2021 BMW 5 Series Sedan vs. 2020 Dodge Charger

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 2020/10/20

The 5 Series Sedan’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Charger doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

The 5 Series Sedan has standard PostCrash iBrake, which automatically apply the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Charger doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

A passive infrared night vision system optional on the 5 Series Sedan helps the driver to more easily detect people, animals or other objects in front of the vehicle at night. Using an infrared camera to detect heat, the system then displays the image on a monitor in the dashboard. The Charger doesn’t offer a night vision system.

The 5 Series Sedan offers an optional Surround View to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Charger only offers a rear monitor and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the front or sides.

The 5 Series Sedan’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Charger doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the 5 Series Sedan and the Charger have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras and available all wheel drive.

A significantly tougher test than their original offset frontal crash test, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety does 40 MPH small overlap frontal offset crash tests. In this test, where only 25% of the total width of the vehicle is struck, results indicate that the BMW 5 Series Sedan is safer than the Charger:

5 Series Sedan

Charger

Overall Evaluation

GOOD

MARGINAL

Restraints

GOOD

GOOD

Head Neck Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Head injury index

183

222

Peak Head Forces

0 G’s

0 G’s

Steering Column Movement Rearward

0 cm

9 cm

Chest Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Max Chest Compression

23 cm

28 cm

Hip & Thigh Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Femur Force R/L

.5/1.1 kN

3.7/3 kN

Hip & Thigh Injury Risk R/L

0%/0%

1%/0%

Lower Leg Evaluation

GOOD

POOR

Tibia index R/L

.33/.49

1.21/.58

Tibia forces R/L

3/2.5 kN

3/4.7 kN

For its top level performance in IIHS driver and passenger-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, roof strength and head restraint tests, its standard front crash prevention system, and its headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the 5 Series Sedan its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2019, a rating granted to only 82 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Charger was not even a standard “Top Pick” for 2016.

Warranty

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The 5 Series Sedan comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Charger’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

The 5 Series Sedan’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the Charger’s (12 vs. 5 years).

BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the 5 Series Sedan for 3 years and 36,000 miles. BMW will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Dodge doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Charger.

Reliability

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For smoother operation, better efficiency and fewer moving parts, the engines in the 5 Series Sedan have an overhead cam design, rather than the old pushrod design of some of the engines in the Charger.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Dodge vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 7th in reliability, above the industry average. With 56 more problems per 100 vehicles, Dodge is ranked 28th.

Engine

© 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 2020/10/20

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

Horsepower

Torque

540i 3.0 turbo 6-cylinder hybrid

335 HP

332 lbs.-ft.

M550i 4.4 turbo V8

523 HP

553 lbs.-ft.

Charger 3.6 DOHC V6

292 HP

260 lbs.-ft.

Charger 3.6 DOHC V6

300 HP

264 lbs.-ft.

Charger R/T 5.7 V8

370 HP

395 lbs.-ft.

Charger Scat Pack 6.4 V8

485 HP

475 lbs.-ft.

Fuel Economy and Range

© 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 2020/10/20

On the EPA test cycle the 5 Series Sedan gets better fuel mileage than the Charger:

MPG

5 Series Sedan

RWD

530i 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

25 city/33 hwy

540i 3.0 turbo 6-cyl. Hybrid

25 city/32 hwy

AWD

530i 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

23 city/32 hwy

540i 3.0 turbo 6-cyl. Hybrid

23 city/31 hwy

M550i 4.4 turbo V8

17 city/25 hwy

Charger

RWD

3.6 DOHC V6

19 city/30 hwy

5.7 DOHC V8

16 city/25 hwy

6.4 DOHC V8

15 city/24 hwy

AWD

3.6 DOHC V6

18 city/27 hwy

Regenerative brakes improve the 5 Series Sedan’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Charger doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the 5 Series Sedan’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Charger doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

Brakes and Stopping

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

5 Series Sedan

Charger

Front Rotors

13.7 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

12.6 inches

The 5 Series Sedan’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs standard on the Charger SXT are solid, not vented.

The 5 Series Sedan stops shorter than the Charger:

5 Series Sedan

Charger

60 to 0 MPH

103 feet

106 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the 5 Series Sedan has larger standard tires than the Charger (245/45R18 vs. 215/65R17).

The 5 Series Sedan’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Charger SXT’s standard 65 series tires. The 5 Series Sedan’s optional 275/30R20 rear tires have a lower 30 series profile than the Charger Scat Pack Widebody’s 35 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the 5 Series Sedan has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the Charger SXT.

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires standard on the 5 Series Sedan can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The Charger doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

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The 5 Series Sedan 540i/M550i 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 Charger doesn’t offer an active sway bar system.

The M550i offers an available adjustable active suspension system, which counteracts cornering forces actively, limiting body roll and improving handling and stability. Dodge doesn’t offer an active suspension on the Charger.

The M550i xDrive executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Charger Scat Pack (24.9 seconds @ .77 average G’s vs. 25.3 seconds @ .8 average G’s).

Chassis

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The design of the BMW 5 Series Sedan amounts to more than styling. The 5 Series Sedan offers aerodynamic coefficients of drag from .27 to .29 Cd (depending on bodystyle and options). That is significantly lower than the Charger (.304 to .348) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the 5 Series Sedan get better fuel mileage.

The front grille of the 5 Series Sedan uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The Charger doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the 540i is quieter than the Charger Scat Pack:

5 Series Sedan

Charger

At idle

38 dB

52 dB

Full-Throttle

68 dB

87 dB

70 MPH Cruising

64 dB

71 dB

Passenger Space

© 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 2020/10/20

The 5 Series Sedan has .2 inches more front headroom and .9 inches more rear headroom than the Charger.

Cargo Capacity

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A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the 5 Series Sedan easier. The 5 Series Sedan’s trunk lift-over height is 26.2 inches, while the Charger’s liftover is 30.1 inches.

With its sedan body style, valet key, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the 5 Series offers cargo security. The Charger’s non-lockable folding seat and non-lockable remote release defeat cargo security.

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the 5 Series Sedan’s trunk can be opened just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The 5 Series Sedan also offers an optional power trunk, which opens and closes automatically by pressing a button or just by kicking your foot under the back bumper. The Charger doesn’t offer a power or hands-free opening trunk.

Ergonomics

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Unlike the driver-only memory system optional at extra cost in the Charger, the 5 Series Sedan offers an optional passenger memory, so that when drivers switch, the memory setting adjusts the driver’s seat, steering wheel position, outside mirror angle, climate settings and radio stations and the front passenger seat also adjusts to the new passenger’s preset preferences.

The 5 Series Sedan’s standard easy entry system raises the steering wheel, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. An easy entry system costs extra on the Charger.

The 5 Series Sedan offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Charger doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The 5 Series Sedan’s power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The Charger’s parking brake has to released manually.

The 5 Series Sedan’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Charger’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

The 5 Series Sedan’s power window, power lock, power mirror and cruise control switches are lit from behind, making them plainly visible and easier to operate at night. The Charger’s power mirror switches are unlit, making them difficult to find at night and operate safely.

The 5 Series Sedan’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Charger’s standard intermittent wipers change speed with vehicle speed, but can’t turn on and off or change speed based on changing rainfall.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The 5 Series Sedan’s available headlights were rated “Good” by the IIHS, while the Charger’s headlights are rated “Poor.”

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the 5 Series Sedan has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The Charger doesn’t offer cornering lights.

A power rear sunshade and manual rear side window sunshades are optional in the 5 Series Sedan to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The Charger doesn’t offer a rear sunshade.

The 5 Series Sedan’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Dodge charges extra for heated mirrors on the Charger.

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

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the BMW 5 Series offers an optional wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The Charger doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

The 5 Series Sedan’s optional Parking Assistant Plus can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, starting, stopping and changing direction automatically. Optional Remote Control Parking will park and retrieve your car remotely: press a button and watch it park itself. This is ideal for tight locations. The Charger doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Economic Advantages

© 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 2020/10/20

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the 5 Series Sedan is less expensive to operate than the Charger because it costs $63 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost less on the 5 Series Sedan than the Charger, including $24 less for a muffler, $20 less for front brake pads and $46 less for a fuel pump.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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