First Drive: 2024 BMW 5 Series LWB (530Li)

More spacious and luxurious than ever, Munich’s midsize luxury sedan aims to tackle the tricky mix of driving pleasure with supreme comfort



7 mins read


Published on June 22, 2024

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  • With a longer wheelbase, the new 5 Series feels as big as a 7 Series
  • Expected to be offered with petrol and diesel mild-hybrid engines
  • We drove the 530Li for a brief period

To be frank, the early arrival of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class in India did a lot of groundwork for acceptance of midsize luxury saloons as the car to announce your arrival in the top echelons of society. Not surprisingly, just like its arch rival, BMW also made the most with its own 5 Series, which quickly became a mainstream must-have for the elite. BMW’s more driver-centric approach however meant the owner enjoyed the car more from behind the wheel rather than from the rear seat, which was the reason why the plusher E-Class, with its larger rear seat experience, always had the upper hand for someone to write down that cheque when it came to picking one.


Also Read: New-Gen BMW 5 Series LWB Bookings Open


All that changes with the launch of this eighth-generation 5 Series that for the first time will be available in a long-wheelbase (LWB) version outside of China. BMW will locally produce this at its Tamil Nadu facility with kits brought in from Germany and some LWB-exclusive parts from our neighbouring country. While engine variants were not disclosed at the time of going to press (launch is on July 24), we had a short drive and ride experience in the 530Li version.



New BMW 5 Series LWB: Design & Dimensions

On the road, the car looks big and substantially different. BMW has gone for more chiseled and sharper lines with the new design. At the front, the kidney grille (perhaps horse, not human kidneys, given its size) is more in-your-face than before and gets surround illumination as well. The daytime running lights are vertical, not horizontal, and together that gives the new car a distinct look. There are many blacked out body parts because the one we see here is the sportier M-Sport trim. This package gets unique front air intakes, side sills and rear apron. We believe that 19-inch M wheels will be offered as an optional extra.


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The new 5 Series is visibly larger than its predecessor; 18-inch wheels look a size small.


To give you some perspective, at 5,175mm, a 5 Series LWB is 212mm longer than the model it replaces. Sounds like a lot, but the older car was not the LWB model. As some of you may have realised it now is just a 100mm-odd shy of the bigger 7 Series limo. It is wider too, and also taller, but that is the toughest to notice unless you have the older model parked next to it. With the increased dimensions, the only downside is that the reasonably large 18-inch wheels look a size small. Overall, the car does stand out on our roads.


New BMW 5 Series LWB: Engine & Driving

During the first drive, we only could sample the 530Li variant. This is a four-cylinder, 2.0-litre engine with a 48-volt mild-hybrid system. Overseas, this engine puts out around 255bhp and has a claimed fuel efficiency of around 14 kmpl. We reckon a figure closer to 11 kmpl for Indian driving conditions.


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On the move, the 530 Li feels fleet-footed.


Despite its size, the 5 Series LWB feels a sprightly performer. The engine feels smooth and gear shifts are swift. It gets an eight-speed transmission with power going to the rear wheels. Internationally, there is also an all-wheel-drive version but India is unlikely to get that. Acceleration in the 530 Li is purposeful and confident. The increase in length and weight is hardly noticed thanks to its fleet-footedness. We reckon zero to 100kph is under eight seconds for this engine. The comfortable driving position ensures you are confident behind the wheel at most speeds. We couldn’t test the top speed, but it will likely be electronically limited to 250 kmph.


The all-new steering has wonderful heft and you can point this barge with ease in any direction in a fraction of a second. Only quick lane changes and hard cornering is when you may notice the difference of the added length of a 5 series. Ride quality is excellent, helped by the returned suspension as well as the tyres with thicker sidewalls. Braking is also confident and belies the fact that you may be hurtling down in a big car. It has progressive bite, and the car is stable in a straight line. We think this is partly helped by the better brakes that the M Sport package brings to the table.


New BMW 5 Series LWB: Interior & Features

BMW cabins were always a reflection of its inherent character of being a driver-centric car. Till about a few years ago, BMW interiors were clearly on the spartan side with an aim to keep things simple and sporty. But with newer cars, BMW has been experimenting with colours other than various shades of grey and the 5 Series LWB is a good example of the same.


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Use of new colours lends a plusher feel to the new 5 Series' cabin.


The most noticeable change is the arrival of the massive curved display on the dashboard similar to the bigger 7 Series. This is two displays – one a 12.3 inch instrument cluster and the other is a 14.9 inch high resolution information display – both integrated into one frameless glass unit. The car features the latest BMW Operating System 8.5.

Apart from this, just as in a 7 Series, there is also the backlit ‘Interaction Bar’ where the AC vents are hidden from plain view. The bar is touch enabled and can be used to control the AC and alter the ambient lighting. The gear selector isn’t the conventional type and sits as a toggle switch on the centre console. Crystal glass has been judiciously used at places for that ultra-luxury touch.


The new 5 Series vegan interiors are hard to distinguish from genuine leather except for the absence of that typical smell. Remains to be seen how it ages but they look rich. We understand genuine leather will also be available as an option. The front seats are powered and it is not tough to find an apt driving position. Even with a tall person ahead, the rear seat offers more than enough legroom.


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Extended wheelbase means there is acres of space in the rear.


The car’s four zone climate control, though, didn’t feel as robust for the rear in the Gurugram heat. The full blown panoramic fixed glass roof can be partly blamed. Thankfully, there is a thick enough blind to counter the sun’s heat. The rear seats also extended into the doors for a couch-like effect. However, the rear seat is where the 7 Series is clearly leagues ahead in terms of features. Apart from acres of space, and some basic features, it still doesn’t pamper passengers, like the bigger car does. The 18-speaker Bowers and Wilkins system is top notch when it comes to music quality.


New BMW 5 Series LWB: Verdict

The 5 Series story began in 1972 and has been on the growth ever since. It officially came to India when it was properly enshrined as a midsize luxury sedan that would give sportscars a run for the money. In its latest LWB avatar, it is now in proper limousine-territory, but we can assure it hasn’t lost its driver-centric focus. It still lingers, if we may say, even more than what the previous one could.


Space, or rather lack of it, was the bigger grouse which they have now sorted. The engines are tried and tested and in this 530Li spec it turns out to be quite nimble and eager. For most 3 Series customers, this would be a perfect upgrade, assuming you will be driving a lot. For those sitting behind, the 5 Series has never been this practical. The 5 GT was the only option earlier but at the expense of messing up the classic three-box layout, which wasn’t up to everyone’s taste. There are some frills missing at the rear compared to a 7 but the 530 Li does pamper you with a regal experience that is a clear upgrade from the current 5.




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