Roadtest: BMW 5 Series

03 May 2017 | 03.20 pm

Roadtest: BMW 5 Series

New model bigger, faster, lighter and more fuel efficient than predecessor

03 May 2017 | 03.20 pm

The new BMW 5 Series effortlessly blends style and tech prowess, writes Olive Keogh

 

All but the eagle eyed will be unable to spot the difference between the outgoing and incoming BMW 5 Series. Many of the styling cues have been carried over and the real emphasis is on the newcomer’s technological prowess. Not that there’s anything wrong with the styling. The 5 Series’ coupe-like profile is elegant and sophisticated, if understated.

Sitting into the new model feels like being in a smaller version of the 7 Series. The new 5 is based on the same platform as its bigger brother and also gets a major technology boost from BMW’s flagship. It shares many of the same advanced driving systems, including remote parking, dynamic cruise control, evasion aid and (optional) gesture control for the main functions. It is also fully connected and offers Office 365 users a secure server connection for exchanging and editing emails, calendar entries and contact details.

The 5 Series is now over 40 years old and its popularity with executive buyers has ensured that BMW has always kept it relevant to the needs and tastes of business motorists. The latest model is a little bigger than its predecessor but it is also faster, 100kg lighter and more fuel efficient. Between this weight loss and additions such as a new rear axle, the new 5’s reactions are quicker and more agile. It also continues to deliver peerless refinement without losing any of its charm.

The test car came with BMW’s xDrive all-wheel system, which is now standard across the range. It provides terrific grip and kept the car glued to the road while I checked out the company’s assertion that the 530d (265bhp with 620Nm of torque available from 2,000 rpm) could sprint from 0-100km in 5.4 seconds.

The biggest-selling 5 Series model in Ireland will be the 520d and prices for the 5 Series range start at €52,800. Automatic transmission is now standard, along with a multimedia navigation system with a 10.25” touch widescreen.

The test car came from further up the range and was equipped with a long list of high-tech features. The basic price of this version is €73,650 but options such as adaptive LED headlights with high beam assist, as well as M Sport alloys and surround sound, add a further €17,000 to the bill, tipping the price to just over €90,000.

Inside is an upgraded version of the gesture control system first seen in the current 7 Series. To activate the feature you wave your hand/fingers in front of the centre console to, for example, adjust the radio volume or to accept incoming calls. The rotary controller is still there though, and continues to provide access to all the car’s functions.

The new 5 Series also boats BMW’s most advanced autonomous driving technology yet. It can keep the car in lane, and brake, steer and accelerate up to speeds of 130mph all by itself. It’s also ace at self-parking.

 

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