New BMW 5 Series - full details

A new BMW 5 Series is always a big moment in the automotive world, simply because it remains such an accomplished and popular product. Rather like the VW Golf or Mercedes S-Class, knowledge of it is handy because the car will inevitably come up in some kind of four-wheeled discussion. It's a key car for BMW too, the 5 Series always drawing on the 7 Series for its key features and then informing development of the 3 Series too. BMW may have diversified its product portfolio in recent years, but the saloons are still crucial.

Welcome aboard...
Welcome aboard...
So what's the important stuff? Plenty, although we'll spare you every detail of the 13,206-word press release. The key focus is on the technological advancements in the new 5 Series, particularly as far as autonomous driving is concerned. The car can take evasive action for you up to 99mph, change lanes by itself, maintain a radar-guided cruise from stationary to 130mph and park itself via the Display Key. If you don't want to drive, the 5 Series is more than happy to. Real Time Traffic Info and car-to-car communication will warn the driver about upcoming incidents (and pass the info on), with the Speed Limit Assist there in conjunction with the cruise control to keep your speed legal if all that is a bit distracting. But there's a Lane Departure and Change Warning, plus a Lane Keeping Assistant, to help out as well. On the way to your destination the ParkNow service will help you find a space, then the 5 Series will park itself (with you in or out of the car) once you arrive. Sure, some of this technology is optional, but the message from BMW is here is evident: autonomous tech is entering the mainstream. Officially the new 5 Series is "a big step further down the road to automated driving." Whether that's a good thing or not is up for debate...

However, if you still like driving, it's probably worth discussing engines and the new chassis tech as well. At launch next year, seven variants will be offered: 520d, 520d EfficientDynamics, 530d, 530i, 540i, M550i and 530e iPerformance. For the first time all models will be offered with xDrive, plus the option of four-wheel steer with xDrive (where previously it was only possible on two-wheel drive cars). So yes, a four-wheel drive, four-wheel steer 520d is a possibility... Of most interest to those of a PH persuasion will be the larger petrols, even if very few will sell. The 540i is powered by a 340hp 2,998cc turbo straight six (like the 340i), with 332lb ft as well. It's capable of 5.1 seconds to 62mph but also emits just 150g/km. The M550i xDrive will hit 62mph in just four seconds thanks to 462hp and the 530i replaces the old 528i with a new 2.0-litre four-cylinder. Remember when diesel superminis returned 126g/km and 52.3mpg, not 250hp petrol saloons?

No M5 just yet - sorry!
No M5 just yet - sorry!
Speaking of diesels, the 520d and 530d will surely prove most popular in the UK. The key figures for a 520d are 190hp, 295lb ft, 7.7 seconds to 62mph, 108g/km and 68.9mpg. Adding the auto marginally improves those figures, adding the auto and xDrive (the manual only being offered with two-wheel drive 520ds) fractionally reduces them. The EfficientDynamics car has the same power but is officially capable of 72.4mpg and 102g/km.

This G30 is fractionally larger than the outgoing F10, the wheelbase up 7mm to 2,975mm, the tracks wider and the overall length now 4,935mm (36mm more). Interestingly though BMW claims this 5 is up to 100kg less than the old car thanks to a construction that combines aluminium, high-tensile steels and magnesium. The official weight of a rear-wheel drive 520d auto with driver is 1,630kg. That new construction also means torsional rigidity is greater, while BMW also says unsprung masses have been reduced and the axle load ratio is "perfectly balanced" - it's still an old BMW in some regards!

As for dynamic options - good luck actually trying to spec a new 5 Series - the new electromechanical anti-roll bars are probably the most interesting. BMW promises "even greater precision and agility that makes for exciting nimble handling" with them fitted. The anti-roll bars are part of the Adaptive Drive option that also adds Dynamic Damper Control; their parameters are controlled, as expected by BMW's Driving Experience Control and familiar modes: Comfort, Sport and Eco Pro. A new 'Adaptive' mode is there if the dampers and a Professional nav upgrade are added.

Take old 5 Series, add some new 7 Series...
Take old 5 Series, add some new 7 Series...
The design of the new 5 Series is described as exuding "athletic prowess, elegance and stylistic assurance." While perhaps not as revolutionary as some may have expected, it does bring one key advantage: a drag co-efficient of just 0.22Cd, just better than an E-Class and said to be best in class. This will of course have benefits for refinement and economy. And that's it - the less said about the "mature, confidently stylish and dynamic impression" the better!

BMW will of course offer variations on the basic 5 Series theme, with 21 colours, wheels from 17- to 20 inch and the usual SE, Sport and M Sport specifications. In these pictures the blue car is Luxury spec (SE in the UK) and M Sport is silver.

Inside - we're nearly there now, don't worry - the 7 Series influence is even more obvious. There are massaging seats, gesture control and a touchscreen just for starters. Usefully BMW says three child seats can fit across the rear bench too, so there's even less need to buy an MPV. Options to help you out include an Intelligent Voice Assistant, a new head-up display, ambient lighting and the air ionisation technology also seen in the 7. An optional B&W stereo can even adjust its sound setting for the selected music genre.

So it's luxury very much to the fore in the seventh generation 5 Series. If it can combine the opulence found in the new E-Class with driving dynamics on a par with the Jaguar XF then it will be quite some car. Expect prices and full spec details for the UK later this year ahead of a debut at the Detroit show.










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Comments (168) Join the discussion on the forum

  • E65Ross 13 Oct 2016

    Seems nice enough. Not exactly a car which makes you think "wow" like the new Alfa does, but pleasant enough. Those economy figures are nothing short of absolutely incredible. How far cars have come on in terms of economy in the last 10-15 years is outstanding. Even if the diesel doesn't get 72mpg but only 60-65mpg that's still mighty impressive for a car this size with 190bhp.

  • daveco 13 Oct 2016

    Cars are becoming massive.

    This is approaching previous S-class size proportions yet weighs about the same as an E39 5 series.

  • kambites 13 Oct 2016

    1,630kg "EU" is mighty impressive for a car this size.

  • tonymor 13 Oct 2016

    It's a wonder there hasn't been invites from the dealerships to a launch to try and wow purchasers .

  • dme123 13 Oct 2016

    The width and length of this is sufficient to make all but the most generously proportioned UK car parking space very cramped. I am quite pleased you can get three child seats across the back though, options have always been limited on that front. Surely the 5 is at E38 7 series dimensions now?

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