The all-new BMW 5-Series goes on sale in South Africa in March 2017.
The all-new BMW 5-Series goes on sale in South Africa in March 2017.

Denis Droppa

Munich, Germany - The wraps have come off the new 5 Series, and being the seventh generation of BMW’s mid-sized executive sedan it’s apt that the car is essentially a shrink-wrapped 7 Series.

Larger, lighter

The best-selling car in its segment, accounting for 7.6 million owners since the Mk1 5 Series was launched back in 1972, is now packed with much of the modern connectivity and self-drive technology of the larger Seven, while the new Five has also grown slightly larger. In a bid to take on the impressive new Mercedes E-Class that was launched recently, improved aerodynamics and acoustics have made this BMW even more refined, but with a lightened body and uprated suspension the Bavarian sedan still places the focus firmly on driving pleasure.

Around 100kg has been shaved off by using more aluminium and magnesium in the construction, while body strength and torsional stiffness has been increased. A low centre of gravity, a 50/50 front to rear weight distribution and lightened suspension assist both handling and ride comfort.

Gadgets galore

Dynamic Damper Control (or optionally a more advanced Adaptive Drive system) adapts suspension stiffness to the driving situation, while another extra-cost option is rear-wheel steering for improved cornering agility and directional stability. As before, a Driving Experience Control switch allows drivers to choose between sporty, comfortable or extra-fuel- efficient vehicle settings.

The new BMW 5 Series is slightly larger than the outgoing model – 36mm longer, 6mm wider and 2mm taller – and the boot has grown to 530 litres (up by 10 litres).

The latest generation of the BMW Head-Up Display is around 70% larger than in the outgoing model.

An optional rear-seat entertainment Professional system offers high-res screens with DVD player, which also include connections for MP3 players, USB devices, games consoles and headphones.

Mobile phones with inductive charging preparation can be charged wirelessly on an optional inductive charging tray in the centre console.

Six versions for SA

The all-new 5-Series goes on sale in South Africa in March 2017 in the following four engine variants: 520d, 530d, 530i, and 540i. The 520i and 530e iPerformance (Plug-in Hybrid) will follow in the second quarter of 2017.

All models except the 520d (which is a six-speed manual) send their power to the rear wheels through an eight-speed Steptronic automatic transmission with a gear-change strategy assisted by navigation data. This detects braking situations in advance such as when entering built-up areas or corners and selects gears accordingly.

Self-driving technology

Driver assistance systems inherited from the 7 Series take the BMW 5 Series sedan a step further down the road to automated driving.

These include the ability to maintain a safe following in traffic, adjust to the speed limit, steer itself even when there are no clear lane markings, emergency-brake to avoid potential collisions, and automatically make lane changes (when it’s safe to do so) when the driver holds down the direction indicator.

The car also gets the Remote Control Parking premiered in the 7 Series, which in narrow spaces allows the driver to stand outside the vehicle and park it using the Display Key.

This smart key (yup, another item inherited from the Seven) offers a host of other functions including remote operation of the ventilation. The Display Key’s colour display with touch control allows the driver to check whether they closed the windows and doors, and the car’s fuel level and remaining range.

Gesture control

The navigation, telephone, entertainment features and vehicle functions can be visualised on the optionally available high-resolution 10.25-inch screen and controlled by either the familiar iDrive Controller, but also by means of voice command or gestures.

Gesture Control, another 7 Series-sourced feature, allows the driver to control a number of functions with hand signals, eg. accepting or rejecting phone calls by swiping their hand in the air or tracing a circle with a finger adjusts the audio volume.

The two-finger victory sign can be used to carry out an individually selectable command, such as instructing the navigation system to start route guidance to the home address or skipping to the next track in a playlist.

The new Five’s styling is very evolutionary and the most prominent frontal change is a widened kidney grille that now extends into the lengthened headlamps, which are now standard LEDs. Detail optimisations have reduced the drag coefficient by 10%, and BMW offers Sport Line, Luxury Line and MSport equipment packages.

Latest turbo engines

The petrol units employ TwinScroll turbocharging, Double-Vanos variable camshaft control and Valvetronic fully variable valve timing.

The existing 528i is renamed the 530i. The engine remains a turbocharged 2-litre but the peak output of 185kW is up 5kW while torque stays the same at 350Nm. Fuel consumption is claimed to be reduced to 5.4 litres per 100km, while factory-quoted performance figures are 0-100km/h in 6.2 seconds and a 250km/h top speed.

The 540i replaces the 535i with outputs in the 3-litre turbocharged straight-six engine hiked to 250kW (+25kW) and 450Nm (+50Nm). The key claimed data is 6.5l/100km, 0-100 in 5.1 secs and 250km/h.

The diesels feature a turbocharger with variable turbine geometry. The entry-level four-cylinder 520d musters 140kW and 400Nm (unchanged from the current model) for factory-claimed numbers of 4l/100km, 0-100 in 7.7 secs and 237km/h.

The straight-six 3-litre turbodiesel in the 530d is muscled-up to 195kW (+5kW) and 620Nm (+60Nm) for quoted figures of 4.5l/100km, 0-100 in 5.7 secs and 250km/h.

Overseas there also will be a 340kW/650Nm V8-powered flagship model called the M550i xDrive which won’t be coming to SA. -Star Motoring

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