BMW 5 Series design splits opinion

Six generations of the BMW 5 Series

Six generations of the BMW 5 Series (click to enlarge)

A new BMW 5 Series has been unveiled, leading to a predictable argument among the Auto Trader editorial staff today about whether its conservative new design is an improvement over its divisive predecessor.

The sixth-generation 5 Series harks back to the plainer look of past BMWs. For some BMW devotees this will be a welcome change after the Chris Bangle-designed E60/E61 model.

But not me. I was a big fan of the last BMW’s looks and although I can’t say I dislike the new model, it is rather staid compared to the last car.

Over on the other side of the office Stuart Milne disagrees strongly. He owned an E34 5 Series and was unimpressed by the Bangle-era 5 Series. Dom Sacco offered another vote for the E34.

When designer Bangle left BMW in February his work got a mixed reaction on this blog:

Hopefully, he’ll take his latest hideous designs with him. BMW’s used to be good looking cars, now they look like they’ve been carved from granite, with a blunt chisel.

I personally think CB has given the best BMWs so far. The current 3 series coupe to me is the perfect car, leave alone best looking BMW in the market. The 5 series brought in a breath of fresh air. Many didnt like it maybe, but still it was innovative. Which is what designers are for. Rather than bringing the same conservative design again in a different package, I certainly like his innovative approach.

Are you happy with the more conventional 5 Series? Share your thoughts on the car below.

Keith Collantine

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Filed under BMW

16 responses to “BMW 5 Series design splits opinion

  1. Naz

    BMW have done an excellent job with the new 5 series. They’ve got the styling spot on.
    It has a very sleek and aggressive look which all BMW 5 series had until the E60 was released.

    The E60 was horrible. The headlights reminded me of Dame Edna’s glasses and the rear looked like a fat woman’s ****.

    Anyone who says the E60 is good looking car need their eyes testing.

    Edited by moderator



  3. Ali

    I think the designer and the approver of the design both should be fired after coming up with that!

    The previous design had more grace and presence on the road……

    Mercedes are much better in terms of design only the build quality lets em down…

  4. Michael

    Hehe, funny how BMW tried to make the current 5 series look worse off in this picture! It has smaller alloys and is the only car of the 6 without a sunroof.
    I prefer the current shape by far, the new one looks kind of chubby to me and a bit boring.
    If I want to go for a good big car and boring I can buy a Merc, never had one, I’m still young, under 40! :D
    I’m German and I’ve owned one 3-series and four 5-series in the past 15 years; got a 545 current one at the moment, perhaps I should look into the 3 series coupe which is very good looking for my next car.

  5. Looks pretty awesome so far and very excited about the M Sport models, which make the current 5 series look the business. Can’t wait to see them on the road when I am cruising around in my 3 Series Coupe M sport.

  6. Tom

    I think it looks great, the old one didn’t look bad either in my opinion, brilliant new engines by the looks of it, cant wait to test drive one :)

  7. Suta

    The rear looks nicer, but i am not a fan of the new front aspect! I just hope the MSport and M5 looks just as good as the previous models………….i think i must be one of the rare people that actually liked Bangle’s designs!!! Maybe the new 5 will grow on me, however Audi i think wont be touched for a while!!!

  8. Mark Freeman

    I love the new shape.
    I also love the previous one (I actually own it, 530d manual).
    I am hoping that BMW will make a diesel hybrid in the 5 series, that will be the good reason to upgrade :-)

    Surendra, I can see why you say it is boring, but I am a BMW aficionado not for the way the car looks, but for how it drives and by the way, for me understatement is a virtue.

    Just my opinion.

    • Surendra Sitarahmanchandrabose

      Fair point – suppose ‘boring’ was a little strong.

      I’m with Suta also – actually quite liked Bangle’s BMWs.

      I do appreciate the ‘understatement’ is a virtue thing…after all, isn’t that exactly what the 5 used to be about?

      Just feels that after Bangle gave the previous 5 a massive dose of personality, this new model looks a tad staid.

      Still, am sure it will be a great driver’s car, as always.

  9. Surendra Sitarahmanchandrabose


    The last Five in M Sport trim looked fantastic – funny how in the above pic the fifth gen still looks like the new model.

  10. Soulja

    Finally! A nice looking BMW… well almost; I only have two criticisms:

    1. I preferred the previous model’s headlights; rather than evolving, the headlights have de-evolved from the previous model. The toned down headlights don’t match the big size of the car.

    2. The lower grille does not suit the rest of the car, it looks rather cheap and nasty compared to the rest.

    Overall, it looks like a bigger 3 Series, or a smaller 7 Series (depends on how you want to look at it), which in my opinion is a really good thing as I like all the cars of a given make to follow a single design theme, but most poeple will perhaps diasgree.

    I knew if the 5 Series was to follow the GT, then BMW would earn themselves a winner and looks like that’s exactly what has happened… Could this be the first time BMW is offering a car that looks as good as it is to drive???

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