The new 5-Series reared its rakish head back in 2004. Before the facelift in 2006, the extensive models available included the 523i, 525i, 520d, 530i, 530d, 530xi and the 545i. The 5-Series is available in both saloon and Touring wagon platforms, but the slow-selling wagons are not actively peddled in this region. The 530xi is the only all-wheel-drive model offered. The exterior design by Chris Bangle is controversial, especially the aptly-named "Bangle-butt" rear end. Its iDrive system has been simplified compared to the first-generation system that debuted in the 7-Series. It can be ordered with options such as Active Cruise Control, head-up display, active steering and a Harman Kardon Logic7 stereo system. The higher versions of the BMW 5-Series are high-performance sedans, and also among the most technically advanced. Available features include all the usual comfort and power accessories, along with options such as active steering, iDrive control system, and a sequential-manual gearbox offered alongside a manual and an automatic. Few cars can compare with the 5-Series, but rivals are forever trying to match the benchmark Bimmer, even before the debut of the M5 for 2006.
Early models have iDrive malfunctions. Tyre pressure monitor may give wrong readings. Roaring sound becomes significant on runflat tyres after 20,000 kms, and some reports of low-profile ones losing pressure, but replaced under warranty. Steering rack may leak fluid out of end seal and into track-rod end gaiter. BMW claims "lifetime" automatic transmission fluid so dealer will never change blackened fluid during service intervals, so owners should get it changed independently every 80,000 kms. Battery may die overnight if the key is left in the ignition. The "check engine" light may turn on and a rattling noise heard from engine is due to leak in oil line for variable valve timing system. The oil condition sensor on the 2.5-litre engine can short out internally causing intermittent no-start conditions. Six-cylinder engines may overheat due to one or more problems with the electric water pump. Speedometer needle may vibrate at idle, fixed by reprogramming.