New BMW 5 Series revealed with sleek looks, in-car gaming, hands-free driving mode

Published May 24, 2023


Munich - While the latest 7 Series is unashamedly bold and brash, the new BMW 5 Series sedan, revealed on Wednesday, takes a sleeker design approach.

Like its bigger brother, however, the new 5 Series range introduces an all-electric variant for the first time (say hello to the i5) but the model range embraces the power of choice by offering petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid variants to customers.

It also allows for hands-free highway driving in certain markets, which we’ll get to a little later.

Unlike the recently unveiled new-gen Mercedes E-Class that it competes with, the new 5 Series doesn’t appear to ship with a selfie camera, but there is an in-car gaming system (fist pump to Elon Musk).

This forms part of the new BMW Operating System 8.5, which comes with a wider range of digital entertainment and information content as well as faster update cycles.

The in-car gaming system uses the AirConsole platform, and allows the driver and passengers to play “casual” games while the car is stationary - something you might appreciate while waiting for your i5 to charge up.

The new electronic brain, which can be ordered with up to four 5G mobile antennas, also ushers in a fresh iDrive interface, complete with a more user-friendly ‘Quick select’ menu structure that places vertically arranged function icons on the driver’s side of the central screen.

The Curved Display cockpit includes a 12.3-inch (31.2cm) digital instrument cluster and 14.9-inch (37.8cm) central display, and can be operated via touch or natural language voice control. Those opting for the Live Cockpit Professional package will also get to enjoy the BMW Head-Up Display and Augmented View on the Control Display or instrument cluster.

Also optional is an “interaction bar” that allows certain functions to be controlled using gestures.

We could discuss the new cabin tech all day, but let’s take a look at the powertrains BMW will be offering in the new 5-Series.

Topping the range is the new BMW i5 M60 xDrive all-electric model and this will also form part of the initial South African range. It’s set apart by numerous M-specific design features as well as an 8mm-lower Adaptive Suspension system, while power comes from a twin-motor, all-wheel drive powertrain that produces 442kW and 820Nm.

With M Sport Boost or M Launch Control activated, the M60 will sprint from 0-100km/h in just 3.8 seconds, making it just half a second slower than the current M5 Competition. Thanks to an 81.2kWh battery, the M60 can cover up to 516km between charges, on the WLTP cycle.

In certain overseas markets BMW will also offer an i5 eDrive40 model with rear-wheel drive, outputs of 250kW and 430Nm, and a WLTP range of up to 582km, but this won’t be sold in Mzansi.

The only other variant that will be offered in the initial South African range is the new 520d, featuring a 48V mild-hybrid four-cylinder turbodiesel engine and outputs of 145kW and 400Nm.

Two plug-in hybrid models, as well as a six-cylinder diesel, will join the 5 Series line-up in 2024, BMW says.

As you’d expect at this level, a vast array of driver assistance features are offered, and BMW has “significantly” expanded the range of systems for the new model.

The carmaker is particularly proud of its new Driving Assistant Professional option which, in some markets where it’s legal, includes a Highway Assistant that allows for completely hands-free driving on dual carriageway highways at speeds of up to 130km/h. BMW says you’ll be able to take your hands off the wheel and position them comfortably as long as you “keep a close eye on the traffic”.

Another world first is the Active Lane Change Assistant with eye activation. When the vehicle suggests a lane change, the driver can make it happen simply by looking in the exterior mirror.

The new BMW 5 Series and i5 are locked and loaded to hit world markets from the fourth quarter of 2023.

IOL Motoring