2017 is set to be a big year in the midsize luxury segment, with long-awaited arrivals from Volvo and Mercedes-Benz. But the sedan set to make the biggest splash could very well be the all-new 5 Series from BMW.
While the latest 5 doesn’t feature the 7 Series’ cutting-edge carbon core chassis, it is stronger than lighter than the model it replaces. It’s wrapped in wind-cheating sheetmetal, which in its most efficient configuration slips through the air with a drag rating of just 0.22. Active grille shutters come standard to cut back on fuel consumption. Meanwhile, BMW’s engineers have re-jigged the optional rear-wheel steering system and adaptive steering for a more natural feel. M Sport tuned adaptive suspension and upgraded brakes are available for the enthusiast driver.
Though BMW touts itself as the ultimate driving experience, the new 5 edges one step closer to autonomous driving. Adaptive cruise control with stop & go assist, cross-traffic alert, evasion assist, and lane-keeping assist are bundled together in a package costing just $1,000. But where the 5 Series forges ahead is with the availability of the Remote Parking Package ($1,500), which allows the new 5 Series to park itself without the driver being inside the vehicle! The 5 also benefits from the nifty 3D-rendered parking display system which first debuted on the 7 Series, too.
Other advanced technologies can be experienced inside the car, including an infotainment system that can pick up on certain hand gestures, a brand new head-up display system, plus touch-sensitive power seat controls. Apple CarPlay and wireless device charging also join the 5 Series' options list. A headliner with built-in soundproofing creates a cabin that’s perfect for hearing the optional Bowers and Wilkins Diamond sound system, and relaxing in the available massaging front seats. Ornate stitching on the Nappa leather gives the 5 Series the look and feel of a six-figure 7 Series model. Rear passengers are treated to more rear legroom, plus an available high-definition rear-seat entertainment system.
Initially, the 5 Series will be sold in 530i xDrive and 540i xDrive forms. In true BMW fashion, the naming scheme of the 5 Series doesn’t represent displacements in the slightest – the 530i is powered by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder, while the 540i uses a 3.0-litre turbocharged straight six. The 530i develops 248 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, while the 540i makes 335 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque. Both engines drive all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission.
Two other 5 Series variants will join the range later in the year.
The 530e plug-in hybrid features a 252-horsepower four-cylinder gasoline engine that’s mated to a 95-horsepower electric motor, which is fueled by a 9.2 kWh lithium-ion battery pack. On a full charge, the 530e can travel up to an estimated 46 km, and can be driven on electricity at speeds of up to 140 km/h. Unlike the previous 5 Series hybrid, the ActiveHybrid 5, this new model has all-wheel drive.
For those desiring a high-speed experience, there’s the new M550i xDrive, which packs a hefty punch thanks to its 462-horsepower turbo V8 engine. Mated to an eighty-speed automatic and standard all-wheel drive, it can accelerate to 100 km/h in four seconds, which is nearly as quick as the previous M5. The M550i also receives unique appearance package with enlarged front air intakes, Cerium Grey body accents, and unique 19- and 20-inch alloy wheels.
The base price of the 5 Series starts at $61,900, with the 540i xDrive selling for $69,000.