Facelifted BMW 5 Series gets a mild grilling in 2020

  • Updated looks and driver-assistance tech
  • Mild-hybrid technology now fitted, plus additional PHEV
  • Available from July 2020, new plug-in hybrids arrive November

BMW 5 Series facelift 2020

Despite ballooning in size over the generations, the BMW 5 Series remains excellent to drive compared with its rivals such as the Audi A6 and Mercedes-Benz E-Class. Having been on sale since 2017, it's time for a facelift in 2020.

Along with exterior styling tweaks, the biggest updates can be found with more fuel-efficient engines, a plug-in hybrid 530e option for the estate-bodied Touring, an additional plug-in hybrid option for the saloon, and revised driver assistance tech.

Minor styling tweaks

The changes might be minor, but they make quite a big difference to the 2020 5 Series facelift – especially up front. The front kidney grilles are both wider and taller and the headlights are less bulbous than before. If you spec the adaptive LED headlights or BMW Laserlights option, these will also incorporate the latest L-shaped LED light signature - similar to the ones found on the sportier 8 Series. Standard models continue to come with the familiar U-shaped daytime-running lights.

Certain models – we suspect non-M Sport ones - also get chrome triangular inserts on the outer edges of the front bumper in place of where the fog lights used to live. Meanwhile, minor tweaks at the rear comprise of a thickly-lit, C-shaped light signature for the LED taillights, replacing the outgoing model’s thinly-lit L-shaped ones. The lower bumper diffuser has been changed to be more sporty on the saloon models, while the Touring version in our pictures wears a chrome strip just above the rear exhausts.

BMW 5 Series facelift rear light 2020

The M Sport package features new designs for 19- and 20-inch wheels to go with the bodykit and M Sport steering wheel, while a new limited-edition M Sport Edition model comes with its own 20-inch wheel design and exclusive choice of metallic grey or blue paint finish.

Mild hybrid tech to boost fuel efficiency

The most widespread change under the bonnet is the fitment of mild-hybrid technology to increase fuel efficiency on the current engine range. Prior to this, it was only the 520d that benefited from this system in late 2019, but this now includes the 520i, 530i and 540i xDrive petrol engines, as well as the 530d diesel – the two diesels continue to be available with the firm’s optional xDrive all-wheel drive system. As with most mild-hybrid systems, this will involve the use of a 48v starter-generator and a secondary battery to store and deploy a small amount of electrical energy.

Figures for fuel economy and CO2 emissions are to be confirmed, however, so check back with us when we have the latest updates.

An M Performance model, badged M550i is also available for the first time, with power coming courtesy of a 4.4-litre turbocharged V8 petrol engine. Power is rated at 530hp, with 750Nm of torque – figures that mirror the sportier M850i coupe – and 0-62mph takes 3.8 seconds.

Just like the smaller M135i and M235i, this isn’t viewed as a closely-related version of the M5, but more of a stepping-stone from the standard 5 Series. This means, while there is an M Sport differential and adaptive M suspension fitted to improve handling performance, there should still be a higher degree of everyday usability and lower running costs compared with the flagship M5.

New addition for plug-in hybrid range

The 530e continues to be offered as a plug-in hybrid with rear- or all-wheel drive, but a new six-cylinder-engined 545e xDrive for the saloon will arrive in November 2020.

BMW 5 Series plug-in hybrid facelift 2020

Figures for performance, mpg and CO2 emissions are yet to be confirmed.

Even minor cabin changes

At the time of writing, there were no pictures released of the 5 Series' cabin, which may indicate how identical it will look inside.

BMW claims to have fitted a ‘larger 12.3-inch infotainment screen’, but those who’ve recently purchased the outgoing 5 Series should have a screen of this size as standard already. Those with experience of an earlier model and its 10.25-inch screen will notice this change the most.

However, updates to the camera and radar-based driver assistance systems bring improvements to how the lane-changing assist and adaptive cruise control system behaves. Park assist is now standard, while the option of the Drive Recorder, as found on more expensive BMWs, can use the cameras to record and store footage in the event of an accident.

Trim levels include SE, M Sport and M Sport Edition, as well as the new, saloon-only M Performance M550i xDrive.

All models come with leather seats, heated front seats, front electric lumbar support, DAB radio, climate control, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

The saloon is available from July 2020, with the cheapest model being the 520i SE at £37,480 and the M550i xDrive being the most pricey at £67,595. Those wanting the newer plug-in hybrid 545e xDrive will have to wait until November 2020.

BMW 5 Series Touring facelift 2020

For those who want more practicality, the cheapest estate-bodied Touring is the 520i at £39,730, with the 540i xDrive being the most expensive at £58,795. For the first time, you can also have a plug-in hybrid 530e Touring which is available from November 2020.

What this means for you

Despite the 5 Series growing in exterior size and bulk, this is still viewed as the choice for drivers when it comes to fun and involvement. This 2020 facelift should mean a small incremental increase in fuel efficiency, while the latest tech should keep it up to date with rivals. Thankfully the styling tweaks are minor enough to prevent putting off any existing fans or owners. Win-win?

Check back with Parkers once we have to full review this summer.