BMW’s new hi-tech 5-Series was well worth waiting for
BMW 520d M Sport
It’s true what they say… some things in life are worth waiting for.
The motor industry was a long time waiting for the new 5-Series BMW to roll off the production line, but the Germans like to take their time and get things spot on – and they certainly have with this latest BMW model.
The designers and engineers had to get it spot on as one of their closest rivals – the new Mercedes Benz E-Class – has set the bar high when it was launched last year.
Not only that, another one of its main rivals – the Audi A6 – is in the process of rolling out a new model next year that will further put pressure on BMW’s 5-Series, which has been the market leader for some time.
It will be very interesting to see what the new A6 has to offer. As we have said on these pages for a long time, Audi has been the pick of the bunch in recent years with its ‘virtual cockpit’, and the rest are still playing catch-up when it comes to interior design.
However, for now we will concentrate on the new 5-Series. Having been at the international launch in Malaga earlier in the year, I was very impressed with my first drive.
The German motor gurus were keen to point out that its main aim is to create an environment where there will be zero accidents on our roads, with the help of its semi-autonomous (cars that can drive themselves to some degree) systems.
The technology in the new BMW is astonishing – the car can foresee dangerous situations that lie ahead, which even includes fallen mountain rocks and other vehicles that may surprise you on your journey.
On the outside, the new 5 has a much sportier look that of the outgoing model. The kidney grille has, like myself, become chunkier around the middle as every year passes.
However, unlike me, although the whole car is now bigger than the outgoing model, it is actually a lot lighter thanks to the use of aluminium in the chassis and certain body parts.
My test car was fitted with the M Sport kit, which I feel every potential buyer of this model should try and stretch their budget to.
I am not normally a big lover of white cars, but my test model (pictured above) was fitted with 19-inch black alloy wheels that really made it stand out in the crowd.
The new BMW 5-Series offers a little bit more head and leg (which was a big complaint from owners of the previous model) room thanks to the longer wheelbase.
The boot has also been increased in size, with 530 litres on offer.
On the inside, I was slightly disappointed to see that similar layout that you find in most of the BMW range.
Even though the iPad-like screen can now be touched and squeezed, it still looks similar to the one found in the previous model.
One thing that has changed, though, is the driver cockpit. The head-up display is now much larger than before and the upmarket digital dash now changes colour and design as you flick through the Sport, Comfort and Eco pro modes.
Elsewhere in the cabin, the new 5-Series features the hand gesture controls that first appeared in the flagship 7-Series, and you can adjust the volume and even mute the radio without having to touch a control on the console or steering wheel.
On the road, there is still nothing that matches the BMW in the handling stakes.
I have tested it both on the meandering mountain roads in Marbella and had a week-long test drive on Irish roads and motorways and it never put a foot, or a wheel, wrong.
I will put my neck on the line and say it still holds the edge over the E-Class Mercedes, although there is very little to choose between the two.
I will be very interested to see what the new A6 has to offer when it arrives next year – this could be the one to really take on the amazing new 5-Series.
Model: BMW 520d M Sport
Price: 5-Series from €51,950 (€73,223 test car)
Road Tax: €200 per year
0-100kph: 7.5 sec
Max Speed: 235km/h
Fuel Economy: 4.3l/100km (claimed).
Boot Space: 530 litres