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BMW’s new 5 series ups ante in business class

POSTED BY Nigel Andretti ON 14 October 2016

BMW’s seventh-generation 5 Series will be 100kg lighter, more efficient, safer and packs more technology than the previous iteration of the luxury class sedan.

The new 5 Series is built on a new chassis and features an evolutionary design from the outgoing model that is in keeping with the larger 7 Series that launched last year.

Describing the 5 Series as the “world’s most successful business sedan,” BMW says the new version will launch in Europe with four engine variants with a choice of rear- or all-wheel drive traction, with more powertrain choices, including a plug-in hybrid, confirmed for later.

At 4935mm long, 1868mm wide 1466mm high and a 2975mm wheelbase, the new 5 Series is 36mm longer, 6mm wider, 2mm higher and has a 7mm longer wheelbase than the outgoing model.

To aid aerodynamics – it has a drag coefficient of 0.22, 10 per cent better than the old model – the new 5 Series has an active air flap for the radiator which opens the louvres in the kidney grille and lower air intakes when extra cooling is required.

At the rear, the 5 Series features a slimline version of the L-shaped LED tail-lights and from the side, the new model features a much more dynamic appearance – thanks in part to the more sloping roofline – than the car it replaces.

BMW says its new lightweight construction concept has ensured the 5 Series is up to 100kg lighter than the outgoing model, depending on the variant.

The first variants to launch in Europe include a pair of petrol and two diesel engines.

The 530i and 530i xDrive use a 185kW (248hp)/350Nm 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol engine that ensures a 0-100km/h dash time between 6.0 and 6.2 seconds, official European cycle combined fuel use of 5.4-5.7 litres per 100km, and CO2 emissions of 126-133g/km.

In 540i and 540i xDrive guise, the 5 Series is propelled by a 250kW/450Nm 3.0-litre six-cylinder petrol unit for a 0-100km/h time of 4.8-5.1s, 6.5-6.7L/100km fuel figures and 150-156g/km of CO2 emissions.

A 140kW/400Nm 2.0-litre four-pot turbo-diesel under the bonnet of the 520d and xDrive variant delivers a 0-100km/h time of 7.6-7.7s, fuel use of 4.0-4.1L/km and 107-108g/km of CO2.

The six-cylinder diesel in the 530d and 530d xDrive pumps out 195kW/620Nm for a 5.4-5.7s 0-100km/h dash time, 4.5-4.7L/100km fuel use figures and CO2 emissions of 118-125g/km.

A trio of diverse variants arrive shortly after these initial cars in Europe, including the super frugal 520d EfficientDynamics Edition that uses a 140kW/400Nm 2.0-litre diesel to squeeze out a 3.9L/100km fuel figure – and 102g/km of CO2 – matching Mercedes’ class-leading E220d.

Highlighting BMW’s commitment to roll out plug-in hybrid versions of virtually all of its passenger and SUVs in the coming years, the 5 Series will also be offered in 530e iPerformance guise which combines a 2.0-litre petrol engine with a plug-in hybrid eDrive system for a total output of 185kW/420Nm.

The 530e offers an electric-only range of about 45km, is good for a 0-100km/h dash of 6.2s and sips just 2.0L/100km – 0.1L less than the equivalent Mercedes E-Class plug-in – while emitting 46g/km of CO2.

Topping the range – at least until the announcement of the leaned-on M5 – is the M550i xDrive, which uses BMW’s 4.4-litre V8 pumping out 340kW and 650Nm, ensuring a 4.0s 0-100km/h sprint time, which is 0.6s quicker than the Mercedes-AMG E43. It consumes 8.9L/100km and emits 204g/km.

All 5 Series variants – except the 520d which uses a six-speed unit – are paired to an eight-speed Steptronic automatic transmission

The new 5 Series features a new Dynamic Damper System that adjusts the anti-roll bars with electric motors that are faster and lighter than the old hydraulic units.

It is also fitted with an Integral Active Steering rear-wheel steering system of xDrive variants and it has a new lightweight braking system.

BMW’s steps toward fully autonomous driving are evident in the new 5 Series, thanks to new tech such as the Steering and Lane Keep Assistance which works at up to 210km/h.

Other new active safety gear, depending on the variant, includes Lane Change Assistant and Intelligent Speed Assist which incorporates speed restrictions into the cruise control system, the evasion aid, Crossing traffic warning, Priority warning and Lane Keeping Assistant with active side collision protection.

BMW says that ‘networked’ BMW vehicles can also flag up approaching dangers.

In terms of new tech, the 5 Series gains the new Display Key as seen on the 7 Series that can enable remote controlled parking, while the ConnectedDrive suite expands and now includes Connected Onboard that gives info on available parking spaces. Microsoft Exchange allows syncing of calendars, emails and contacts details.

BMW AG chairman Harald Kruger said the all-new 5 Series highlights the car-maker’s ambition to be the technology leader in the automotive field.

“The seventh-generation of the BMW 5 Series points the way into the future, as we have defined it with our Number One > Next strategy,” he said. “We see technological leadership, emotionally rich products and digitalisation as essential factors in achieving success.

“With the expansion of our model portfolio in the large-vehicle classes, we are satisfying the wishes of many customers. I’m in no doubt that the new BMW 5 Series will set new benchmarks technologically, but also have huge emotional appeal. It remains the epitome of the business sedan.”