When the first of the BMW 5 series debuted in the early 1970s, the German automaker scored an instant hit. Comfortable and sporty, these mid-size sedans helped break the niche market of the smaller 3 series and the dull image of the older BMW sedans. As part of BMW's second best-selling and most profitable car series, the BMW 525i became a key player in the executive car segment worldwide.
1982: The E28 525i
Employing BMW's new system of naming their vehicles, the BMW 525i nameplate stood for a member of the 5 series (5) that is equipped with 2.5L (25) fuel-injected engine (i). As a member of the E28 or the second generation of the BMW 5 series, the 525i came equipped with a slew of features including power windows, a central locking system, alloy wheels, standard fog lights, and a power sunroof.
1988: The E34 525i
The E34 was a much more significant generation for the 525i as the 5 series got major structure and suspension updates. Borrowing the style of the larger BMW 7 series, the E34 525i was roomier, sleeker, and even more reliable. In short, the E34 models were the ones that actually put the BMW 5 series in a league of their own.
With a much improved fuel economy, a powerful 189 horsepower engine, a touring or station wagon version, improved safety with new airbags and an ABS braking system, and an overall flawless performance, the 525i became the most popular E34 model with worldwide production of almost 250,000 units.
1995: The E39 525i
The E39 5 series put the saying "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" in effect by keeping most of what made the E34 have such a successful run. Only improving and refining the E34 with a lightweight alloy suspension system instead of steel, more engine power, and a more responsive rack-and-pinion steering.
There were also a couple of external changes to update the look of the 525i such as xenon headlights, standard daytime running lights, LED taillights, and a new bumper. However, most of the upgrades for the E39 were focused on the electronics and other internal components.
2003: The E60 525i
The introduction of the latest 525i model in the E60 edition made room for a longer and wider chassis, 188 horsepower in 2003 to 215 horsepower by 2010, and loads of high-tech safety and other electronic features including the iDrive system, Active Roll Stabilization (ARS), Active Cruise Control (ACC), and Park Distance Control (PDC). Apart from more power, space, and safety, the E60 525i also received radical changes in terms of its styling.