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First look: BMW goes Touring with new Five

Wagon its tail: Latest 5 Series Touring grows a little, gains 7 Series basis and tech, and will offer diesel power here.

Petrol and diesel power for BMW's larger Mk4 5 Series Touring Down Under

14 Mar 2010

BMW has confirmed its fourth-generation 5 Series Touring - revealed today ahead of its world public debut at Germany’s biggest motor show this year - in Leipzig on April 9, will go on sale in Australia with the choice of both petrol and, for the first time, diesel engines in October.

Based on the new F10 5 Series sedan that goes on sale here in June, Germany’s latest large wagon is the Munich maker’s most direct response to Mercedes-Benz’s fifth-generation E-class Estate, which went on sale here last month in the shape of the E350 Avatgarde ($138,100).

BMW’s current 530i Touring costs almost $15,000 less at $123,179, and while the new oil-burning four-cylinder 520d Touring should be considerably more affordable, BMW’s new six-cylinder petrol 535i sports wagon will undoubtedly come at a premium.

The same cracking twin-turbo engine costs $151,400 in last month’s all-new 5 Series GT which, like the newest 5 Series sedan and wagon, is also closely related to last year’s redesigned 7 Series flagship and, perhaps, BMW’s next-generation X5 and X6.

14 center imageOf course, when it comes to local replacements for the superseded E280, E280 CDI, E500 and E63 AMG Estate, Mercedes has the option of adding three further petrol engines and four diesels, including the upcoming E350 Bluetec’s “world’s cleanest” EU6 emissions-compliant engine.

While the superseded E280 Estate opened Mercedes’ previous E-class wagon range at $107,500, the only A6 Avant offered by Audi Australia is the Allroad 3.0 TDI ($103,800). But whether the new 520d Touring joins the current 520d, 523i and 525i sedans under $100,000 remains to be seen.

Mercedes’ new 212-series E-class sedan and now wagon line-up has racked up no fewer than 439 customers so far this year (up a whopping 362 per cent on 2009 levels), while BMW’s five-year-old F60 5 Series is still up 22 per cent with just 105 sales.

Riding on what’s claimed to be the longest wheelbase in its class and featuring a more steeply raked roofline than before, the new 5 Series load-lugger’s cargo capacity is up about 20 litres overall to 1670 litres, or 560 litres without folding the 40:20:40-split rear seats, which BMW says are unique in this segment.

That’s around the same as Audi’s A6 Avant/Allroad (565-1660 litres) but still a full 280 litres short of the new E-class Estate, which displaces between 695 and 1950 litres of luggage room, and less than BMW’s own new 5 Series GT sedan/hatchback crossover (590-1700 litres) and the X5 (620-1750 litres) – but not the X6 (570-1450 litres).

The new Five wagon’s rear seatback can be adjusted over 11 degrees or stowed using two control levers inside the luggage area, which has a cover that automatically lowers when the tailgate is closed while a separately opening rear window swings upwards at the push of a button.

Other new features include BMW’s Dynamic Driving Control, Adaptive Drive and Integral Active Steering chassis options, in addition to the standard rear air suspension with automatic self-levelling and electro-mechanical steering.

As in the F10 5 Series four-door and facelifted X5, both Euro5 emissions-compliant direct-injection engines will come linked to ZF’s new eight-speed automatic transmission.

The 135kW 2.0-litre all-aluminium turbo-diesel in the 520d is claimed to return best-in-class average EU fuel consumption and CO2 emissions of just 5.3 litres per 100km and 139 grams per kilometre respectively. It is not clear whether Australia’s 520d will come standard with an idle-stop system as it does in Europe, where the model is even more frugal at 5.2L/100km and 137g/km.

No efficiency figures have been revealed for the 225kW 3.0-litre ‘TwinPower Turbo’ straight petrol six in the 535i, which BMW says will sprint to 100km/h in just 6.1 seconds.

In Europe, the 2.5-litre 523i straight six will offer 150kW, while the straight six diesel in the 530d delivers 180kW and uses BMW ‘BluePerformance’ to meet Euro 6 emission standards.

Depending on the model, standard BMW EfficientDynamics measures comprise brake energy regeneration, demand-dependant ancillaries and active air flap control.

Also borrowed from the new Five and Seven is the latest BMW ‘ConnectedDrive’ vehicle management technology, including Parking Assistant, Surround View, Active Cruise Control with collision warning and brake activation, Lane Change Warning, Lane Departure Warning, Speed Limit Info, High-beam Assistant, the latest BMW Night Vision, Head-up Display and Bluetooth.

BMW’s new 5 Series Touring will be built alongside the new 5 Series GT and sedan and the 7 Series limousine at BMW’s Dingolfing plant.

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