I must credit my motor press colleague, George Kennedy with the quote, “Buyers should test-drive the infotainment system just as they do the vehicle.” He’s spot-on, and it’s harder to test an infotainment system if it is a brand with which you are unfamiliar. The good news for those Android owners moving to BMW is that the interface with Android Auto, and thus, all things Google, is simple, fast, intuitive, and FINALLY cord-free in the 2021 5 Series.
We have tested other BMW products with wireless Apple CarPlay and found it equally user-friendly. However, BMW was slow to adopt Android Auto at all. This despite Android dominating the German smartphone market and being a global market share leader. But the past is now behind us, let’s focus on what this means if you own a BMW and are team ‘Droid.
The 5 Series has the complete package for those who value a good infotainment system. The Harman Kardon audio is fantastic. Crisp, clear, and with satisfyingly deep bass that hits you in the chest. We found that Pandora sounded outstanding on its full bandwidth setting in the 5 Series.
The center infotainment screen has grown from 10.25 inches to 12.3. Nav is standard in case your crazy and don’t want to rock Google Maps or Waze. The screen accepts touch commands, remote interface commands, audio instructions, or gestures. Other than a mind-meld, the 5 Series offers every possible way to keep you focused on the road ahead and not be fussing with dials and knobs. If you like dials and knobs, use the head up display in combination with the steering wheel controls. The driver’s information display (gauge area) is informative and helpful and the TFT display changes to suit the driver’s needs and wants.
Our Samsung S9 fit snugly in its cradle and that we loved not having to use a cord. This is how infotainment should be in all vehicles and sadly, is not. Those who value a great infotainment system design as much as they value an inline six-cylinder with torque and power to spare and an perfectly-tuned chassis will love the new 2021 BMW 5 Series.
Our 540i xDrive sedan tester had a price of $68,795 including destination fees.