The 1996 BMW 5-Series had big shoes to fill; not only did it have to replace a highly popular line, which is not an easy thing to do under the best circumstances, but it had to do it after the introduction of the new 3-Series, which had set the bar very, very high. BMW outdid itself with this car, which shared only a few components with the car it replaced, namely the transmission and the differential. Developing an entire car from scratch it quite the expensive gambit, but BMW spared no expense with the 5-Series, and it showed. The suspension in particular, made entirely from aluminum, was light and agile, and endowed this relatively big car with excellent handling.
The new BMW 5-Series was powered by an inline six-cylinder engine, with 24 valves and a 2.8 liter displacement. The result was a smooth engine cranking out 190 horsepower; this was good to take the 5-Series to a top speed of 145 mph and a 0-60 acceleration time of 8.5 seconds.
The 1996 BMW 5-Series did not only have admirers; it also had detractors. Some found that BMW had gone so far in making the car perfect that it’s lack of obvious flaws made it bland and a little boring. To each his own.