although many of the other dimensions remain unchanged. Photo: BMW of North America, LLC.

It’s What On The Inside That Counts

Live Cockpit Professional with iDrive 7 takes the 5 Series from sedan to spaceship. The 12.3-inch central touchscreen houses navigation, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. The optional Intelligent Personal Assistant feature is a trip. Activated by a spoken prompt (like “Hey BMW”), the 5 Series can do things like roll down the windows or adjust the air conditioning when commanded.

Standard on all four-cylinder and six-cylinder models is a new Perforated SensaTec upholstery with contrast stitching. Dakota Leather is standard on the M550i xDrive and optional on the other models. Nappa Leather is optional on all 2021 BMW 5 Series cars (the Convenience Package adds heated seats).

An Anthracite Headliner is standard with an Anthracite Alcantara Headliner available for the M550i xDrive Sedan.

2021 BMW 5 Series interior layout.
2021 BMW 5 Series interior layout. Photo: BMW of North America, LLC.

2021 BMW 5 Series: Chassis & Suspension

The new 5 Series cars employ a double-wishbone front and five-link rear suspension. BMW says the suspension works to prevent road irregularities from “disrupting the steering.” Enthusiasts will enjoy the M Sport Suspension, available as part of the optional M Sport Package. It includes specially tuned springs and shocks, plus a 10 mm (0.4 inches) drop in ride height.

The Dynamic Handling Package, optional on the 540i and 540i xDrive Sedans, is ultra-fancy. Electronically controlled shocks use adjustable valves to temper the damping force at each wheel individually, meaning the 540i probably rides like a magic carpet. Standard on the M550i xDrive is the Adaptive M Suspension, which is better tuned to handle the car at its limits.

M Sport Brakes with Blue Calipers and M logos (nice!) are available as an option on all 5 Series models and standard on the M550i xDrive Sedan. If blue ain’t your color (cue Keith Urban song), M Sport Brakes with Red calipers and M logos are also available.

2021 BMW 5 Series: Popping The Hood

BMW provides drivers with quite the buffet when it comes to engines. Four-, six- and eight-cylinder engines, each with BMW’s latest TwinPower turbocharging technology, are there for the picking. It is interesting to note how the 530i and 530e four-cylinder models, and the 540i six-cylinder use a single, twin-scroll turbocharger. By contrast, the V8 engine of the M550i xDrive Sedan uses two.

However, each engine, regardless of size, utilizes familiar BMW operating systems: High Precision fuel injection working at 350 bar (5,076 psi), VALVETRONIC fully variable valve timing, and double-VANOS variable camshaft timing.

2021 BMW 530i & 530i xDrive Sedans 

  • Engine: 2.0-liter four-cylinder
  • Horsepower: 248
  • Torque Output: 258 lb-ft.
  • 0 to 60 mph: 5.9 seconds
  • Top Speed: 130 (all-season tires) or 155 (performance tires)

2021 BMW 540i and 540i xDrive Sedans

  • Engine: 3.0-liter inline-six 
  • Horsepower: 335
  • Torque Output: 332 lb-ft.
  • 0 to 60 mph: 4.9 seconds (4.6 for the 540i Drive)
  • Top Speed: 130 (all-season tires) or 155 (performance tires).

M550i xDrive Sedan

  • Engine: 4.4-liter V8
  • Horsepower: 523
  • Torque Output: 553 lb-ft.
  • 0 to 60 mph: 3.6 seconds
  • Top Speed: 130 (all-season tires) or 155 (performance tires)
2021 BMW 530e
The 2021 BMW 530e uses an exterior speaker system to generate a sound so pedestrians can hear the car in electric-only mode at lower speeds. Photo: BMW of North America, LLC.

530e & 530e xDrive Sedans: How They Work

The 2021 BMW 530e and 530e xDrive Sedans combine a 2.0-liter gasoline engine (181 horsepower) and an electric drive unit (107 horsepower). The combined output of 288 horsepower is an increase of 40 versus prior 530e models. Total torque output is 310 lb-ft.

Here’s a fun tidbit: set the Driving Control switch and transmission to SPORT and it activates a new XtraBoost feature. Press the throttle and the horsepower fairy gives you another 40 ponies for up to 10 seconds. It’s like the mushroom in Mario Kart.

530e & 530e xDrive Sedans

  • Engine: 2.0-liter gasoline
  • More Engine: 107 horsepower electric drive unit
  • Even More Engine: high-voltage 34 Ah / 12 kWh gross (9.09 kWh net) lithium-ion battery
  • Combined Horsepower: 288
  • Even More Horsepower: Another 40 via XtraBoost
  • Combined Torque Output: 310 lb-ft.
  • 0 to 60 mph: 5.7 seconds (with XtraBoost)
  • Top Speed: 130 (all-season tires) or 146 (performance tires)

Transmission Tech: Inside The Steptronic

BMW’s eight-speed Steptronic automatic receives a new hydraulic control system to increase efficiency and response. New torsion dampers reduce rotational irregularities within the powertrain for more seamless shifting. An integral twin-damper system isolates vibrations and minimizes the degree of slip at the torque converter lock-up clutch.

The Steptronic Sport transmission, standard in the M550i xDrive Sedan, includes a Launch Control function.

Beyond the mechanical components, the Steptronic automatic can adapt its shift strategy. BMW engineered the transmission and navigation to work in tandem while moving. The transmission uses data from the navigation system to shift according to the road conditions, thereby avoiding unnecessary shifts. Supplemental data is pulled from the Active Cruise Control system’s radar sensor.

Is The 2021 BMW 5 Series All-Wheel Drive?

Yes indeed! As mentioned above, if you want an all-wheel drive 5 Series, look for one that has “xDrive.” Absent of xDrive, all 2021 BMW 5 Series cars are real-wheel drive (minus the M550i xDrive Sedan). While xDrive does have a rear-bias in power distribution, it can transfer that power around the car for more traction and stability when necessary.

In these situations, the electronically controlled multi-plate clutch in the transfer case “hooks up” with the Dynamic Stability Control system. Power distribution is regulated and adjusted in a fraction of a second, so the 5 Series can respond to changing road conditions. BMW says xDrive’s inherent design prevents oversteer and understeer.

The M550i xDrive Sedan uses an exclusive rear M Sport differential. This electronically controlled rear differential lock improves traction by determining different grip levels for the left and right rear wheels. The M Sport differential will prevent any wheel with less than desirable traction from spinning.

2021 BMW 5 Series 1
A mild hybrid system with a 480-volt starter-generator increases the performance and efficiency of the 2021 BMW 5 Series. Photo: BMW of North America, LLC.

Benefits of The 48-Volt Mild Hybrid System

The 540i and 540i xDrive Sedans use a new mild-hybrid system with a 48-volt starter-generator. Among the 2021 BMW 5 Series family, only these two use the system as they have the inline-six. Under acceleration, the system serves up an extra 11 horsepower, but its functionality goes beyond speed.

The 48-volt starter-generator and a second battery help facilitate regenerative braking, which increases efficiency. When the accelerator is relaxed, the generator transforms kinetic energy into electricity for the 48-volt battery. This otherwise wasted energy can now power the lights, steering, windows, ventilation, audio system, and seats.

What Is The Average Maintenance Cost?

According to RepairPal, BMW owners pay, on average, about $968 per year for maintenance and repairs. BMW’s upkeep costs are comparable to other German luxury brands like Audi ($987 per year) and Mercedes-Benz ($908 per year). This helpful guide provides more information on BMW’s reliability, scheduled maintenance, and overall repair costs.

2021 BMW 5 Series Warranty

Every new BMW 5 Series comes with a bumper-to-bumper warranty of four years or 50,000 miles. If you plan to keep your 5 Series beyond that, it might be worth considering an extended warranty. This comprehensive guide provides more information and answers the questions most frequently asked about BMW extended warranties.  

Gallery & Equipment List

Below the gallery of photos is an extensive list of how the 2021 BMW 5 Series is equipped. The list includes available colors, standard and optional features, and what comes in each individual package.

Jaguar Century: 100 Years of Automotive Excellence

Carl Anthony is Managing Editor of Automoblog and a member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association and the Society of Automotive Historians. He serves on the board of directors for the Ally Jolie Baldwin Foundation, is a past president of Detroit Working Writers, and a loyal Detroit Lions fan.

2021 BMW 5 Series Gallery

2021 BMW 5 Series Ordering & Package Guide

Exterior Colors

  • Bluestone Metallic
  • Carbon Black Metallic
  • Mineral White Metallic
  • Dark Graphite Metallic
  • Black Sapphire Metallic
  • Alpine White (standard)
  • Bernina Grey Amber Effect (new color)
  • Jet Black (standard, n/a on M550i xDrive)
  • Glacier Silver Metallic (n/a on M550i xDrive)
  • Phytonic Blue Metallic (new for 2021 5 Series)
  • Individual Aventurin Red Metallic (M550i xDrive only)
  • Individual Tanzanite II Blue Metallic (M550i xDrive only)

Standard Equipment

Standard equipment on all 2021 BMW 5 Series models includes:

  • Moonroof
  • Alarm system
  • Rearview camera
  • Anthracite headliner
  • Park distance control
  • Tire pressure monitor
  • Automatic high beams
  • Adaptive full LED lights
  • Connected Package Pro
  • Ambient interior lighting
  • Automatic climate control
  • Chrome Line exterior trim
  • Sport leather steering wheel
  • Comfort Access keyless entry
  • Universal garage-door opener
  • 40/20/40 Split folding rear seat
  • Auto-dimming rear-view mirror
  • SiriusXM with 1 year All Access subscription
  • Power front Sport seats with lumbar support
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility
  • 8-speed Sport Steptronic automatic transmission 
  • Enhanced USB and Bluetooth Smartphone integration
  • WiFi Hotspot with complimentary 3-month or 3GB trial
  • 18-inch W-spoke reflex silver wheels with all-season run-flat tires.
  • Live Cockpit Pro with iDrive 7 and 12.3” digital instrument and center displays
  • Active Protection
    • Post-crash braking
    • Fatigue and focus alert
    • Automatic front seat belt tensioning
    • Automatic closing of windows and moonroof
  • Active Driving Assistant
    • Blind spot detection
    • Rear cross-traffic alert
    • Automatic high beams
    • City collision mitigation
    • Speed limit information
    • Lane Departure warning
    • Rear collision preparation
    • Frontal collision and pedestrian warning

530e and 530e xDrive PHEV Sedans add:

  • XtraBoost Functionality
  • Acoustic Protection for pedestrians

M550i xDrive Sedan adds:

  • Rear spoiler
  • Power tailgate
  • M Steering wheel
  • M Aerodynamic kit
  • Remote Engine Start
  • SensaTec dashboard
  • Adaptive M Suspension
  • M Sport rear differential
  • Shadowline exterior trim
  • M Sport brakes with blue calipers
  • Multi-contour power front heated seats
  • Harman Kardon surround sound system
  • 19-inch M Y-spoke bicolor Jet Black wheels with performance run-flat tires
  • Interior trim in Aluminum Rhombicle Smoke Grey with Pearl Chrome highlight trim

Packages & Optional Equipment

Optional Packages on all 2021 BMW 5 Series sedans include:

Convenience Package: (all models except M550i xDrive)

  • Power tailgate
  • Heated front seats or Heated front and rear seats
  • Remote engine start (not available on 530e and 530e xDrive)

Driving Assistance Plus Package: (all models)

  • Evasion Aid
  • Front Cross-Traffic Alert
  • Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go
  • Lane Keeping Assistant with side collision avoidance
  • Extended Traffic Jam Assist for limited access highways (Level 2)

Dynamic Handling Package: (540i and 540i xDrive only)

  • Adaptive Drive
  • Active Roll Stabilization
  • Dynamic Damper Control

Dynamic Handling Package: (M550i xDrive only)

  • Integral Active Steering
  • Active Roll Stabilization
  • Adaptive M Suspension Professional

Shadowline Package: (all models)

  • Individual Shadowline lights
  • Extended Shadowline exterior trim including Kidney Grille.

Luxury Seating Package: (except M550i xDrive)

  • Multi-Contour seats
  • Front ventilated seats

M Sport Package: (all models except M550i xDrive)

  • Aerodynamic kit
  • M Steering wheel
  • Variable sport steering
  • Shadowline exterior trim
  • M Sport Suspension or Dynamic Handling Package (n/a on 530e and 530e  xDrive)
  • Choice of 19-inch m Y-spoke style 845M bicolor Jet Black wheels with either all-season runflat or performance run-flat tires or 20-inch Y-spoke style 846M bicolor Jet Black wheels with performance run-flat tires
  • Choice of Aluminum Rhombicle Smoke Grey interior trim with Pearl Chrome finisher or Fine-wood Ash Trunkwood open-pored trim with  Pearl Chrome finisher or Fineline Ridge Wood Trim or Grey Poplar Wood Trim or Fineline Cove Matte Finish Wood Trim

Parking Assistance Package: (all 2021 BMW 5 Series cars)

  • Drive Recorder
  • Parking Assistant Plus
  • Active Park Distance Control
  • Surround View with 3D View

Premium Package: (all 2021 BMW 5 Series cars except M550i xDrive)

  • Power tailgate
  • Gesture Control
  • Head-Up Display
  • Remote Engine Start
  • Harman Kardon Surround sound system
  • Wireless charging for compatible mobile devices
  • Heated front seats or Heated front and rear seats

Premium Package: (M550i xDrive only)

  • Gesture Control
  • Head-Up Display
  • Wireless charging for compatible mobile devices

Executive Package: (all 2021 BMW 5 Series cars except M550i xDrive)

  • Power tailgate
  • Gesture Control
  • Head-Up Display
  • Ceramic Controls
  • Remote Engine Start
  • Harman Kardon Surround sound system
  • Wireless charging for compatible mobile devices
  • Power rear sunshade & rear side window shades
  • Heated front seats or Heated front and rear seats

Executive Package: (M550i xDrive only)

  • Gesture Control
  • Head-Up Display
  • Ceramic Controls
  • Wireless charging for compatible mobile devices
  • Power rear sunshade & rear side window shades

Individual Options for the 2021 BMW 5 Series:

  • 18-inch Double-spoke style 844 orbit grey wheels with all-season run-flat tires

All models except M550i xDrive:

  • 19-inch W-spoke style 663 bicolor wheels with all-season run-flat tires

All models except M550i xDrive:

  • 19-inch V-spoke style 635 orbit grey wheels with all-season run-flat tires

All models except M550i xDrive:

  • 19-inch W-spoke bicolor style 663 ferric grey wheels with performance run-flat tires

All models except M550i xDrive:

  • 19-inch V-spoke style 635 wheels with performance run-flat tires

All models except M550i xDrive:

  • Grey Poplar Wood Trim
  • Front messaging seats (all models)
  • Heated steering wheel (all models)
  • Fineline Cove Matte Finish Wood Trim
  • Leather dashboard (M550i xDrive only)
  • Front ventilated seats (M550i xDrive only)
  • M Sport brakes with Red calipers (all models)
  • Individual Piano Black trim (M550i xDrive only)
  • Front and rear heated seats (M550i xDrive only)
  • SensaTec dashboard (all models except M550i xDrive)
  • Power rear sunshade and rear side window shades (all models)
  • Space saver spare tire (all models except 530e and 530e xDrive)
  • M Sport brakes with Blue calipers (all models except M550i xDrive)
  • Fine-wood Ash Trunkwood open-pored trim with Pearl Chrome finisher
  • Bowers & Wilkins Diamond Surround Sound System (M550i xDrive only)

Wheels & Tires

  • 19″ M Y-spoke style 845M bicolor Jet Black wheels with all-season run-flat tires
  • 19″ M Y-spoke style 845M bicolor Jet Black wheels with performance run-flat tires
  • 20″ Y-spoke style 846M bicolor Jet Black with performance run-flat tires
  • 20″ M Double-spoke style 668M wheels with perf. run-flat tires (M550i xDrive only)
  • 20″ M Double-spoke style 668M wheels with Michelin Pilot Super Sport non run-flat tires (M550i xDrive only)

Photos & Source: BMW of North America, LLC.

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