The 2017 BMW 530i confirms the death of the driver’s car. – Forbes

Posted: Thursday, June 15, 2017
2017 BMW 530i

Dan Roth

2017 BMW 530i

The driver’s car appears to be headed for retirement, just like its buyers.

During a week with the 2017 BMW 530i, the graying of the segment became obvious. You can’t fault BMW for knowing its buyers. According to NADA, the average car buyer is 51.7 years old and earns $80,000 per year. If that’s the average, it’s safe to assume that BMW buyers are richer and that 5 Series buyers may be older on average. While those folks may have gotten their kicks in the ‘80s and ‘90s, they’re ready to relax now. And BMW has relaxed the 5 Series with them, turning it into a Bavarian interpretation of classic luxury-car values: big, quiet, comfortable, and confident – but not really fun.

The world has changed, as well. Traffic is bad, and up-and-comers don’t yet have the same buying power as the greybeards. “It takes four millennials to replace one boomer,” NADA chief economist Steven Szakaly told the CAR Management Briefing Seminars. That means younger folks are not able to purchase a house in the suburbs, even if they wanted to, and that’s already changing the face of commuting. City-dwellers have other car-free options to get to work. Add all of these factors up, and the result is that the driver’s car sure ain’t what it used to be.

It’s more.

More size, more weight, way more technology. Also more performance, but more aloof, too. So while the 2017 BMW 5 Series will wipe the floor with the E34 generation of the 1990s – the car that caused me to fall deeply, madly in thrall with BMW in the first place, you wouldn’t even know it. It’s not a shock that the new 5 Series can out-perform the older generation so effortlessly. What’s disappointing is that it’s more numb, so you don’t even bother. I actually found it boring.

And also less.

There’s fewer mechanical quirks or bad habits than ever before. There’s a lot less scheduled maintenance required. But we need to have demons to make our angels shine, and there were none easily found with the 530i, so the car was much less involving or interesting than I had hoped. You’re going to have to flirt dangerously close to actual disaster with this car to get your heart racing, and that’s because it’s the least-tactile 5 Series I’ve ever driven.


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