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BMW 5 Series

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By Jonathan Crouch

The seventh generation BMW 5 Series claims to be significantly lighter, safer, quieter and more efficient than ever before. Plenty to worry rivals then. Jonathan Crouch takes a look at what's on offer.

Ten Second Reviewword count: 65

BMW's 5 Series is a full-sized Executive segment model that in recent generations hasn't quite been able to achieve the required blend between luxury and driving involvement. This seventh generation version claims a much better balance between these two extremes and adds in smarter looks, impressive media connectivity and a suite of electronic driving aids able to match the best that competitors have to offer.

Backgroundword count: 171

For well over four decades now, the question facing customers in the segment for full-sized executive cars has less been why they should choose a BMW 5 Series but why they shouldn't. This was the car that ruled its marketplace, the business buyer's 'ultimate driving machine' and the sixth generation 'F10' version ended up becoming the most successful model of its kind that BMW had ever made. It's dangerous to meddle with such an enduring success story, but the Bavarians have done just that by introducing the MK7 model we're going to look at here. A lot of the improvements made here you could perhaps have predicted. BMW's Plug-in hybrid tech makes an appearance and the sophisticated aluminium-rich chassis from the latest generation 7 Series also features beneath the skin. The company's expertise in autonomous driving systems and media connectivity is also showcased too. If all of this can shroud a car that cossets its passengers while still rewarding the driver at the wheel, then quite a contender is in prospect.

Driving Experienceword count: 342

You don't have to drive very far in this seventh generation 5 Series to notice this model's sharper feel and extra agility. Losing 100kg in weight will do that for you. It doesn't feature the kind of full air suspension set-up that can be specified as an option on a rival Mercedes E-Class, but if you add in the extra cost 'VDC' 'Variable Adaptive Damping' system we'd recommend, you'll find very little to complain about when it comes to ride quality. Engine-wise, the 184bhp 2.0-litre petrol turbo unit in the 520i will be popular, which slots into the range just below the 252bhp 2.0-litre four-cylinder powerplant used in the 530i. Alternatively, there's a 340bhp 540i variant which needs xDrive 4WD to control its prodigious 450Nm of torque. That's more grunt than older versions of the M5 super saloon used to have. Talking of the M5, this flagship variant is only available in the 'Competition' form that offers 625hp. For more eco-minded folk, there's a 530e iPerformance Plug-in hybrid model that mates a four cylinder petrol engine with an electric motor to achieve a combined output of 252bhp. It can reach an all-electric top speed of 87mph. Most 5 Series buyers though, will continue to want a diesel, probably the familiar 190hp 2.0-litre four cylinder unit used in the 520d or the 3.0-litre six cylinder 265hp powerplant used in the 530d which has 620Nm of pulling power. xDrive 4WD is optional in both cases. All 5 Series models must use an 8-speed Steptronic auto gearbox. Both these variants are available with optional xDrive if you want it. For the first time, BMW xDrive can be combined with Integral Active Steering, as well as lowered sports suspension. As for handling, well a step forward was needed here with many commentators reckoning that the previous generation model was too comfort-orientated in its standard guises. This time round, BMW's engineers reckon they've achieved a much better balance of performance and luxury thanks to reductions in weight, revised steering and new double-wishbone kinematics in the front axle.

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Pictures (high res disabled)

Statistics (subset of data only)

Min

Max

0-62 mph (s):

4.6

9.5

Combined mpg:

32.1

68.9

Extra urban mpg:

39.2

76.3

Height (mm):

1464

Length (mm):

4907

Max Speed (mph):

134

155

... and 6 other stats available

Scoring (subset of scores)

Category: Luxury Saloons and Estates

Performance
80%
Handling
80%
Comfort
80%
Space
80%
Styling, Build, Value, Equipment, Depreciation, Handling, Insurance and Total scores are available with our full data feed.

This is an excerpt from our full review.
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