2020 Porsche Panamera vs. 2020 BMW 5 Series Sedan

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/01/18

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Porsche Panamera are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The BMW 5 Series Sedan doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.

Both the Panamera and 5 Series Sedan have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The Panamera offers optional power child safety locks, allowing the driver to activate and deactivate them from the driver's seat and to know when they're engaged. The 5 Series Sedan’s child locks have to be individually engaged at each rear door with a manual switch. The driver can’t know the status of the locks without opening the doors and checking them.

The Panamera offers available whiplash protection, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the whiplash protection system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The 5 Series Sedan doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

Both the Panamera and the 5 Series Sedan have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available crash mitigating brakes, night vision systems, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and around view monitors.

Reliability

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The battery on the Panamera is in the trunk, which protects it from hot underhood temperatures that can degrade battery life. By keeping the Panamera’s battery 20 to 30 degrees cooler, its life is increased by years. The 5 Series Sedan’s battery is in the hot engine compartment.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Porsche vehicles are better in initial quality than BMW vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Porsche 15th in initial quality. With 6 more problems per 100 vehicles, BMW is ranked 20th.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Porsche vehicles are more reliable than BMW vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Porsche second in reliability, above the industry average. With 14 more problems per 100 vehicles, BMW is ranked 7th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Porsche vehicles are more reliable than BMW vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Porsche fourth in reliability. BMW is ranked 17th.

Engine

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The Panamera has more powerful engines than the 5 Series Sedan:

Horsepower

Torque

Panamera 3.0 turbo V6

330 HP

330 lbs.-ft.

Panamera 4S 2.9 turbo V6

440 HP

405 lbs.-ft.

Panamera GTS 4.0 turbo V8

453 HP

457 lbs.-ft.

Panamera 4 E-Hybrid 2.9 turbo V6

457 HP

516 lbs.-ft.

Panamera Turbo 4.0 turbo V8

550 HP

567 lbs.-ft.

Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid 4.0 turbo V8

677 HP

626 lbs.-ft.

530i 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder

248 HP

258 lbs.-ft.

540i 3.0 turbo 6-cylinder

335 HP

331 lbs.-ft.

M550i 4.4 turbo V8

523 HP

553 lbs.-ft.

As tested in Motor Trend the Panamera 4S is faster than the 540i:

Panamera

5 Series

Zero to 60 MPH

3.8 sec

4.9 sec

Quarter Mile

12.3 sec

13.5 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

111.3 MPH

106.2 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid gets better fuel mileage than the 530i xDrive (46 city/51 hwy vs. 24 city/31 hwy).

The Panamera 4 E-Hybrid can drive on battery power alone for up to 14 miles. The 5 Series Sedan must run its internal combustion engine to move.

An engine control system that can shut down half of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the Panamera Turbo/GTS’ fuel efficiency. The 5 Series Sedan doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.

The Panamera E Hybrid’s standard fuel tank has 3.1 gallons more fuel capacity than the 5 Series Sedan (21.1 vs. 18 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The Panamera’s standard fuel tank has 5.7 gallons more fuel capacity than the 5 Series Sedan (23.7 vs. 18 gallons).

Transmission

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The Panamera offers a standard sequential manual gearbox (SMG). With no clutch pedal to worry about and a fully automatic mode, an SMG is much more efficient than a conventional automatic but just as easy to drive. The 5 Series Sedan doesn’t offer an SMG or a conventional manual transmission.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the Panamera’s brake rotors are larger than those on the 5 Series Sedan:

Panamera

Panamera 4S

Panamera E-Hybrid/GTS

Panamera Turbo

Panamera opt.

530i

M550i

Front Rotors

13.8 inches

14.2 inches

15.4 inches

16.1 inches

16.5 inches

13.7 inches

14.7 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

13 inches

14.4 inches

15 inches

16.1 inches

13 inches

13.6 inches

The Panamera offers optional heat-treated ceramic brake rotors, which last ten to twenty times as long as conventional cast iron rotors, don’t rust, don’t fade during repeated high speed braking, and their lighter weight contribute to better braking, handling and acceleration. The 5 Series Sedan doesn’t offer ceramic brake rotors.

The Panamera stops much shorter than the 5 Series Sedan:

Panamera

5 Series Sedan

70 to 0 MPH

153 feet

168 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

101 feet

117 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the Panamera has larger standard tires than the 5 Series Sedan (F:265/45R19 & R:295/40R19 vs. 245/45R18). The Panamera’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the 5 Series Sedan (F:275/40R20 & R:315/35R20 vs. F:245/35R20 & R:275/30R20).

The Panamera’s standard 295/40R19 rear tires provide better handling because they have a lower 40 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the 5 Series Sedan’s standard 45 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Panamera has standard 19-inch wheels. Smaller 18-inch wheels are standard on the 5 Series Sedan. The Panamera’s optional 21-inch wheels are larger than the 20-inch wheels optional on the 5 Series Sedan.

Suspension and Handling

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The Panamera offers active sway bars, which help keep it flat and controlled during cornering, but disconnect at lower speeds to smooth the ride and offer greater off-road suspension articulation. This helps keep the tires glued to the road on-road and off. The 5 Series Sedan doesn’t offer an active sway bar system.

The Panamera offers an available adjustable active suspension system, which counteracts cornering forces actively, limiting body roll and improving handling and stability. BMW doesn’t offer an active suspension on the 5 Series Sedan.

The Panamera has a standard automatic load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The 5 Series Sedan doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Panamera is 2.3 inches wider in the front and .5 inches wider in the rear than the track on the 5 Series Sedan.

The Panamera 4S handles at 1.01 G’s, while the 530i pulls only .86 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Panamera Turbo executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 2.4 seconds quicker than the 530i (23.9 seconds @ .86 average G’s vs. 26.3 seconds @ .68 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the Panamera w/Rear Axle Steering’s turning circle is 2.1 feet tighter than the 5 Series Sedan’s (37.4 feet vs. 39.5 feet).

Chassis

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The Panamera offers available computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The 5 Series Sedan doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

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Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the Panamera 4dr Hatchback a Large car, while the 5 Series Sedan is rated a Mid-size.

The Panamera has 9.2 cubic feet more passenger volume than the 5 Series Sedan (108 vs. 98.8).

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Panamera’s available rear seats recline. The 5 Series Sedan’s rear seats don’t recline.

Cargo Capacity

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Pressing a switch automatically lowers the Panamera’s rear seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The 5 Series Sedan doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

Servicing Ease

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J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Porsche service is better than BMW. J.D. Power ranks Porsche first in service department satisfaction. With a 46% lower rating, BMW is ranked 11th.

Ergonomics

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The Panamera’s instruments include an oil pressure gauge and a temperature gauge - which could save your engine! Often ‘idiot lights’ don’t warn you until damage has been done. The 5 Series Sedan does not have an oil pressure gauge.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the Panamera offers an optional rear wiper. The 5 Series Sedan doesn’t offer a rear wiper.

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The Panamera offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The 5 Series Sedan doesn’t offer headlight washers.

Optional air conditioned front and rear seats keep the Panamera’s passengers comfortable and take the sting out of hot leather in summer. The 5 Series Sedan doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats in the rear.

Both the Panamera and the 5 Series Sedan offer optional massaging front seats. The Panamera also offers optional massaging rear seats in order to maximize comfort and eliminate fatigue on long trips. Massaging rear seats aren’t available in the 5 Series Sedan.

The Panamera Sport Turismo offers an optional 115-volt a/c outlet in the cargo area, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The 5 Series Sedan doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

Model Availability

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The Porsche Panamera comes in four door hatchback and station wagon bodystyles; the BMW 5 Series isn’t available as a station wagon.

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