Appearances can be misleading; the G30 5-Series, for instance, does look generic 21st century BMW and kind of a careful evolution of its predecessor, but in reality it’s much more than that.
The seventh iteration of the 5-Series sticks with Munich’s current design language and is reminiscent of a scaled-down 7, only with more aggressively penned sides and a wider, lower stance than the previous generation.
Under the skin, though, it’s all change. The new saloon is based on the CLAR (Cluster Architecture) platform that makes extensive use of advanced, lightweight and even though it does without the 7-Series’ carbon fiber, total weight has been trimmed by as much as 100 kg (220lbs), 70kg (154 lbs) of which come from the chassis alone.
The suspension retains the double wishbone front and multi-link rear layout, but BMW’s engineers have changed its geometry and made extensive use of aluminum to further improve handling and comfort. Moreover, there are four different versions: the standard setup, the firmer sports suspension, one with electronically controlled dampers and, for the top models, the latter with active roll bars, too.
At launch, the 2017 5-Series will be available with four turbocharged engines: two petrol units, a 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 248 HP for the 530i and a 335 HP 3.0-liter inline-six for the 540i, and two diesels, a 2.0-liter for the 530d and a 3.0-liter for the 530d (yes, the naming strategy is, once again, confusing…).
Later on, the line up will grow with the addition of two more versions. The 530e plug-in hybrid will combine with a 2.0-liter turbo four mated to an electric motor for a total output of 249 bhp and 420 Nm of torque and an average consumption of just 2.0 lt/100 (117 mpg US), while the M550i xDrive will be powered by a 4.4-liter V8 with 455 bhp and sprint to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 4.0 seconds dead. That’s faster than the current M5, which needs 4.3, something that a. can be attributed to the advantage of all-wheel drive, and b. will be ‘rectified’ once the new, 600 hp, AWD M5 comes along in late 2017.
Rear-wheel drive will be standard and all-wheel drive an option, even in right-hand drive (RHD) cars (a first for the 5er), rear-wheel steering (Integral Active Steering in BMW-speak) will be optional and an 8-speed auto will be standard on all models bar the base 520d, which has a six-speed manual instead.
The bodywork has grown in all dimensions: the new 5-Series is 36 mm longer, 6 mm wider and 2 mm taller than the previous generation and sports a 7 mm longer wheelbase (at 2,976mm or 117.1 in.), improving rear passenger room and increasing boot capacity to 530 lt (+10 lt) or 18.7 cubic feet.
The dashboard would seem lifted out of the 7-Series if not for the fact that the center console (and its 10.25-inch touchscreen) are angled more towards the driver, which is BMW’s way of denoting that this is a car you’ll want to drive rather than be chauffeured in.
That being said, the all-new 5-Series features autonomous driving tech that allows it to not just follow other cars but overtake them, too. It can also communicate with other BMWs and ‘understand’ natural speech, instead of a set of commands, for its various voice-operated systems – a feature that’ll be added to the 7-Series next year. It goes without saying that it will be able to park itself, too, if you so wish, and (get this!) it will also be able to find empty spots for you via the new ParkNow feature.
BMW will offer an M Sport package straight from launch. It includes the M Aerodynamic kit comprised of a front apron with larger air intakes, side skirt trim, a diffusor-style rear apron and an exhaust system with two rectangular tailpipes, plus Shadowline exterior trim, lowered M Sport suspension and 19-inch wheels. Inside, the M Sport kit adds a three-spoke leather steering wheel, a SensaTec upholstered dashboard and aluminum pedal covers and footrest, along with bespoke floor mats when selecting the optional Black Dakota Leather with contrast Blue stitching and piping.
Sales will commence next February and, although pricing is not yet available, the new 5-Series will be slightly more expensive than the outgoing model, but better equipped, too.