2021 BMW 5 Series Sedan vs. 2020 Nissan Maxima

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 2020/10/30

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 Maxima 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 Maxima 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.

The 5 Series Sedan offers all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Maxima doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

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 Maxima doesn’t offer a night vision system.

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

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 Maxima is only a standard “Top Pick” for 2019.

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 Maxima’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 Maxima’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. Nissan doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Maxima.

Reliability

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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 Nissan vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 7th in reliability, above the industry average. With 15 more problems per 100 vehicles, Nissan is ranked 15th.

Engine

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The 540i’s standard 3.0 turbo 6-cylinder hybrid produces 35 more horsepower (335 vs. 300) and 71 lbs.-ft. more torque (332 vs. 261) than the Maxima’s 3.5 DOHC V6. The M550i’s standard 4.4 turbo V8 produces 223 more horsepower (523 vs. 300) and 292 lbs.-ft. more torque (553 vs. 261) than the Maxima’s 3.5 DOHC V6.

As tested in Car and Driver the 540i 3.0 turbo 6-cylinder is faster than the Nissan Maxima:

5 Series

Maxima

Zero to 60 MPH

4.7 sec

5.9 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

11.1 sec

14.1 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

5.6 sec

6 sec

Quarter Mile

13.2 sec

14.4 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

109 MPH

101 MPH

Top Speed

155 MPH

135 MPH

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 2020/10/30

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

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

Maxima

FWD

3.5 DOHC V6

20 city/30 hwy

Regenerative brakes improve the 5 Series Sedan’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Maxima 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 Maxima doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

Transmission

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The 5 Series Sedan’s launch control uses engine electronics to hold engine RPM’s precisely in order to provide the most stable and rapid acceleration possible, using all of the available traction. The Maxima doesn’t offer launch control.

Brakes and Stopping

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

530i

M550i

Maxima

Front Rotors

13.7 inches

14.7 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

13.6 inches

12.13 inches

The 5 Series Sedan stops much shorter than the Maxima:

5 Series Sedan

Maxima

60 to 0 MPH

103 feet

125 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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The 5 Series Sedan’s optional 245/35R20 front and 275/30R20 rear tires provide better handling because they have a lower 35 series front and 30 series rear profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Maxima SR/Platinum’s 40 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the 5 Series Sedan offers optional 20-inch wheels. The Maxima’s largest wheels are only 19-inches.

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 Maxima doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

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The 5 Series Sedan has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The Maxima’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

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 Maxima 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. Nissan doesn’t offer an active suspension on the Maxima.

The 5 Series Sedan offers an optional driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads. The Maxima’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the 5 Series Sedan’s wheelbase is 7.8 inches longer than on the Maxima (117.1 inches vs. 109.3 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the 5 Series Sedan is .7 inches wider in the front and 1.3 inches wider in the rear than the track on the Maxima.

The 5 Series Sedan’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (50.5% to 49.5%) than the Maxima’s (60.7% to 39.3%). This gives the 5 Series Sedan more stable handling and braking.

The M550i xDrive handles at .92 G’s, while the Maxima Platinum pulls only .81 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The M550i xDrive executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 2.1 seconds quicker than the Maxima Platinum (24.9 seconds @ .77 average G’s vs. 27 seconds @ .67 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 lower than the Maxima (.29 to .3) 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 Maxima doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Passenger Space

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The 5 Series Sedan has 2 inches more front shoulder room, .8 inches more rear headroom, 2.3 inches more rear legroom and .2 inches more rear shoulder room than the Maxima.

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 Maxima’s liftover is 28.8 inches.

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 Maxima doesn’t offer a power or hands-free opening trunk.

Servicing Ease

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The engine in the 5 Series Sedan is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the Maxima. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because there are no rear spark plugs and the accessory belts are in front.

Ergonomics

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Unlike the driver-only memory system in the Maxima SR/Platinum, 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 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 Maxima 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 Maxima’s parking brake has to released manually.

The power windows standard on both the 5 Series Sedan and the Maxima have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the 5 Series Sedan is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Maxima prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

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 Maxima’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

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 Maxima’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 Maxima’s headlights are rated “Acceptable.”

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 Maxima 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 Maxima doesn’t offer rear side window sunshades.

The 5 Series Sedan’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Nissan only offers heated mirrors on the Maxima SV/SL/SR/Platinum.

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 Maxima.

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 Maxima 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 Maxima doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Economic Advantages

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Insurance will cost less for the 5 Series Sedan owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the 5 Series Sedan will cost $1215 less than the Maxima over a five-year period.

Recommendations

© 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 2020/10/30

The BMW 5 Series outsold the Nissan Maxima by 10% during 2019.

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