BMW 5 Series likely to set benchmark for Mercedes, Jaguar and Audi
New model will be available in UK showrooms from February 2017
Prices expected to start from £33,000
Semi-autonomous changing speed and direction at up to 130mph
Fastest and most efficient versions BMW will sell detailed
Published: 11:56 EDT, 21 October 2016 | Updated: 12:05 EDT, 21 October 2016
BMW has found itself in the unusual position of playing catch up when it comes to executive class saloons.
When the latest Mercedes-Benz E-Class emerged on the market earlier this year it set a fresh marker in the sector, while slightly further up the scale Tesla's constantly updated Model S has the competition licked when it comes to driving itself into the future.
All this has meant the much-loved BMW 5 Series had started to slip... until now. Last week, BMW revealed the new model, due to arrive in the UK next February priced from around £33,000 - and it is likely to set a new benchmark for rivals including Jaguar, Mercedes and Audi.
We take a look at the new version of the much-loved executive saloon and where it points to.
Scroll down for video
The new BMW 5 Series will be available in UK showrooms from February 2017
1. Tech is now a major driving force
Think of BMW's range of saloons as siblings: the 7 Series is the bigger, older brother, the 3 Series is the whippersnapper, and the 5 Series is the one in the middle.
The 7 Series is always the one to get things first when they're sparkly and new while the other two have to wait until their pesky big bro has outgrown the features before they're handed down.
Some of the 7 Series' fancy features (and more) are now arriving in the more mainstream 5 series and it is clear that BMW sees car technology as a key battleground.
- >Paris Motor Show 2016: Forget the million-pound Ferraris and... >What is the most popular car colour? As figures show an 84%... >Does F1 really have an impact on our everyday lives? We... >Can a Tesla Model S get to Wales and back? We test it...
Share this articleShare 46 shares
HOW THIS IS MONEY CAN HELP
Take the key, for instance. The 5 Series gets the same smart key with a touchscreen display that the 7 Series uses (though the i8 supercar was the first to have this feature).
It not only lets you check the fuel range you have remaining without the car even being within sight, it also lets you pre-set the temperature in the cabin before you get in.
That dinky 2.2-inch screen is nothing in comparison to the 10.25-inch touchscreen plonked in the centre of the 5 Series' dashboard, though.
It's the hub for all your devices, with an inbuilt WiFi hotspot letting you connect up to 10 smartphones and tablets at once.
It even has wireless Apple CarPlay connectivity, which is a first for any production car.
Like all modern BMWs, the infotainment features housed within the slick display can be accessed using the iDrive swivel wheel in the centre console. However, BMW says you will now be able to adjust the volume in the car and answer phone calls without having to touch a thing - instead you can control these elements with hand gestures, like some sort of in-car wizard.
But the tech-fest isn't just limited to infotainment - there are new advanced features that help improve performance too.
Take the Integral Active Steering system - another gizmo the 7 Series has gone without - and active anti-roll suspension to ensure the 5 Series corners with agility but remains flat all at the times.
It's longer, taller and wider than before, but that also means it will be more spacious
The enlarged kidney grille now have the LED lights incorporated into it - one styling feature that should help you tell it apart from the old one
2. It's semi-autonomous, so sit back and relax. Sort of
That's right, everyone's upping their automated driving game at the moment.
The 5 Series has optional active cruise control, active steering and lane-keeping assistance systems - all of which combine to control motorway speed and direction of the car at up to 130mph (that's only for the Autobahn, of course).
As with Tesla's Model S, this means the car can almost drive itself on the motorway - staying in lane, slowing down and speeding up with traffic, and switching lane when it judges it to be safe if you tell it to with the indicator.
But, it's not autonomous and the car is not allowed to let you sit back and do nothing. You must keep your hands on the wheel
There are sensors on the steering wheel that know when you've relinquished grip and bark at you when you do, so you're still some way from reading the paper on your drive to the office.
The cruise control system will alert you if you attempt to drive the wrong way down a motorway, round a roundabout or along a one-way street
The radar and GPS-assisted cruise control also predicts when you do and don't need the stop-start system to engage
But while it might not be able to drive itself just yet, it can stop you making an idiot of yourself.
The cruise control system uses GPS from the sat-nav and its own integrated radar and camera system to predict if it's worth engaging the stop-start system in slow rolling traffic and even alerts you if you accidentally try to drive the wrong way up a motorway (it happens), round a roundabout or down a one-way street. It will even let you know if other vehicles have priority at confusing street junctions.
But what about when you're not in the car at all? Well, the 5 Series can drive itself to a limited extent then. That's because it gets the same Parking Assistant function the 7 Series has that lets you remotely back it into a garage using the touchscreen keyfob.
The same system also measures available spaces on the street and takes control of the steering to self park if you don't feel up to the challenge.
3. Looks are getting even more similar
Germanic design leaves little to the imagination these days. In fact, we think they must be experiencing a recent shortage of pencils at Audi, Mercedes and BMW, as cars are starting to look the same as fellow models.
This is a trend that is very easy to spot on Audis, where the A4, A6 and A8 have for some years carried the same look, and is now happening at BMW and has even spread to Britain, where Jaguar's XF and XE adopt the same style.
This new 5 Series is no different. It looks very similar to the 7 Series.
According to BMW, when compared to the outgoing model, the new 5 Series front is sleeker with LED headlamps now integrated with the brand's kidney grille. The lights are glass-covered for the first time too, replacing the old plastic covers to give an increased shimmering glow.
Running along the profile of the car is a more prominent shoulder line stretching back to the tail-lights, while the bonnet shut line has now been eliminated. Having said that, unless you are a BMW aficionado, side-by-side on the street you might struggle to spot the difference.
Face-to-face: The new 5 Series (left) and the model it replaces‹ Slide me ›
The 5 Series (left) might be smaller, but you can definitely tell where the design inspiration came from when you layer it onto the bigger 7 Series
Not only has it had some [very] subtle styling tweaks, the 5 Series has also grown, thanks to sharing a platform with the bigger 7 Series.
The wheelbase is now 7mm longer and the entire length of the car has extended by 36mm over the outgoing 5 Series. BMW says the new car is also 6mm wider and 2mm taller, so it should feel much more spacious inside.
Despite all the gut busting, the boot has only increased by 10 litres to 530 litres - that's around the size of a large handbag.
The quickest model in the range at launch will be the 540i xDrive petrol. It will cover the 0-to-62mph sprint in 4.8 seconds - the same as a Porsche 911 Carrera
BMW will also offer this 530e - the first plug-in hybrid 5 Series
4. It's lighter and faster
As we've mentioned above, the 5 Series is based on a new chassis derived from the underpinnings of the 7 Series.
While it might be bigger, it's also lighter, shaving some 70kg off the old car's weight. This is mostly thanks to a wider use of aluminium on the body, plus lighter brakes and alloy wheels. All of that translates to better performance.
Even the slowest new 5 Series, the 520d, can cover a 0 to 62mph sprint in 7.5 seconds. The model most people will opt for - the 530d - trims a shade more off this time to reach the same speed in 5.7 seconds, or 5.4 seconds if you choose an all-wheel drive 530d xDrive version.
The quickest of the lot at the time of launch will be the 540i xDrive petrol - which we imagine will be rather pricey. It will cover the 0-to-62mph sprint in a flabbergasting 4.8 seconds - that's on par with a Porsche 911 Carrera.
But it's not all about speed, and BMW has acknowledged this by offering the first plug-in hybrid 5 Series, called the 530e.
Its powertrain combines a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine and electric motor, which jointly develop 249bhp. More significantly, BMW claims the 530e will also be capable of 141.2mpg with CO2 emissions of 46g/km.
The inside is a mass of plush materials. The dashboard has been made smaller to improve interior space up front
The 10-inch touchscreen inside also has hand gesture recognition, so you can adjust the radio volume and answer phone calls without touching a thing
BMW has fitted all 5 Series models with sound-deadening glass and extra noise blocking material in the headliner to make it a hushed drive at all speeds
5. Comfort and the cabin are a major draw
Nobody does cabins better than the Germans right now, and looking at pictures alone the 5 Series appears to be a wonderfully plush place to sit with luxurious leathers, power adjustment all round and lots of glossy finishes.
But BMW says the 5 Series should also be noticeably roomier, with the increased chassis dimensions equating to more head, shoulder and elbow room for occupants to spread out.
Even the dashboard has been redesigned to take up less space, so you shouldn't bang your knees when you lower yourself into the passenger seat.
And to ensure you're travelling in the utmost of hushed environments, BMW has also added sound absorption to the roof lining and all the windows are fitted with acoustic glass making the cabin whisper quiet.
Expect to see a Touring estate model to follow soon after the four-door saloon, and a performance M5 to emerge in the not too distant future.
Source : http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/cars/article-3838609/Five-things-need-know-new-2017-BMW-5-Series.html