Midlife makeover for BMW's 5 Series
It might not look very different to the 5 Series that you know, but this latest one - just launched in SA - has undergone a facelift, or Life Cycle Impulse as BMW prefers to call it, and the changes would literally fill a book.
The Sedan and Gran Turismo have both received subtle exterior enhancements, but the latter also gains additional rear loading space as part of a new body shape around its hind quarters. Now you can load up to 500 litres (60 more than before) through its unconventional split tailgate system.
As with just about any automotive upgrade these days, the new models are more efficient thanks to enhanced aerodynamics that help towards making the entire range EU6 compliant - an emissions standard not to be enforced overseas until this time next year.
In addition, all new 5 Series models (barring M5) receive a new coasting mode inside standard eight-speed transmissions to save fuel, and an interesting Proactive Driving Assistant that works in tandem with the navigation system now advises drivers on precise moments when to lift off the throttle.
The only true mechanical update is in 550i models, where the twin-turbo V8 gets a shot of extra power, with ouputs rising to 330kW and 650Nm (from 300 and 600).
The new Five also brings plenty of fancy new electronica, including a heat-sensitive night vision camera function, High Beam Assistant and the iDrive system can now be ordered with a touch-sensitive pad that can read finger traces.
Come July next year, even more functionality will become available.
For more on that, be sure to see Jesse Adams' launch report this Thursday in the motoring section of The Star, Pretoria News, Cape Times or Mercury.