BMW used the same philosophy on most of its car lines: Design a sophisticated front-engine/rear-drive car, then fit it with a variety of drivelines to create different models across a broad price range. It had done this with the compact 3-series, the large 7-series and the midsize 5-Series as well (since 1972).

Competitors for these BMWs ranged from Chrysler's LHS to Mercedes' E420, including such mid-price luxury models as the Lexus GS 300 and the Infiniti J30.

At the beginning of the E28 generation (1983-1988), there were two engine sizes: 528e and 533i, the latter being replaced by a 535i in 1985, when a new 524td engine was also introduced for only two model years.

In 1987, a new 535is was released, followed by the M5 in 1988.

The E34 generation began in 1989. The 528e was replaced by a new 525i, while the 535i and 535is merged to one engine size (535i), and the M5 was dropped.

Year-to-year changes[edit | edit source]

1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 Discontinued
525i 4DR Sedan 528i 4DR Sedan 2000
535i 4DR Sedan 530i 4DR Sedan
N/A 525i 4DR Wagon N/A 528i 4DR Wagon 2000
N/A 530i 4DR Wagon
M5 4DR Sedan 540i 4DR Sedan 2001
N/A 540i 4DR Wagon 1999

1991[edit | edit source]

The entry-level 5-series sedan, the 525i, shared its 189-hp 2.5-liter inline Six and 5-speed gearbox with the smaller 325i. The 535i had a 3.4-liter I6 engine with 208 horsepower. The M5 was brought back this model year with an even bigger 3.5-liter I6 engine with 310 horsepower.

1993[edit | edit source]

A station wagon version of the 525i was released, but BMW preferred to call it a "Touring" model.

1994[edit | edit source]

In 1994, two new trim levels replaced the old 535i and M5. The 530i, available in both sedan and wagon body styles for the first time, had a torquey 215-hp 3.0-liter V8; while the top-line 540i, available only as a 4-door sedan, had a 282-hp 4.0-liter version of this same engine. A 6-speed manual transmission was optional on the 540i.

The 540i was a high-performance sport sedan in the $50,000 range. It was fast, had superb handling, excellent brakes and was as comfortable as any other midsize luxury sedan. Comfort is something you don't always get when a car's emphasis is on "sport" rather than "luxury."

BMW's AST computerized traction control was standard on the 530i Touring station wagon and available on all other 5-series models. The 530i Touring wagon also included a unique dual sunroof as standard, optional on the less expensive 525i Touring.

1997[edit | edit source]

After skipping the 1996 model year, the 5-Series sedan was redesigned and released on sale as an early 1997 model on April 27, 1996. There were two engine sizes: 528i and 540i.

Retail prices[edit | edit source]

4DR Sedan[edit | edit source]

Model year(s) Engine size List price Destination charge Effective date
1991 2.5L $34,500 $375 February 10, 1991
1991 3.5L $42,600 $375 February 10, 1991
1991 3.5L (M5) $56,600 $375 February 10, 1991
1992 2.5L $35,600 $375 October 13, 1991
1992 3.5L $44,350 $375 October 13, 1991
1992 3.5L (M5) $58,600 $375 March 1, 1992
1993 2.5L $37,100 $405 December 1992
1993 3.5L $44,350 $405 December 1992
1993 3.5L (M5) $60,700 $405 December 1992
1994 2.5L $34,900 $450 Q1 1994
1994 3.0L $41,500 $450 Q1 1994
1994 4.0L $47,500 $450 Q1 1994
1995 2.5L $35,300 $470 October 1994
1995 3.0L $41,750 $470 October 1994
1995 4.0L $47,950 $470 October 1994
1995-1996 2.5L $36,500 $570 May 22, 1995
1995-1996 3.0L $44,400 $570 May 22, 1995
1995-1996 4.0L $49,000 $570 May 22, 1995
1997 2.8L $38,900 $570 July 27, 1997
1997 4.4L (540iA) $49,900 $570 July 27, 1997
1997 4.4L (540i 6M) $52,350 $570 July 27, 1997

As of 2017, a modern-day BMW 3-Series costs as much as an early 90's BMW 5-Series.

4DR Wagon[edit | edit source]

Model year(s) Engine size List price Destination charge Effective date
1992 2.5L $38,600 $375 March 1, 1992
1993 2.5L $39,800 $405 December 1992
1994 2.5L $37,300 $450 Q1 1994
1994 3.0L $45,800 $450 Q1 1994
1995 2.5L $37,700 $470 October 1994
1995 3.0L $47,050 $470 October 1994
1995.5 2.5L $38,900 $570 May 22, 1995
1995.5 3.0L $48,600 $570 May 22, 1995
1999 2.8L $40,700 $570 Q3 1998
1999 4.4L $53,480 $570 Q3 1998

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Video Clips[edit | edit source]

BMW_525i_4DR_Wagon

BMW 525i 4DR Wagon

BMW_540i_4DR_Sedan

BMW 540i 4DR Sedan

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