BMW Test Drive Reviews 

2017 BMW 530i Test Drive Review

The Gadget Master. Almost all of us have one in our lives, the person who always has to have the coolest new tech on the market in their pocket. Back in the 1980s, the Gadget Masters of the time took a page out of Gordon Gecko’s book and got themselves one of those cool new mobile telephones! A decade later, they replaced their VHS movies with DVD versions of them. When the 2000s rolled around, Gadget Masters put their favorite songs on their iPods.

We all have a Gadget Master in our lives. James Bond has Q. You have Mike in the office down the hall, the guy who always seems to have a new fitness tracker strapped around his wrist or a shiny new phone that he’s swiping on and poking at.

BMW completely redesigned its midsize 5 Series sport sedan for the 2017 model year, using aluminum, magnesium and high-strength steel to reduce weight by up to 137 pounds. Turbocharged power comes from a 2.0-liter I4, 2.0-liter I4/electric motor combo, 3.0-liter inline-6 (which pumps out 35 more horsepower than its predecessor), or 4.4-liter M Performance V8. BMW might have gone light on the weight of materials, but it didn’t go light on the gizmos. In a press release about the new 5, BMW stated, “Featuring a new user interface (iDrive 6.0) including an 8.8-inch Dynamic Instrument Cluster, available Gesture Control, the latest generation of Head-Up Display, Remote 3D View and an improved Voice Control with natural voice input, the 2017 BMW 5 Series marks a new era of personalized connectivity.”

We now know what it feels like to be a Gadget Master and have cool new tech at our fingertips. There’s an app for that. It’s called the 2017 BMW 5 Series. We used the 530i version of it for a week.

2017 BMW 530i Exterior

We didn’t need Google Glass to see that the 530i was an attractive car. A rich coat of Mediterranean Blue Metallic paint covered a well-proportioned, athletic body. A useful parking camera sat between the twin kidney grille openings. Those connected to the casings for the brilliant LED headlights that could turn into curves to better illuminate the path in front of us.

Each of the multi-spoke 19-inch wheels looked as if they could be placed in the modern art section of a museum. Those were wrapped in runflat tires designed to do just what their name says in an emergency. The soft-close doors required only the slightest effort to close. No slamming, no bumping. We just brought them to and they finished closing themselves.

The harder we had to brake, the brighter the taillights glowed to warn following drivers that we were coming to a stop. Those flowed into a powered trunk lid that could open or close with the push of a button inside the lid itself or on the 530i’s smart key. On the key’s color touchscreen, we could check on the 530i in a variety of ways. We could see if the car was locked or if its lights were on. Our favorite thing to do with the smart key was remote start the car and back it out of a tight parking spot…while standing outside of it, performing the cool trick for our friends.

2017 BMW 530i Interior

Sitting in the 530i’s cabin, we were surrounded by Ivory White Nappa Leather, modern Fineline Cove Matte Finish Wood Trim, metallic accents…and tech features that made our inner tech geek smile.

Our test vehicle was fitted with a variety of equipment packages, such as the Driving Assistance Package. Its head-up display allowed us to check our speed while still looking right at the road. The rear view camera and Active Park Distance Control made pulling into and backing out of a space a breeze.

Thanks to Gesture Control, all we had to do to lower or raise the volume of the audio system was point at the 10.2-inch high-res touchscreen and twirl a finger to the left or right, respectively.

In addition to its numerous safety features (more on those later), the Driver Assistance Plus II suite contained Active Cruise Control with Stop and Go. On our way from Austin, Texas to the Houston Auto Show and back, we used it to set a speed and a following distance. When traffic slowed to a crawl, the ACC made sure the 530i did, too. No braking from us was necessary. We just steered.

The Luxury Seating Package also made our trips a lot less stressful. The ventilated front seats could emit warm or cool air and even offered multiple types of massage at three intensity levels.

When we weren’t using ACC and we stepped on the brakes to stop at a red light or a stop sign, the Auto Hold feature held the car in place for us so that we didn’t have to keep a foot on the left pedal. We just applied throttle when it was time to get going again.

2017 BMW 530i Performance

One turbocharger, two liters of displacement, four cylinders in a line, and 16 valves. BMW puts that hardware, as well as variable valve control and direct fuel injection, under the hood of the 530i. It all adds up to 248 horsepower and 258 lbft of torque. An 8-speed automatic processes it all.

The Driving Dynamics Control system’s Eco Pro, Comfort, and Sport modes gave us the ability to change how certain powertrain and chassis components reacted to the turbo I4’s output being unleashed. Eco Pro was designed the keep the turbo I4 from gulping fuel. According to the EPA, the 530i is capable of getting 24 city, 34 highway, and 27 combined mpg**; we averaged nearly 28. Comfort set our Bimmer up for smooth cruising. Sport made the 530i take off its warmup pants and get ready to play. Our car was equipped with Dynamic Damper Control. Based on speed and load, DDC adjusted the damping of the shocks to suit how we drove and the roads we drove over. According to BMW, “In the [DDC’s] new Adaptive Mode, the steering, Dynamic Damper Control and Steptronic transmission are automatically adapted to the driving style and, depending on vehicle specification, also to the route. The control logic reacts to inputs such as accelerator and steering commands, or gear selector position, to vary the powertrain and chassis characteristics between sporty and more comfort-oriented.” When we needed more brakes than throttle, our 530i’s 4-piston front and 2-piston rear M Sport brakes squeezed into action.

2017 BMW 530i Safety

Those tech packages BMW stuffed into our media loaner added more than conveniences. The Driver Assistance Plus collection’s Blind Spot Detection, Daytime Pedestrian Protection, Frontal Collision Warning with City Collision mitigation, lane departure warning, and rear cross-traffic alert gave us peace of mind. So did Driver Assistance Plus II’s Active Lane Keeping Assistance with side collision avoidance and Active Driving Assist.

2017 BMW 530i Overall

Prices for the 2017 BMW 530i start at $51,200*. Our evaluation vehicle had an as-tested price of $72,135. Whether or not you’re a Gadget Master already, you’ll feel like one in the 530i – after you get it from an AutoNation-affiliated BMW dealership.

*MSRP excluding tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.

**Based on EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.

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