I had the 2011 BMW 528i this week, a car I was very much looking forward to. I had heard some great things about the car from our BMW dealers in the various markets. This is a very good-looking car and was larger than I expected. For additional information on this car, be sure to read today’s Commentary section, where I address the terrific fuel-economy this car achieves. That was a REAL surprise.
My press car is Alpine White with tan leather interior. I have always thought a BMW should be black, but this white is quite stunning actually. This car comes with just about everything you could want, the only options on this one are the Dynamic Handling Package and the Sport Package, which gets 18” alloy wheels that look great.
This is the 6th generation 5-series BMW over the past 40 years. In years past, you got the feeling BMW was just bridging the gap between the 3-series and the flagship 7-series. The 5 almost felt like an orphan with no real identity. That has all changed now as the 5-series has finally come into its own.
The 528i comes with a 3-liter inline six-cylinder dual overhead cam engine with 24 valves. The 528 puts out 258 horses and I would have bet any amount of money the car was putting out over 300. It is amazing BMW can make this car feel as powerful as they have.
The highway fuel economy is astounding. This is a large car, not as big as the 7-series of course, but at a glance, you would think it was the flagship 750. When I say the car was rated at 32 miles per gallon highway, I started laughing. There was NO WAY this big Beemer would get that kind of mileage and feel this fast. I was wrong, it will do it and with minimal effort. I think this car would do 33 easily.
So how did BMW engineers pull this off? Through the magic of an 8-speed automatic transmission that unless you go to Sport mode, you cannot even feel shift. The tranny is as smooth as I have ever driven, even under heavy acceleration.
Inside, the interior is beautiful and elegant. The dash is easy to read and laid out so the driver can see everything at a glance. The dark wood accents add a richness that you would expect to find on much more expensive cars. No corners were cut inside this car. The back seat and headroom in this car is quite generous, as is the trunk.
I used to complain loudly about the i-drive. I hated it. Actually, it was worse than that to be honest. This is the second time I have had the new version i-drive and I really like it. It is not only easier, it is actually quite enjoyable.
I have always said nothing drives and handles quite like a BMW. Even the 528 at over 16 feet in length handles like the sports sedan it is supposed to be, with minimal dip and sway, a firmness that is legendary in BMW sedans, yet the ride is not harsh.
The 528 comes with every conceivable safety feature making this a very desirable vehicle at a quite attractive price. If you need help selling your spouse on a new BMW, remind him/her it gets 32 miles per gallon. The car is truly irresistible.
What I liked most: Ride, handling, and fuel-economy.
What I would change if I could: Can’t think of a thing.
MSRP as tested: $50.975
Fuel Economy: 22 city/32 highway, 33 highway attained.
528i in a few words: The Ultimate Driving Machine meets the ultimate value.