2022 BMW 5 Series: how far from premium-sedan perfection?

2022 BMW M5 CS

by Chuck Giametta

What changes will make the 2022 BMW 5 Series different?

Very little. This suave premium midsize sedan will continue updates that came with a model-year-2021 refresh. They included cleaned-up styling, upgraded infotainment, and boosted performance and ought to sustain the 5 Series with few alterations to its next full redesign, likely for model-year 2024.

The 2022 5 Series will return five models covering a broad spectrum of performance and price. All-wheel drive will remain standard or optional, depending on model. Horsepower will again range from 248 to more than 600, with the 288-horse plug-in-hybrid model capable of driving 20 miles on electricity before tapping its gas engine. Base prices should again span roughly $55,500-$105,000, with a $142,995 limited-edition ultra-performance version available for model-year 2022 only.

Set in BMW’s sedan lineup between the compact 3 Series and full-size 7 Series, today’s seventh-generation 5 Series was last redesigned for model-year 2017. Among key competitors, it’s the same age as the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, which also was updated for model-year ’21. It’s older than the Audi A6 (all-new for model-year 2019), the Cadillac CT5 (introduced for 2020), and the Genesis G80 (redesigned for ‘21). It was third in premium-midsize-sedan sales for 2020, behind the Lexus ES and the E-Class.

Should I wait for the 2022 BMW 5 Series or buy a 2021?

2021 540i

If you’re not a candidate for the one-year-only 2022 M5 CS – the quickest and most powerful BMW production car ever — buy a ’21. Returning 2022 5 Series models could get some new colors, and BMW probably will continue shuffling features among trim levels and options packages. But styling, powertrains, and basic equipment won’t change — although prices almost certainly will increase.

Buying a ‘21 also gives you more time with your 5 Series before the redesigned ’24 renders it old news. That’s a consideration in a segment where design and technology advance quickly and buyers value the latest. Even at its relatively advanced age, though, the 2022 5 Series will be wholly competitive. Benefiting from the model-year-2021 refresh, it’ll remain the match of any direct rival, the difference between it and the E-Class and A6 sedans mostly a matter of taste and degree.

The 2022 5 Series lineup will return the entry-level 530i with a 248-horsepower four-cylinder engine, the 540i with a 335-horsepower six-cylinder, and the M550i with a 523-horse V-8. The 2022 530e will reprise a plug-in-hybrid powertrain with a net 288 horsepower. The high-performance M5 will again pack a 600-horsepower V-8, with 617 horsepower available as part of the Competition Package option.

Available for model-year 2022 only, the M5 CS is a racetrack-honed step up from the already formidable M5 Competition Package. It has 627 horsepower but less sound deadening, seats for four passengers instead of five, and other measures mean it weighs 230 pounds less.

BMW’s xDrive AWD system should remain standard on the M550i and M5-based models and optional in place of rear-wheel drive on the 530i, 540i, and 530e. 

Will 2022 BMW 5 Series styling be different?

2021 530e

No. It’ll continue with the subtle but effective updates that came with the model-year-’21 refresh. BMW sharpened most sheet-metal creases and lengthened the body 1.2 inches for a sleeker profile.

The brand’s trademark twin-kidney grille was enlarged and got more pronounced vertical slats. LED strips, which act as daytime running lamps and turn signals, now underline the headlights rather than forming eyebrows. New taillights have black edging and three-dimensional lenses. Overall, the look is tauter, more athletic.   

The ’21 M5 benefitted from these same basic changes and the ’22 will return with model-specific aero trim, unique front and rear fascia, and quad exhaust tips versus the other models’ trapezoidal outlets. The M5 Competition Package should again include black exterior trim, while the M5 CS adds a gold/bronze finish to is grille surround and wheels and amber to its headlamp strips. A black carbon-fiber reinforced plastic roof panel is standard on the M5 CS and part of the Competition Package.

Wheel design, diameter, and finish will also continue as 2022 5 Series differentiators. Look for the 530i and 540i to come with 18-inch alloys and offer optional 19s and 20s. Expect 19s to be standard on the M550i and M5, with 20s optional there and standard on the M5 CS. The 19s and 20s will again come with a choice of all-season or summer-tread tires.    

2022M5 CS

M Sport Brakes with Blue Calipers and M logos should again be standard on the M550i and optional for the 530i and 540i (with blue or red calipers) at around $650. The M5s will return with uprated brakes and a choice of blue, black, or red calipers. Race-capable and weight-saving, M Carbon Ceramic Brakes (with red or gold calipers) should again be standard on the M5 CS and (with gold calipers) optional for the other M5s at around $8,500.

BMW’s popular trim-darkening Shadowline Package should return at around $550 for all models. The attractive M Sport Package will again include Shadowline trim along with an aerodynamic kit, larger front air intakes with mesh inserts, and a choice of black 19- or 20-inch Y-spoke wheels.

Expect the M Sport package to again cost around $3,300 on 530i models, $2500 on the 530e, and $3300 on the 540i. The 2022 M550i should again incorporate the M Sport look while adding a rear spoiler, gloss-black window surrounds, and grey-finished trim.

2022 540i

Count on the cabin of any 2020 5 Series to be a rock-solid sanctuary of sophisticated forms, precision switchgear, and abundant technology.

Returning as standard across the board will be a tablet-like 12.3-inch central dashboard infotainment screen (enlarged from 10.3 inches in the model-year-’21 refresh). It’s the main venue for the standard imbedded navigation system. Unlike the also-standard support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, it doesn’t depend on a cell signal for real-time GPS mapping. The dash screen can also show torque output, lateral Gs, turbo boost, and drivetrain data.

The equally crisply defined 12.3-inch digital instrument panel devotes significant real estate to navigation info. The optional head-up display projects key data onto the windshield in front of the driver; for ’22, we’d urge BMW to also add blind-spot detection warnings. And making satellite radio standard on more models than just the M5 would be a nice concession to customers. So would wireless charging as standard instead of optional.

The automaker’s iDrive ensemble of console buttons and twist/turn/tip rotary dial will remain the principal infotainment interface. It’s arguably the automotive world’s best central-control setup and will again be supplemented by the company’s Intelligent Personal Assistant, a voice-activated virtual concierge triggered when you say “Hey, BMW.”

Included again with several options packages should be gesture control, by which you can adjust audio volume and cabin temperature with a twirl of a finger in the air. Less precise than the corresponding physical knobs, it’s frippery that gets old quickly.

Another novelty is the driver-configurable “experience mode” coordination of ambient lighting, moonroof, seat climate and the like. Choices include Executive (“Use the cool, calm atmosphere to focus your thoughts” says the screen readout) and Expressive (“Now is the time to enjoy life and positive energy.”)

Expect the 2020 530i, 540i, and 530e to again come with BMW’s Perforated SensaTec upholstery. With its perforated surfaces and contrast stitching, it’s a reasonable analog for leather. Leather should return as standard on the M550i and a $1,500 option on the other models with plusher Nappa leather a $2,500 extra across the board. Aluminum interior accents or real wood in a variety of veneers should return as no-extra-cost choices.    

2022 5 Series rear seat

Seat comfort will remain excellent, with 16-way adjustable front buckets standard, 20-way optional (and included with the M550i), and extra-bolstered buckets for the M5s. Heated and ventilated front and rear seats will again be available. Expect front massaging front buckets to return as a $1,000 option. Rear passengers will again enjoy a supportive bench and about as much room as in the E-Class if not quite as much as in an A6. Still, no adult is apt to complain.

Interior storage space is no more than adequate. At 14 cubic feet, trunk volume is about par for the class, although housing the 530e’s battery pack below the cargo floor reduces it to just 10 cubic feet. Unlike some hybrids, however, the 530e retains the standard 40:20:40 split folding rear seatback. A hands-free power trunk lid should remain standard on the M550i and optional otherwise.

Any 2022 BMW 5 Series mechanical changes?

2022 M5 CS

Not beyond those associated with the limited-edition M5 CS. It’ll be top dog in a lineup with performance that’s good if not scintillating at its low end and dazzling by any measure at its upper end.    

Rear-drive and xDrive versions of each model share the same engine. The 2022 530i will return with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine of 248 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. (Think of torque as the force that gets a vehicle moving, horsepower as the energy that keeps it moving.)  With output roughly equal to that of most base-model rivals, expect the ’22 530i to again furnish perfectly acceptable acceleration (0-60 mph in about 5.9 seconds) and enough reserve power for drama-free passing and merging.

A more appropriate match for this car’s station, however, is the 540i’s turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder. With 335 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque and featuring BMW’s classic turbine-smooth inline-cylinder configuration, everyday performance is uncompromised, with 0-60 in 4.9 seconds and quick response from any speed.

The 2022 540i will carryover an enhancement that came with the model-year-’21 update. Called a mild-hybrid system, it employs a 48-volt starter-generator and dedicated battery to store energy recovered during braking and coasting and deploy it to provide additional power. The system is also designed to fill in response lost to turbo lag or gear changes and saves gas by allowing the engine to shut off approaching stops and during coasting, then smoothly restarting it when the driver applies the gas pedal.

540i 48-volt mild-hybrid system

It worked seamlessly in our tests, but like the 530i, the 540i can still suffer some lethargy off the line and from low-rpm cruising. It seems not even the mild-hybrid’s extra boost can totally erase all turbo lag and compensate for the time is takes the transmission to shift into the optimal ratio.

With 523 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque, the M550i’s twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V-8 eradicates virtually all trace of such deficiencies, rocketing the sedan to 60 in just 3.6 seconds and making child’s play of overtaking even at highway speeds. 

Any version of the 2022 M5 will build on that with near-supercar acceleration – 0-60 in 3.2 seconds, 3.1 with the Competition Package, and 2.9 for the CS – and world-class road manners thanks to a comprehensive going-over by BMW’s respected M performance division. They use a modified and higher-revving version of the twin-turbo 4.4-liter V-8 with 600, 617, and 627 horsepower, respectively, at the same 553-pound-feet of torque.

Like the 540i, the 2022 530e will carryover a significant model-year-2021 upgrade, specifically an enhancement BMW calls XtraBoost. It adds an additional 40 horsepower for up to 10 seconds during heavy throttle application. This elevates output of the 530e’s turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and electric-motor assist to a combined 288 horsepower; torque remains at 310 pound-feet.

530e plug-in-hybrid charge port

As a plug-in hybrid, the 530e can draw an initial charge from a residential or commercial outlet sufficient for an EPA-estimated 20 miles of driving on battery power alone; the EPA reduces that to 18 miles for the 530e xDrive. When that charge is depleted, the 530e runs as a conventional hybrid. Sensors automatically determine the best blend of gas, electric, or combined power to optimize performance or economy.

Both the rear-drive and xDrive 530e should again do 0-60 mph in a respectable 5.7 seconds. But electric-motor-aided throttle response should continue to make any 2022 530e feel quicker than that. This will again be a compelling choice for premium-sedan buyers who appreciate such response and relish some zero-emissions driving.   

Every 2022 5 Series model will again use an eight-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters for manual-type gear control. The M550i and M5s will continue with performance-enhancing shift calibrations and the M5s will have a transmission-oil cooler. BMW ties transmission behavior with navigation data to avoid unnecessary gear changes in fast corners. It also employs the available adaptive cruise control’s radar sensor to downshift for engine braking when approaching a vehicle ahead.

All trims will return with model-specific versions of driver-selectable Sport, Comfort, Adaptive, and Eco Pro modes. They adjust dynamics accordingly, and Eco Pro can save gas by dialing back energy devoted to climate and lighting.

Most 2022 530i, 540i, and 530e buyers are again expected to choose xDrive for its all-weather traction advantages. Standard again on all other versions of the ’22 5 Series, xDrive maintains a rear-biased power delivery and in normal driving and automatically distributes it to optimize acceleration and cornering in both dry and slippery conditions.

The M550i should again come with a rear M Sport limited slip differential with rear torque vectoring. M5s will return with three driver-selectable xDrive modes, including AWD Sport and pure rear-wheel drive.

As with engine performance, expect 2022 5 Series ride and handling behavior to again range from truly luxurious to hard-edged potency. For unalloyed bump absorption and uncanny isolation from road, wind, and engine ruckus, choose a 530i, 540i, or 530e on the standard tires.

Climb the options list or ascend the model ladder to lower-profile rubber on larger-diameter wheels and stiffer and lowered suspensions and experience absorbency decrease and grip in turns increase. 

Examples include the sport-tuned and lowered M Sport Suspension included with the M Sport Package available on 530i, 540i, and 530e models. The Dynamic Handling Package optional for the 540i will again use electronical suspension control designed to improve both handling and comfort. It cost $3,500 for model-year 2021. 
Taking that to the next level, the 2022 M550i will return with the Adaptive M Suspension standard and the Adaptive M Suspension professional as an option. Included in the Dynamic Handling Package ($3,600 for ’21), that setup adds Active Roll Stabilization to quell body lean in turns, and Integral Active Steering, in which the rear wheels turn slightly to improve agility.

2021 M5 with Competition Package

M5s will have their own suspension setup with unique Comfort, Sport, and Sport+ steering and firmness settings.

Recognize that the M5s are indeed racetrack ready and you’ll find their stiff ride on the broken pavement of public roads entirely tolerable.

Any mainstream version of the 2022 5 Series will deliver a fine balance of grip and control, their rear-wheel-drive DNA and BMW’s intelligent apportioning of AWD obvious and your allies in any driving situation.

It’s fair to say the 530i, 540i, and 530e place a premium on comfort and composure. It’s also true they deliver all the handling prowess you’re likely to need from a car like this on most any road you’ll encounter. 

Steering feel might be a little light. And in rare instances, say, in a washboard corner, there’s a hint of shudder, a whiff of feint. It’s like finding a bit of eggshell an otherwise delightful omelet. 

Will 2022 BMW 5 Series fuel economy improve?

2021 540i

Returning models should repeat their model-year-2021 EPA ratings, maintaining their slight fuel-efficiency edge over most similarly configured direct competitors.

Look for the 2022 530i to again rate 25/33/28 mpg city/highway/combined with rear-wheel drive and 23/32/27 with xDrive. The ’22 540i should return at 25/32/27 and 23/31/26, respectively.

Look for the 2022 M550i, on which xDrive is standard, to repeat at 17/25/20 mpg. Interestingly, the EPA rated the also xDrive-only but higher-powered 2021 M5 the same 17/25/20 mpg. EPA ratings for the 2022 M5 CS were not released in time for this review.

Running on battery power alone, the 2022 rear-wheel-drive 530e should again rate 69 mpg-e, the EPA’s calculation of an electric vehicle’s equivalent consumption of gasoline. Running as a hybrid, expect it to rate 27 mpg city-highway combined. Ratings for the ’22 530e xDrive should repeat at 65 mpg-e and 25 mpg city-highway combined, with an electric-only range of 18 miles versus the rear-drive 530e’s 20 miles. Both models should again have a maximum range of around 350 miles.

Expect BMW to again require premium-grade 91-octane gasoline for all ’22 5 Series models.

Will there be new 2022 BMW 5 Series features?

Other than hardware associated with the 2022 M5 CS, BMW is unlikely to expand the already extensive roster of standard and optional features. It could of course shuffle some package content, as it did for model-year 2021.

On the safety front, every ’22 5 Series will include among its standard features autonomous emergency braking designed to automatically stop the car to avoid a frontal collision with another vehicle, object, cyclist, or pedestrian. Blind-spot and lane-departure warning and rear cross-traffic detection will also be standard. 

We would, however, urge BMW to make elements of the Driving Assistance Plus Package standard instead of optional. Available on every 5 Series and M5 for 2021, the $1,700 package contained BMW’s Extended Traffic Jam Assist, front cross-traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, and lane-maintaining automatic steering correction.

Adaptive cruise control, which keeps a set distance from traffic ahead (and in this case, works in stop-and-go traffic), is standard on scores of cars and crossovers costing far less than any 5 Series.

So is lane-maintaining steering, although BMW’s system, which it calls Lane Keeping Assistant with Side Collision Avoidance, needs some recalibration. It’s designed to automatically keep the car centered in its lane and also vibrates the steering wheel and applies steering inputs to help avoid collisions when changing lanes and in certain other traffic conditions. It’s steering correction is far too forceful; luckily, it can be disabled via a screen menu. A simpler system that merely guides the car gently back into its lane would be less intrusive.

Keeping the more esoteric Extended Traffic Jam Assistant optional makes sense. Enabling semi-autonomous driving up to 37 mph, it uses an attention-monitoring camera that negates the need to touch the steering wheel every 30-50 seconds if the driver’s attention is clearly on the road.

5 Series Live Cockpit Professional depicts surrounding traffic

Among other notable standard features likely to return, BMW’s Live Cockpit Professional uses the car’s numerous cameras and sensors to capture 3D visualizations of the surrounding area, depicting all vehicles in the driver’s lane and adjacent lanes. They’re shown in the central section of the instrument display. Vehicles within a critical distance are highlighted and graphics indicate possible avoidance maneuvers.

Also expected to return is the Parking Assistance Package ($800 for 2021). It can identify parallel and perpendicular parking spots and take over steering, throttle, and braking to guide the car into and out of a space. The included Back-Up Assistant records the last 50 yards driven at speeds below 20 mph and can automatically reverse the 5 Series along the exact path, a potential help in narrow or winding driveways, for example.

The Remote 3D View function lets drivers call up a three-dimensional live image of their parked vehicle and its immediate vicinity on their smartphone. And the Drive Recorder captures video footage from different points around the vehicle and stores it for later viewing.

Will 2022 BMW 5 Series prices be different?

2022 M5 CS

Some base-price increase is likely. How much is difficult to predict. Much depends on what BMW adds or subtracts from standard equipment and what new technology it might introduce.

For model-year 2021, for example, the starting price for the essentially unchanged 530i rose just $300. Base price for the 530e, which gained the XtraBoost feature, increased a hefty $3,300. The 540i’s base price was unchanged, despite addition of the 48-volt mild-hybrid system – and the infotainment improvements common to all models. The M550i rose $150, the M5 $800.     

For reference, here are 2021 5 Series base prices, including BMW’s $995 destination fee. The ’21 530i was priced from $55,195 with rear drive and from $57,495 with xDrive. Base prices for the 540i were $60,445 and $62,745, respectively.

With xDrive standard, base price for the ’21 M550i was $77,795. The M5 was priced from $104,495, or $112,085 with the Competition Package. BMW priced the 2022 M5 CS at $142,995.

For the 2021 530e plug-in hybrid, base price was $58,195 with rear drive and $69,495 with xDrive.  

In addition to features already discussed, look for the Luxury Seating package ($1,000 for 2021) to again add to the 530i, 540i, and 530e the M550i’s ventilated 20-way front seats.

Along with content already noted, the M Sport Package should return with an M Sport steering wheel and spiff up the interior with fancier aluminum garnished with pearl chrome wood with an open-pore or matte finish. For ’21, the M Sport Package cost $2,500 on the 530e, and $3,300 on the 530i and 540i (the 540i package also included variable sport steering).  

The Premium Package should again add remote engine start, the power trunk lid, heated front and rear seats, the head-up display, gesture control, and wireless charging. For 2021 it added $2,700 to the 530i and 540i, and $2,450 to the 530e. On the M550i, it cost $1,250 because the remote start, power lid, and heated seats were already standard.

Most of that content — plus power sunshades for the rear side windows and backlight, ceramic switchgear, and a Harman Kardon audio upgrade — should return in the Executive Package. It added $2,150 to the ’21 M550i and $3,600 to the other models. A heated steering wheel should again be a $190 option across the board.

When does the 2022 BMW 5 Series come out?

2021 M5 with Competition Package

Expect a 2022 BMW 5 Series release date in the third quarter of 2021.

Best 2022 BMW 5 Series competitors

Audi A6 and A7, Cadillac CT5, Genesis G80, Jaguar XF, Porsche Panamera and Taycan, Mercedes-Benz E-Class

About Chuck Giametta

This nationally recognized, award-winning writer brings to Carpreview.com two decades of automotive testing and reporting for newspapers, books, magazines, and the Internet. The former Executive Auto Editor of Consumer Guide, Chuck has covered cars for HowStuffWorks.com, Collectible Automobile magazine, and the Publications International Ltd. automotive book series. This ex-newspaper reporter has also appeared as an automotive expert on network television and radio. He’s a charter member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association, the president of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Media association, and a juror for the annual Active Lifestyle Vehicle of the Year awards. Chuck writes from Colorado Springs, Colo. If you have a question for Chuck, write to him at [email protected]