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Fine-driving, hi-tech new BMW exec gets high 5

PUBLISHED: 09:23 12 February 2017

New Registration supplement pix

New Registration supplement pix

manufacturer supplied

The new BMW 5 Series has a lot of expectation riding on it. The outgoing car was immensely popular, so has the new one done enough to eclipse this? Darren Cassey finds out.

New BMW 5 Series saloon sets new standard in its class. Pictures: BMWNew BMW 5 Series saloon sets new standard in its class. Pictures: BMW

What’s new?

According to BMW, the 5 Series is the car most people associate the brand with so a new generation is a big deal.

It’s no surprise then that BMW has overhauled the outgoing car without changing its character much. The exterior styling is more taut and muscular, while the technology on display in the cabin is second to none.

The bits you can’t see are totally new – the chassis, lightweight materials to save 100kg, a double-wishbone set-up front axle and five-link rear suspension that helps give the kind of ride rivals can only dream of matching.

New BMW 5 Series saloon sets new standard in its class. Pictures: BMWNew BMW 5 Series saloon sets new standard in its class. Pictures: BMW

Looks and image

Narrow headlights combine with more pronounced creases along the car’s profile to give a muscular appearance.

The interior is more functional than luxurious, but there’s no denying the quality. A new tablet-like touchscreen helps declutter the centre console by moving more functions into its maze of menus.

New BMW 5 Series saloon sets new standard in its class. Pictures: BMWNew BMW 5 Series saloon sets new standard in its class. Pictures: BMW

Space and practicality

The saloon isn’t lacking for luggage capacity with 530 litres of boot space while the interior is even more spacious than before with marginally more headroom and legroom all round.

BMW is proud of the new 5 Series’s safety technology. The most significant is the optional £2,250 Driving Assistant Plus which includes lane departure warning, traffic jam assist and adaptive cruise control which make the car semi-autonomous, allowing you to take your hands off the wheel for short periods. It’s really quite spooky.

Under the bonnet

The most popular engine will be the 190hp, 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel with a claimed 68.9mpg and 108g/km of CO2.

But the 530d’s 265hp 3.0-litre turbo diesel, with 620Nm of torque, has the extra punch to really exploit the surprisingly capable chassis.

Put it in sport mode and control the slick automatic gearbox via wheel-mounted paddles and it’s more fun than the sportier 540i petrol.

Behind the wheel

For such a big car, it handles well, thanks to the improved chassis, lower weight and new suspension tuned to find the balance between driving dynamics and comfort. It excels at devouring motorway miles, with unparalleled ride quality.

Parking is easy thanks to driver assists that use the central touchscreen to give both a bird’s-eye view of the car and a nifty rear-view camera.

Value for money

It packs better standard kit than before, including a fully digital instrument display, LED headlights and widescreen navigation, which makes it competitive with rivals, but the best goodies are optional extras. The test car came with a long list including automatic, four-zone air conditioning (£695), a brilliant head-up display (£995) and ‘comfort seats’ (£1,705).

The base 5 Series is hardly spartan, but buyers will have to tick a lot of boxes for the full experience of technology and comfort.

SPEC AND TECH

Price: Model: BMW 530d SE £43,835 (range from £36,025)

Engine: 3.0-litre, 265hp, six-cylinder turbo diesel

Transmission: Eight-speed automatic

Performance: 0-62mph: 5.7 seconds, top speed 155mph (limited)

MPG: 60.1 combined

CO2 emissions: 124g/km

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