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2017 BMW 5 series revealed

Seventh-generation BMW 5 Series adopts 7 Series styling and comes loaded with driver assistance tech, while shedding up to 100kg. Australian debut set for first quarter of 2017.

As the competition in the premium executive sedan market heats up, with the likes of Mercedes-Benz’s new E-Class making waves, BMW has stepped up to the challenge and lifted the veil off their latest iteration of the 5 Series.

Codenamed the G30, BMW’s new 5 Series isn’t shying away from its bigger brother, the 7 Series limousine. From its front full LED headlights that is anchored to the front kidney grille, to the lower body swage lines that integrate the Air Breather side vents along its side, and its prominent tail lights, the 5 Series looks like a 7 Series that has been shrink wrapped around the proportions of a smaller sedan.

It comes as no surprise that the new 5 Series has grown in size over its predecessor. At 4,935mm long, the 5 Series has grown by 36mm in length, though its wheelbase has only grown by 7mm to 2,975mm. As for width and height, the new 5 Series is a mere 6mm wider at 1,868mm, and stands 2mm taller at 1,466mm, as compared to its predecessor.

That being said, thanks to the use of lightweight aluminium, high-tensile steels, and magnesium in its construction, BMW says the new 5 Series can be up to 100kg lighter than its predecessor, while its torsional rigidity has been increased.

With market expectations leaning heavily towards autonomous driver assistance systems, BMW has suitably beefed up the new 5 Series’ list of features.

Some of the weight saving measures on the 5 Series includes the fitment of doors that weigh around 6kg - inclusive of its hinges and door brake - which BMW claims is the lightest in its segment, a cast magnesium instrument panel frame that sheds 2kg off its predecessor’s steel item, and the fitment of a bootlid made entirely out of aluminium that saves an additional 4.2kg.

On top of the weight saving, BMW has also improved the new model’s aerodynamic efficiency by 10 per cent over its predecessor. BMW says that the new 5 Series can achieve a new sedan benchmark drag coefficient of 0.22Cd. This improvement in aerodynamic performance is largely thanks to the fitment of active air flaps that closes the kidney grille’s louvres to reduce drag at speed, the Air Curtains and Air Breathers that work together to cut air turbulence in the wheel wells, and airflow-channelling elements fitted across its whole underbody.

As for engine choices the 5 Series will come with a choice of two petrol and two diesel units initially, with an iPerformance plug-in hybrid variant, frugal EfficientDynamics Edition, and a range-topping M Performance variant to follow later next year.

Petrol choices for now only encapsulates the 530i and 540i variants. The 530i replaces the predecessor’s 528i with a new 2-litre four-cylinder turbocharged unit producing 185kW and 350Nm of torque, giving it a 0 to 100km/h time of 6.2 seconds and a rated fuel consumption figure of 5.4L/100km. Whereas the 540i features a 250kW/450Nm 3-litre straight-six turbocharged mill and is able to sprint from 0 to 100km/h in 5.1 seconds, while achieving a fuel consumption figure of 6.5L/100km.

As for diesel options, the 140kW/400Nm 2-litre four-cylinder turbocharged engine in the 520d delivers a fuel consumption figure of 4L/100km, while managing a 0 to 100km/h time of 7.7 seconds. The 530d on the other hand delivers the most grunt with its 3-litre straight-six diesel producing 195kW and a wholesome 620Nm of torque. Even so BMW claims that the 530d is able to deliver a rated fuel consumption figure of 4.5L/100km and get from 0 to 100km/h in 5.7 seconds.

Early next year, BMW will roll out the 530e iPerformance plug-in hybrid variant, which utilises a similar 185kW/420Nm plug-in hybrid powertrain used in the 330e, and delivers an all-electric range of 45km. The 520d EfficientDynamics Edition on the other hand promises to be the most efficient car in its segment with its 140kW four-cylinder diesel unit being optimised to achieve a fuel consumption figure of just 3.9L/100km.

Capping off the range would be the introduction of a high performance M550i xDrive flagship. With a 4.4-litre turbocharged V8 churning out 340kW and 650Nm of torque, the all-wheel drive only model is able to get from 0 to 100km/h in 4 seconds, just a whisker of 0.1 seconds away from the fastest M5.

All the aforementioned variants will come paired with an eight-speed automatic as standard, with the exception of the 520d, which has a six-speed manual option internationally.

As for handling, the 5 Series now comes with an optional electromechanical Dynamic Drive active roll stabilisation system that uses electric swivel motors to adjust the anti-roll bars instead of hydraulics. The feature, which comes paired with the optional Adaptive Drive system, is fast-acting, more precise, lighter, and more energy frugal. In effect the system is able to improve comfort over uneven roads, whilst sharpening its handling characteristics in the corners. Couple it with the optional Integral Active Steering rear-wheel steering, and the 5 Series promises to be nimbler than its size would suggest.

Just as its exterior apes the design cues of the 7 Series, so too does the 5 Series’ cockpit bears the same dashboard design, layout, and switchgear as the driver’s perch of the 7 Series.

According to BMW the new 5 Series is a lot roomier inside than its predecessor, which was a major bugbear. The cabin is said to now offer more elbow and shoulder room for front seat occupants, whereas the rear seats now offer more knee and legroom, while its door cut-outs have been optimised to make getting in and out a much easier affair.

Practical concerns too have been taken into account with the 5 Series’ centre console cupholders being repositioned to allow unhindered access to the console controls even when stuffed with bottles. Its door pockets on the other hand are now able to hold bottles up to a litre in size, while boot capacity has been increased to 530 litres.

Delve further into its specification sheet and features, and the 5 Series seems to take more than just design inspiration, with plenty of features that were first seen on the 7 Series have filtered its way into the new model.

Up front the 5 Series’ 10.25-inch freestanding centre multimedia screen reads hand gestures, and is touch-sensitive, complementing the use of its iDrive Controller and voice recognition system. Its head-up display has been sized up, with its projection size now around 70 per cent larger than its predecessor.

The 5 Series also gets an ‘Adaptive’ mode for its Driving Experience Control, if it is specified with the Dynamic Damper Control and Navigation system Professional. The additional ‘Adaptive’ mode made its debut amongst BMW models in the 7 Series, which tweaks the steering, dampers, and transmission settings automatically according to the driving style and route marked out on the satellite navigation.

Another carry-over feature from the 7 Series is its Remote Control Parking party trick, which allows drivers to park the car remotely through the use of the Display Key.

As for occupant comfort, BMW says the 5 Series’ multifunction seats can be specified with a massage function that uses 20 air chambers fitted to into its backrests and cushions to deliver up to eight different massage programmes for the occupant’s comfort.

Furthermore the 5 Series can be specified with the Ambient Air package that not only ionises the air in the cabin, but also injects a dose of fragrance with three levels of intensity and a choice of eight scents to pick from.

To cut down on exterior disturbances, the 5 Series uses what BMW christens as SYNTAK, or Synergy Thermoacoustic Capsule. Comprised of lightweight soundproofing materials encapsulating the engine and transmission together with a series of sound reducing steps, SYNTAK is said to deliver better soundproofing without adding too much weight. As an added bonus, SYNTAK is said to improve the powertrain’s heat retention, which in turn improves fuel efficiency.

With market expectations leaning heavily towards autonomous driver assistance systems, BMW has suitably beefed up the new 5 Series’ list of features. The operational envelope of its optional Active Cruise Control has been extended to all speeds between rest and 210km/h. This allows the car to brake to a standstill, and automatically move off again - even when being in a standstill for up to 30 seconds - without any driver intervention on the accelerator, brakes, or steering. The system can also recognise motorway exits and roundabouts, and adjust its speed accordingly.

In certain cities in Germany and the United States, the 5 Series can integrate itself into the ParkNow service to locate, book, and pay for parking spaces at selected road side and multi-storey car parks.

Complementing its Active Cruise Control is the optional Speed Limit Assist, which takes current speed limit information and restrictions along the chosen route segment on the satellite navigation. The system allows drivers to set a degree of leeway of between -15km/h to +15km/h to the maximum permitted speed limit, leaving the system to keep them out of trouble from the law.

Not just keeping its eyes on its sides, the 5 Series’ optional Driving Assist Plus package is loaded with features that enables it to switch lanes and even steer away from trouble autonomously. At speeds between 70 and 180km/h its Lane Change Assistant can automatically assist in pulling a lane change manoeuvre simply with the long press of the indicator stalk in the desired direction.

The Driving Assist Plus’ Lane Keeping Assistant on the other hand is able to prevent drivers from steering in hazards by automatically applying corrective steering, should the system detect the vehicle is veering off the road or in danger of sideswiping another vehicle in the next lane at speeds between 70 and 210km/h. Meantime its Side Collision Warning system on the other hand would deliver both visual and steering wheel vibration signals should it detect another vehicle coming too close to its flank at speeds of between 30 and 210km/h. If the system detect sufficient room to pull an evasive manoeuvre, the system will steer its way out of danger.

A new addition to the Driving Assist Plus package is the evasion aid, which can execute an emergency lane change should it detect an obstacle at speeds of up to 160km/h. The system works in tandem with the car’s stability control and sensors to determine how much unobstructed space is available in its vicinity.

The Driving Assist Plus package also includes a Priority warning feature that works in conjunction with the Navigation system Professional to deliver visual and audible warnings and prime the brakes, should it detect the driver blundering into a junction where other vehicles have priority. Likewise its Wrong-way warning system also prompts the driver if they are driving the wrong way onto a motorway, roundabout, or heading the wrong way down a one-way street.

Aside from autonomous driver assistance systems, the 5 Series boast plenty of new ConnectedDrive connective features. Its new Remote 3D View technology beams three-dimensional views of the vehicle’s surroundings to the owner’s smartphone through the use of cellular networks. The latest iteration of the 5 Series’ Navigation system Professional on the other hand boasts a quicker start-up, faster route calculation, and is said to be able to learn a new route should the driver keep diverting from a suggested route.

In certain cities in Germany and the United States, the 5 Series can integrate itself into the ParkNow service to locate, book, and pay for parking spaces at selected road side and multi-storey car parks, as well as using the Real Time Traffic Information system to calculate the availability of street-side parking with its On-Street Parking Information system.

According to BMW the seventh-generation 5 Series is expected to hit our market in the first quarter of next year. While specifications and variants on offer are yet to be confirmed, BMW says that the range will be steadily introduced over the course of 2017, with the full line-up expected to be complete before the year’s end.

That said, the M550i xDrive’s introduction is uncertain as of now, considering that its predecessor’s M550d xDrive variant had no right-hand drive variant due to the fitment of the xDrive system.

“We understand that the M550i xDrive will be a very exciting model for Australia, but as of now we are still yet to confirm if there will be a right-hand drive version,” explained Lenore Fletcher, general manager of corporate communications for BMW Australia.

Is the new 5 Series enough to topple the new Mercedes E-Class? Tell us what you think in the comments below.