All-new BMW 5-series revealed
13 October 2016
"A new car with a fair bit of new on the exterior and a hell of a lot under the skin," is how BMW's UK product operations manager for large cars Alex Morgan describes the new 5-series, a car so important to BMW in this market that the UK has had major input into its development.
BMW UK sells as many 5-series saloons as Germany, although the estate is the dominant variant in the prestige manufacturer's home market, it has meant UK desires have been taken into account with the new executive saloon, which will arrive on UK roads next February.
Measuring 36mm longer, 6mm wider and 2mm taller than the outgoing model, boot space is also up 10 litres to 550, which puts the 5-series in the middle of the segment. BMW has also shaved up to 100kg from the weight to help efficiency.
The key model will still be the 520d, a car that took 85% of volume in the outgoing generation of 5-series, while the other engines from launch will comprise a 530d and 530i and 540i powertrains.
The four-cylinder 190hp diesel unit powering the BMW 520d will offer CO2 emissions as low as 107g/km, while official combined fuel economy is stated at 70.6mpg and the 0-62mph sprint achieved in 7.7 seconds.
BMW predicts that top-of-the-range M-sport will continue to dominate trim choice, while there will also be Sport Line and Luxury Line versions available in the range.
The chassis and suspension has been reworked too, which BMW claims offers an even greater driving experience than the outgoing model.
Pretty much for the first time, save a handful of cars in the 1990s, the 5-series will also be available with four-wheel drive, thanks to the company's Xdrive system, and Morgan is predicting that around a third of volume will be for all-wheel drive. "Hopefully we will bring in some customers that have gone to [Audi] Quattro, and Jaguar and Mercedes are also bringing in 4x4," he says.
All models in the launch range will have the option of Xdrive, and BMW has dropped the powerful 535d option, because the 530d Xdrive leaves it redundant. All cars will come with an automatic gearbox, because the previous generation had a 96% take-up of auto, and the company hopes that making it standard will reap residual value benefits.
Other equipment highlights include the higher-spec Pro Navigation as standard across the range, which brings a 10.2-inch screen that's customisable according to user requirements. Every car gets dual-zone climate control as standard too, which wasn't the case on the outgoing 520d, plus the display key, first seen on the 7-series, that shows the car's status, fuel level and other information, will be available as an option.
Connectivity technology and advanced driver aids, seen in the flagship 7-series will filter down into the new 5-series, including gesture control functionality, remote control parking and wireless phone charging.
An Efficient Dynamics version of the 5-series, with a potential 102g/km figure, will launch a few weeks behind the main car's February 11 arrival, a car Morgan describes as "the efficiency champion and a key corporate offer". But in CO2 terms, there is also the arrival of the first plug-in hybrid 5-series, the 530e, which will follow swiftly behind.
The BMW eDrive system and four-cylinder petrol engine work together to achieve CO2 emissions of 46 g/km, while generating overall output of 252hp, an official fuel consumption of 141.2 mpg and in all-electric mode has a range of 28 miles.
It will follow BMW's pricing structure with the SUV X5e versus its 30d diesel sibling, in that they will be price-aligned. "It's a lot more expensive for us, but it is unrealistic to price higher," says Morgan. "It's a no-brainer for corporate." He claims potential £3000 savings per year compared to a 530d model.
There is also the chance that an entry 18d model could come later in the life cycle, and BMW will also keep an eye on any moves away from diesel power, with the ability to introduce a four-cylinder petrol engine if customer demand heads in that direction.
The Touring estate will follow in the third quarter of 2017, and a replacement for the GT model that insiders describe as "a slightly different proposition, more sporty and premium", will arrive in 2018.