With the next generation 5 Series, code number G30, BMW is setting out its stall to prove it’s the purveyor of the finest luxury sporting vehicles on the planet. With a subtle blend of 7 Series technology wrapped up in the smaller 5 Series packaging it looks like its going to have another winner on its hands with the seventh generation of its executive saloon. It features newer, more powerful yet more economical power units and updated styling. Significant weight saving measures have reduced its kerb weight by up to 100kg in some models. It’ll be the most connected Five yet seen and will feature a host of advanced technologies on the options list. The 5 Series might not be BMW’s best-selling model but in some ways it sets the tone for the rest of the range, so it’s vital the company gets this one right.
Visually the G30 is a combination of old and new BMW design cues and from the front, certainly, it bears a strong resemblance to the recently launched 7 Series. In fact, when a new Five comes hurtling into view in your rear view mirror on the motorway we reckon that even the most die-hard of BMW fans will initially be hard pressed to tell whether it’s a Five or a Seven!
In terms of size the new Five is 4935mm long, 1868mm wide and 1466mm high, increases over the outgoing F10 Five of 36, six and two millimetres respectively. In addition, the wheelbase has grown by seven millimetres and now comes in at 2975mm. For students of model range growth over the years, it’s interesting to note that the new car is 31cm longer, 18cm wider and four centimetres taller than the original E12 5 Series and the new car’s wheelbase is a massive 33cm longer than on the original, too. Modern aerodynamic practices have made the G30 super slippery and with the skinniest tyres it records an impressive Cd figure of 0.22.
Part of this is thanks to the extensive use of active aerodynamics on the new car, with all models in the range receiving electrically adjustable louvres in the kidney grilles and lower air intakes that open when cooling air is required and close when it isn’t. Also, there are the now familiar BMW air curtains operating around the front wheels to reduce drag and the outlets of these behind the front wheel housings ape those of the new Seven, too.
As far as the new car’s visage is concerned there’s the large Seven-style kidney grille which is flanked by the modern interpretation of the BMW quad headlamp setup and, like the F30 Three and the G11 Seven, the housings and glass covers for these now butt right up to the kidneys. Headlights are LED items across the range with Adaptive LEDs available on the options list.
Along the car’s flanks you’ll find more sculpted architecture than on the current car. For starters there’s an indentation running along the bottom of the doors which draws your eye from the rear of the air curtain breather, while there’s also a new take on the traditional BMW swage line running the length of the car. This emerges from the top of the front wheel arch with the upper swage line subtly running up and into the C-pillar in the Hofmeister kink area, something that hasn’t been seen before. BMW’s head of design, Karim Habib, says: “This upward motion lends the car a forward surging character, and the expressive, swooping surface imbues it with an undeniable muscularity.” We think it looks rather neat.
At the same time there’s a bolder line that develops as it travels rearward through the front door before running trough the door handles and joining up with the rear light units which wrap a fair way into the rear wings. The rear treatment itself is quite neat and plain and does without unnecessary adornment, which is as it should be really. The tail-lights are of the typical modern BMW L-shape and feature the expected LED light bars. All models will now feature a pair of exhausts symmetrically placed either side of the car and the size and shape of these will vary from model to model.
Engine and drivetrain
As you’d expect, the new Five comes equipped with the latest range of Baukasten engines that are gradually working their way through the range and at launch in February 2017 the four available models will consist of two diesels, the 520d and 530d, and two petrols, the 530i and 540i. As we went to press we still hadn’t received UK market specific information but it’s a fair bet to say that both diesels will be offered over here… whether or not both petrol models are destined for these shores is harder to say.
The four launch engines will be rapidly joined in March by a PHEV, the 530e iPerformance, a 520d EfficientDynamics Edition, and the range-topper (until the M5 arrives), the M550i xDrive. The diesel models are powered by engines with capacities as noted by their model designations but the 530i uses the twinscroll 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder unit while the 540i is a 3.0-litre turbocharged six-cylinder. The solitary V8 for the moment will be the 4.4-litre M550i and it has to be said that it sounds like it’ll be quite a performer, knocking off the 0-62mph dash in a scant four seconds!
We won’t run through the entire range of outputs and vital stats as these can be seen in the spec table on page 44 but it’s worth looking at some of the gains BMW has been able to make with the diesel models. These are incremental for the 520d, which is perhaps less of a surprise, as the new car has the same power and torque outputs as the outgoing model. It still manages to be 0.2 seconds faster to 62mph, 3.2mpg better off at 68.9mpg and six grams of CO² cleaner than the outgoing model. The EfficientDynamics model is even more impressive economy-wise, offering up to 72.4mpg and just 102g/km of CO².
However, it’s the 530d that has been endowed with a full dose of alchemy as its stats really are something to write home about. It now offers 265hp (a gain of 7hp) and 457lb ft of torque (a 44lb ft improvement) yet will do 0-62mph in just 5.7 seconds while returning 62.8mpg (a gain of 7.4mpg) while emitting just 118g/km – a significant improvement over the old 530d’s 134g/km.
The entire range (bar the 520d EfficientDynamics and 530e which are rear-wheel drive only) is available in both rear-drive and xDrive configurations, although the M550i will only be sold with xDrive. For the UK market, xDrive on a 5 Series will be available for the first time and we expect take up of this option to be quite high – we really seem to be embracing xDrive as it becomes available on each successive BMW model range.
What is most interesting to note is the gradual phasing out of the manual gearbox the further up the range you travel. The only new Five that can be spec’d with the six-speed manual is the rear-wheel drive version of the 520d – all other models (including the 520d ED) will be fitted with the superb eight-speed auto.
It should come as little surprise that the new 5 Series has adopted most of its interior styling cues from its bigger 7 Series brother and, given the Seven’s cockpit is nigh-on second-to-none, this is a good thing. BMW says that the new Five’s cockpit has more space, especially in terms of elbow and shoulder room, while the slightly extended wheelbase will give rear passengers more legroom. BMW says rear headroom has also been improved and, thanks to the car’s slightly larger overall dimensions, the boot is larger than the outgoing model at 530 litres.
Stowage space in the cockpit hasn’t been ignored with BMW saying that the door bins are larger than before, while the cup holders in the centre console are larger, too. As well as the expected stowage space between the front seats there’s another compartment ahead of the cup holder which, as an option, will support wireless charging of smartphones, too. The front seats will be electrically adjustable via touch-sensitive switches, and when the switch mounted on the side of the seat detects your finger the corresponding menu will appear on the iDrive screen. That latter item is the latest 10.25-inch screen and, as is BMW’s current vogue, appears to be freestanding on the top of the dash.
As with the new Seven there are a myriad of different ways to control your 5 Series with many of the car’s functions going through the iDrive screen, which now features a touch-screen as well as the more familiar rotary controller. In addition, the car also features advanced voice recognition and, as an option, gesture control, like the 7 Series.
The instrument cluster features black-panel technology, although currently BMW hasn’t indicated whether or not this will only be available on the higher end models. The optional head-up display is the latest generation item and will be 70 per cent larger than the previous system.
Automatic two-zone climate control will be a standard fitment and this can be upgraded to fourzone control or, if you choose the ambient air package, you can bathe in ionised and scented air like you can in the new Seven. There will plenty of highend audio options, too, with both a Harman Kardon 600W system and a top of the range Bowers & Wilkins 1400W setup being offered.
Suspension and brakes
With a redesigned chassis, intelligent lightweight engineering, even weight distribution and a highly torsion-resistant body, BMW says the seventh generation of the 5 Series ‘combines superb driving enjoyment with a new dimension in driver assistance technology, while once again setting a new class benchmark in driving dynamics.’ It reckons its engineers have succeeded in making the car’s handling even more agile and precise yet without compromising the comfort which is a hallmark of a business saloon. At the same time, an extensive range of driver assistance systems take the 5 Series a big step further down the road to automated driving.
The Five features a newly designed double wishbone front suspension and a multi-link rear end with the whole setup featuring the extensive use of lightweight materials. We’ve already been impressed with the car’s setup when we sampled it in Wales with the car’s chassis engineers last month, so we can’t wait to sample the finished article over a variety of road surfaces.
Optional items will depend on individual markets but there’s a new Integral Active Steering setup as well as an optional Adaptive Drive System which includes electromechanical anti-roll stabilisation as fitted to the 7 Series.
The new Five is fitted with optimised lightweight brakes. Depending on the model variant, they feature single-piece or two-piece four-piston fixed aluminium callipers at the front, with lightweight discs, and single-piston fixed callipers with an integrated electromechanical parking brake at the rear. Wheels will vary in diameter from 17- to 20-inches.
Driver assistance systems Like the Seven, the new 5 Series can be equipped with a myriad of driver assistance systems from Active Cruise Control to side collision prevention systems. As standard the car has Dynamic Cruise Control which operates between 19-155mph and features an energy saving coasting function at higher speeds. If Active Cruise is spec’d this system operates all the way from 0-130mph and will brake the car to a standstill in stop-start traffic, and can even take into account motorway exits and roundabouts. A Driving Assist Plus package features side collision prevention as well as the more expected Lane Change and Lane Departure warning systems. A new one on us, though, is Evasion aid whereby the car will steer around an unexpected obstacle at speeds of up to 99mph. The car can even warn you if you’ve driven the wrong way down a one-way street. Like the 7 Series the Five can be spec’d with remote controlled parking and, if you tick this option, you’ll get the 7 Series style key.
While we’re not 100 per cent certain which models will come to the UK, the new 5 is expected to be available as an SE, Sport, Luxury and M Sport. That latter trim level will be available right from the get-go and is the one shown here in the pictures. Two non-metallic and 11 metallic colour shades will be available for the new 5 Series, and six BMW Individual paint finishes. Two BMW Individual Frozen paint finishes will join the selection over the course of 2017. Customers can choose from a total of 17 different lightalloy wheels (17-inch to 20-inch).
The Sport Line shines the spotlight on the car’s dynamic character and stands out with numerous trim elements in high-gloss black and linespecific 18-inch light-alloy wheels (optional 19-inch) in a bi-colour polished finish. Opening the doors reveals illuminated aluminium door sill strips with a BMW logo and Sport Line badge. For the interior, Sport Line adds BMW sports seats, a BMW sports leather steering wheel, and specific trim strips. Luxury Line emphasises the car’s elegant character with features such as chrome kidney grille bars, Air Breathers and window surrounds. Line-specific lightalloy wheels (standard: 18-inch, optional: 19-inch) underscore its exclusive looks. The aluminium door sill strips with BMW logo bear Luxury Line lettering. Leather trim with contrast stitching features along with and special decorative trim inlays. The instrument panel is covered in Sensatec.
The M Sport package will be available from launch and includes the M aerodynamic package (front apron with larger air intakes, side skirt trim, a diffusorstyle rear apron and an exhaust system with two rectangular tailpipes), lowered M Sport suspension, and M light-alloy wheels in 18-inch (optional 19-inch) format. Inside the car, M sports seats are joined by the new M Sport leather steering wheel, exclusive floor mats, interior trim strips and aluminium pedals.
Overall we’re pretty convinced by the new 5 Series. It’s taken the best of the elements from the 7 Series and wrapped them in an attractive new package. We just hope that the focus on luxury hasn’t taken too much away from the driving experience… we’ll let you know when we drive the car in November ahead of its February launch.
The new Five’s cockpit has more space, especially in terms of elbow and shoulder room.
“The expressive, swooping surface imbues it with an undeniable muscularity”
|BMW G30 5 Series Saloon
|520d (520d xDrive)
|530d (530d xDrive)
|530i (530i xDrive)
|540i (540i xDrive)
|7.6 seconds (7.6)
|5.7 seconds (5.4)
|6.2 seconds (6.0)
|5.1 seconds (4.8)
|All figures quoted are for the eight-speed automatic tranmission. Figures in brackets refer to vehicles equipped with xDrive four-wheel drive