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History of the BMW 5 Series

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Topics:  BMW 5 Series

History of the BMW 5 Series

John Stone
February 4, 2014


The BMW 5 Series is the mid size luxury sedan from BMW. The car has been in existence since 1972, and is currently in its sixth generation.

The first generation BMW 5 Series was known was the BMW E12, and was produced from 1972-1981. This was the first generation of BMW 5 series sedans ever produced, and were not nearly as popular as the vehicle is today. The car was produced with a much smaller engine, especially in Europe and countries outside the US. In foreign countries, the car featured typically a 1.8 or 2.0 liter engine, and in the United States, the car featured a 2.8 or 3.0 liter engine, which is a 6 cylinder, but still fairly small engine, compared to today's standards, especially for luxury vehicles.

The next generation of the BMW 5 series would be known as the E28. This generation of the 5 series would be produced from 1982-1988. This new generation featured a slightly different exterior look, including revised headlights, bumpers, and taillights. The car also featured a more square like figure, rather than rounded edges, commonly seen on vehicles today. The size of the car increased, as well as the size of the vehicles engine. This generation 5 series featured engines ranging from 2.7 liters, to 3.5 liters, depending on the model purchased, and the owner's country. This engine size is closer to what you see engine sizes in BMW and all manufacturers cars today.

In 1988, the BMW 5 series went through yet another redesign, and would stay this way until 1996. This is actually one of my favorite designs of the 5 series, despite its outdated look compared to the newest 5 series sold and seen on the road today. This generation of the 5 series would be known as the E34. This was considered one of the most elegant cars of the time, and received many awards for its luxury status, safety features, and reliability.

The E39 5 series sedan would be released in 1995, and this look would remain until 2003. This look also has the square like front, similar to some of the older 5 series sedans, and was fairly popular in sales in the US. This design is still commonly seen on the road today, despite being outdated. This car received spectacular ratings by a variety of different car magazines, raters, and critics. This version is one of BMW's most popular models.

The E60 and E61 is the current BMW 5 series model, and this has been in existence since 2003. This design is also very stylish, and is also a very popular model sold by BMW. This generation has a bunch of new features; mostly technology based ones, that allow for luxury and convenience for the owner of the vehicle.

Overall, the BMW 5 series is a beautiful car, and has no signs of going away anytime soon, with future models already being in the works. If you're interested in learning more about the 5 series, simply head to BMW's website, BMW.com.


John Stone recomends the following Youtube channel for more about BMW, here



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