Monday 7 December 2009

New Car: 2010 BMW 5 Series

BMW has unveiled pictures, prices and specifications for its all-new sixth-generation 5 Series saloon.

Some 37 years on since the first 5 Series first went on sale, the new car is set to be heralded as a technological tour de force when it launches in Europe on the 20th March. Right hand drive BMW 5 Series’ will arrive a few weeks later. BMW UK is stressing the vitally of the new model since the new E-Class is outselling the current 5 Series.

Top of the technological highlights is stop/start technology on all models and the new 8 speed automatic – a first for BMW. The 5 Series will also boast the highest level of standard specification ever while carrying over some of the key features like double wishbone suspension and a 50:50 weight distribution.

A wide range of engines will be offered with the new model, with four petrols ranging from the 201bhp 523i to the mighty 401bhp 550i. On the diesel side, initially, there will be just three models to choose from: the 182bhp 520d, the 204bhp 525d and the 242bhp 530d.

The biggest seller in the UK is expected to remain the 520d that majors in efficiency. Despite boasting a healthy 182bhp and being able to sprint to 62mph in 8.1 seconds before topping out at 141mph the 2.0 litre diesel can return 56.5mpg while emitting 132g/km of CO2. However, a eco variant of the 2.0 litre diesel engine is expected to bow at the forthcoming Geneva motorshow.

The mid-ranged 525d boasts 204bhp with a 0-62mph time of 7.2 seconds. Top speed is 147mph with combined fuel economy rated at 45.6mpg and CO2 emissions of 162g/km.

Flagship 242bhp 530d is capable of delivering 44.8mpg while emitting 166g/km of CO2. Fitted with either the new 8 speed auto or 6 speed manual, it hits the 62mph benchmark in just 6.3 seconds before topping out at a limited 155mph.

On the petrol front, there's the choice of three V6 engines. The entry-level 201bhp 523i, is the least powerful but can still sprint to 62mph in just 7.9 seconds before topping out at 148mph. At the pumps, the 523i averages 37.2mpg while emitting 177g/km of carbon dioxide.

Until the flagship M5 arrives, the 401bhp 550i petrol will be the fastest 5 Series money can buy. Thanks to its twin-turbo V8, the BMW hits 62mph 5.0 seconds before being electrically limited at 155mph. Despite its performance, the quickest 5-Series can average 27.2mpg while emitting 243g/km of CO2. To put it into context, the Mercedes E500 sedan has 387bhp mated to a 7 speed automatic gearbox. The E500 averages 26.2mpg with a CO2 rating of 265g/km.

For the first time, BMW 5 Series drivers are offered the option of Drive Dynamic Control that allows the option of four differing settings for the levels of steering assistance, throttle response, automatic gear changing ferocity and ESP intervention. All models come standard with leather upholstery and Bluetooth hands-free.

BMW also claims the new 5 Series has the longest wheelbase in its class, with a distance of 2,970mm between the front and rear wheels – which should mean good rear legroom.

New options include Park Assist that steers the BMW automatically into a car park space with the driver operating only the accelerator and brake pedals. Four-wheel Integral Active Steering can also be specified which reduces the car's turning circle by 0.5 metres. Meanwhile, the Surround View system uses cameras in the side mirrors and the front wheel arches in conjunction with Park Distance Control and the optional Reversing Assist camera to provide a 360 degree view on the iDrive display for perfect parking.

The BMW 5 Series is offered with a wealth of optional equipment to enhance safety, style and convenience.

An eight-speed automatic gearbox or an eight-speed Sport automatic transmission with Formula One-style steering wheel-mounted paddles, Variable Damper Control (VDC), adaptive drive package – Drive Dynamic Control (DDC) chassis configurator (allows for fine tuning of the chassis with the choice of Normal, Comfort, Sport and Sport+). Each mode changes the levels of steering assistance, throttle response, gear change characteristics, degree of Dynamic Stability Control interaction and, courtesy of adjustable dampers, the ride and handling characteristics, USB audio interface, ambient lighting, park assist, four-wheel Integral active steering, surround view system, park distance control, reversing assist camera, head-up display, night vision with pedestrian recognition, lane departure warning, lane change warning, speed limit info, two rear entertainment packages, BMW navigation, BMW ConnectedDrive, 19” alloy wheels, sport seats, anthracite headlining, sport leather steering wheel, high-gloss exterior trim, adaptive headlights, xenon headlights, high-beam assist and headlight wash are all optional.

Standard equipment includes auto start/stop, optimum gearshift indicator, brake energy regeneration, low rolling resistance tyres, electric power steering with Servotronic assistance for enhanced driving dynamics and comfort, leather upholstery, BMW Professional radio, Bluetooth telephone preparation and air-conditioning.

Prices for the cheapest 520d SE kicks off at £28,165 - £625 more than the outgoing car. Before you start questioning the price tag, BMW has put in £2k worth of kit that would otherwise be optional on the ’09 5 Series saloon. Prices stretch to £50,520 for the 550i, however, the E500 sedan undercuts the Beemer by £5,010 at £45,510.

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