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First look: BMW’s new 5 Series laid bare

Famous Five: BMW's new 5 Series sedan shows glimpses of 3 Series styling and borrows 7 Series technology.

Edgy new 5 Series sedan emerges from BMW, ahead of its mid-2010 release

24 Nov 2009

BMW Australia has kept its powder dry on pricing for the redesigned 5 Series sedan, which emerged in these official images and details from Europe overnight.

Unlike Mercedes-Benz with its all-new E-class sedan and other European rivals, which sprang range price-tags from the outset, the Bavarian maker is yet to reveal Australian pricing for the redesigned version of its third-best selling passenger car model which it hopes will arrest a near 45 per cent sales slide so far in 2009.

BMW Australia has sold just 663 examples of the current 5 Series to October this year – a little over half the number of E-class sales.

The sixth generation of BMW’s large executive sedan, which replaces the current model’s controversial exterior and interior styling with designs that appear to mimic those of the current 3 Series, goes on sale here in mid-2010.

Sales will start on March 20 in Europe, where modest price increases will be accompanied by significant standard equipment upgrades, and the new four-door will be followed by the release of a next-generation 5 Series Touring here in late 2010.

14 center imageThe German luxury giant’s latest upper midrange segment contender, which dates back to 1972, borrows a host of new technologies from BMW’s new 7 Series sedan flagship.

The F10-generation 5 Series sedan, which will be built alongside the 7 Series at BMW’s Dingolfing plant, resides on a shorted version of the new modular chassis architecture that underpins the 7 Series and 5 Series GT.

While both of those models employ a 3070mm wheelbase, the 5 Series’ is 100mm shorter (but 80mm longer than before) at 2970mm, which BMW says is the longest in its class. Aluminium components include the doors, bonnet, front quarter panels and suspension.

As well as a sophisticated new double-wishbone coil-sprung front suspension to replace the current MacPherson strut arrangement, the new Five is therefore said to offer significantly improved rear seat space and 50/50 weight distribution, plus a coupe-like roofline, super-short overhangs at both ends, a pronounced rear decklid and long bonnet.

Apart from a new driver-focussed dashboard, which was eschewed in the outgoing model, the F10 features prominent bodyside sculpting, while a forward-inclined double kidney grille presents a new face up front.

Seven engines will be available from launch in Europe, including three six-cylinder petrol engines, two six-cylinder diesels, a petrol V8 and an all-alloy four-cylinder diesel – all of them EU5 emissions-compliant.

Fitted as standard with BMW’s Auto Start Stop idle-stop function, the new 520d sedan produces 135kW and, says BMW, returns average combined fuel consumption of just five litres per 100km and CO2 emissions of 132 grams per kilometre on the EU5 test cycle.

While the 520d, which sprints to 100km/h in 8.1 seconds, is again expected to be the biggest seller, the top-shelf 550i sedan exchanges its predecessor’s 270kW/490Nm 4.8-litre V8 for the X6 SUV’s twin-turbocharged 4.4-litre V8, upping output to 300kW. The 550i is claimed to crack 100km/h in just five seconds and return average CO2 emissions of 243g/km.

In between, ‘TwinPower Turbo’ technology will also be adopted for the top-spec six-cylinder petrol 5 Series variant, with the 535i borrowing the 225kW/400Nm twin-turbo 3.0-litre straight six from the 135i, 335i, Z4 35i, X6 35i and (240kW/450Nm) 740i.

For now, the long-running 530i nameplate appears to have been dropped, with the 520d, 535i and 550i supported by two naturally aspirated 3.0-litre six-cylinder petrol engines – the 150kW 523i and 190kW 528i – and two 3.0-litre six-cylinder turbo-diesels in the 150kW 525d and 180kW 530d, which sprints to 100km/h in a claimed 6.3 seconds and emits 166g/km of CO2.

BMW says its new ZF-developed eight-speed automatic transmission – first employed in the upcoming 760Li flagship and to also do duty in Rolls-Royce’s all-new Ghost – will be optional across the range and standard in the 550i.

Australian 5 Series models will again be fitted with automatic transmissions exclusively (rather than the six-speed manual fitted in Europe), but it is not yet clear whether the lesser variants will come with the new eight-speed auto – or the current model’s six-speed self-shifter.

Other new 5 Series technologies will include the optional Dynamic Driving Control system, which offers a range of suspension tuning options, and the Adaptive Drive feature, which includes Dynamic Damper Control, Dynamic Drive stability control and Integral Active Steering.

All models will come standard with Electric Power Steering (EPS), while under BMW’s ‘ConnectedDrive’ banner are functions like the Parking Assistant, Surround View, Active Cruise Control plus Stop & Go including a collision warning system, and a new speed-limiter.

High-tech options will include Lane Change Warning, Lane Departure Warning, Speed Limit Info, Head-Up Display, BMW Night Vision and a reversing camera.

BMW says ‘EfficientDynamics’ technologies are “naturally featured as standard in appropriate combinations on each model” and again comprise Brake Energy Regeneration, a gearshift point indicator, active air flap control and on-demand operation of ancillary units including a detachable air-conditioning compressor.

The new Five will make its public debut at the Detroit motor show in January, while a replacement for BMW’s current M5 super-sedan – powered by a version of the X5 and X6 M’s 408kW/680Nm twin-turbo V8 – is expected to surface within two years.

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