The Germans possess a linguistic richness that captures the essence of various activities, even something as specific as extracting a sausage from its casing, known as “zuzeln” in Munich. BMW has taken a similar approach with the 2024 530i xDrive, engaging in the form of automotive “zuzeln” by reimagining its core components. This involves replacing the familiar turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, coupled with a ZF eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive, and enveloping it in a fresh design.
In delving into Bavarian etymology, the act of “zuzeln” among Germans is inspired by the unappetizing casing of the region’s signature weisswurst sausage. However, this analogy doesn’t apply to the new 5-series, which boldly revisits the aesthetic innovation reminiscent of the 2004 E60 without the controversy associated with Chris Bangle’s designs. While opinions within our office are divided, a faction appreciates the striking appearance of the new 5er.
Positioned as the entry-level 5-series, the 530i prioritizes a distinctive look and a refined business-sedan experience over high-performance attributes. This tradition dates back to the days when a 530i boasted a 3.0-liter inline-six engine.
The latest 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine offers a modest power increase, generating 255 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque, an improvement from the previous year’s 248 horses and 258 pound-feet. Notably, BMW has incorporated the Miller-cycle combustion process, enhancing efficiency with open intake valves at the beginning of the compression stroke.
Despite sharing displacement with its predecessor, the 530i’s engine underwent significant revisions, contributing to a 35-mpg highway fuel economy at 75 mph, aligning with EPA estimates. The addition of a 48-volt hybrid system further enhances city mileage. While the 5-series menu offers more potent powertrain options, the 530i xDrive caters to BMW enthusiasts who value efficiency and cost-effectiveness over sheer speed.
Impressively, the 530i xDrive achieves a respectable 5.5 seconds to 60 mph and a quarter-mile time of 14.2 seconds at 96 mph. This performance, though not groundbreaking for a modern BMW sedan, becomes more noteworthy considering the larger dimensions of the new 5-series compared to its predecessor, resembling the 2008 E65. The 530i’s 117.9-inch wheelbase, 199.2-inch length, and 4090-pound curb weight align with E65-caliber proportions.
Despite its substantial weight, the 530i xDrive exhibits nimble handling courtesy of variable-ratio steering, optional M Sport suspension, and 21-inch Continental EcoContact 6 Q tires that provide excellent grip. The M Sport brakes contribute to an impressive 156-foot stop from 70 mph, rivaling the performance of more specialized models.
Inside, the 5-series embraces technological advancements, featuring the Driving Assistance Professional system for hands-free highway driving up to 85 mph. The AirConsole in-car gaming option adds entertainment, allowing passengers to use their phones as controllers for games displayed on the 14.9-inch infotainment screen.
While the 530i’s price tag of $70,745 for a four-cylinder may initially raise eyebrows, its overall performance and luxurious features may justify the cost. However, comparisons with competitors, such as the loaded 360-hp Cadillac CT5-V at $64,045, highlight the importance of considering alternatives in this premium sedan segment.
In conclusion, the 530i xDrive represents a blend of efficiency, performance, and luxury in the 5-series lineup. It may not cater to every preference, but it succeeds in delivering a compelling driving experience with a touch of German engineering excellence.