BMW has taken the wraps off its sixth generation 5 Series saloon. It has new looks, new technology, even greater efficiency – and the promise of a class-leading drive.
The new BMW 5 Series looks more like an enlarged than the shrunken 7 Series we were expecting. It is still highly contoured, but likely to be less controversial than the ‘flame-surfaced’ car that went before it. BMW points to the upright ‘kidney’ grille and the coupé-like roofline as evidence of the car’s sporting intent.
But the new 5 Series doesn’t just look different. Technological highlights include automatic start-stop, an eight-speed automatic gearbox option and double wishbone front suspension – all firsts for the large, luxury car class.
It also has a longer wheelbase than its rivals, which should be good news for both ride comfort and interior space. There is an additional 13mm of rear knee-room, for example, as well as a 520-litre boot.
The dashboard is angled slightly towards the driver, while the finish is more luxurious than before – including new ‘black panel’ secondary control area design from the 7 Series and .
BMW 5 Series engines
The biggest seller in the UK is predicted to be the 520d. This four-cylinder 2.0-litre turbodiesel uses the latest common rail injection technology to emit as little as 132g/km CO2 (all figures subject to confirmation) and return 56.5mpg, while producing 181bhp and sprinting 0-62mph in just 8.1 seconds. Top speed is 141mph.
Straight-six 525d and 530d turbos complete the diesel line-up, with maximum power of 241bhp and maximum emissions of 166g/km CO2 – highly impressive.
On the petrol side, straight-sixes at launch see the return of 523i and 528i models, as well as the 535i. These are powerful and efficient, thanks to High Precision Direct Injection – plus turbocharging in the case of the 535i. The figures for the 535i are 199g/km CO2, 301bhp and 0-62mph in 6.0 seconds.
A 550i twin-turbo V8 petrol with 401bhp completes the range. In this model the 0-62mph dash takes 5.0 seconds, and emissions are 243g/km CO2.
Efficient Dynamics for new 5 Series
Unsurprisingly, BMW is rolling out a whole suite of Efficient Dynamics technologies for the new 5 Series.
This includes automatic start-stop and gearshfit indicators for cars with manual gearboxes, brake energy regeneration, active aerodynamics, low rolling-resistance tyres and more efficient gearbox designs – which also promise a ‘smoother, sportier gearshift’.
The eight-speed automatic gearbox fitted as standard on the 550i is the same as that in the 7 Series.
In addition to all this, the new 5 Series is available with Variable Damper Control and Adaptive Drive packages, allowing the buyer to fine-tune suspension settings, steering and throttle response to their preferences via Dynamic Drive Control. This gives a choice of Normal, Comfort, Sport and Sport+ settings.
BMW 5 Series standard equipment
The new BMW is also set to be the best equipped 5 Series ever. Leather, Bluetooth and a stereo upgrade have all become standard, while the entry-level 520d also gains automatic air conditioning.
Using 15% VAT prices, BMW reckons the cost increase for the new model is as little as £125 – yet the new 5 Series comes with £2,230-worth of previously optional extras, so it looks like better value.
An array of high-tech toys adorn the options list, including Park Assist (which allows the BMW to park itself), Night Vision with pedestrian recognition, a Head-up Display and Speed Limit Info (which displays the speed limit so you don’t have to guess). Various packages will also be available to combine popular options choices.
Pricing for new 5 Series
The new BMW 5 Series looks set to continue BMW’s strong tradition in the executive sector.
It goes on sale on 20 March 2010. Prices start at £23,165 for the 520d SE, rising to £50,520 for the 550i SE (including the increase to 17.5 percent VAT on 1 January 2010).
Expect additional trim levels and new engines to be announced in due course.
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