Updated BMW 5-Series due in October
BMW is keeping its foot hard on the gas in pursuit of arch-rival Mercedes-Benz, with news of a mid-life update for its brawny 5-Series sedan and wagon due in October.
The BMW 5 Series is one of the Bavarian luxury car maker’s longest established and most important models, with this seventh-generation version now officially halfway through its model cycle.
These days it is comfortably outstripped for sales by more popular BMW SUV variants. As at the end of April, the 5 Series had notched 195 sales, placing it marginally behind the class leading Mercedes-Benz E-Class on 206 sales but well ahead of the 38 sales of the third-placed Maserati Ghibli.
With this latest update, BMW will be hoping the 5-Series can peg back the lead of the E-Class by enticing customers with a number of styling, equipment and specification enhancements.
Heading the list of changes is an interior upgrade featuring a high definition 12.3-inch centre control display, running the company’s latest BMW Operating System 7.0 software.
The latter enables the inclusion of BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant and wireless Android Auto capability on the 5-Series for the first time.
Newly designed centre console controls and a standard sports leather steering wheel with new multifunction button arrangements are also part of the package, as is the availability of optional M-Multifunctional seats from the high-performance M5 Competition model.
Exterior styling enhancements include a slightly wider and higher kidney grille, different bumpers and slimmer full-LED headlights with new daytime running light graphics.
The headlights now also include adaptive cornering function, high-beam assist and non-dazzling high-beam, with BMW Laserlight available as an option for even more powerful night illumination.
At the rear there are changes to the rear tail and brake lights that mimic the L-shaped graphic of the headlights.
Active safety has also been upgraded, with the lane departure warning system now also including lane return by means of steering assistance, when equipped with the optional driving assistant.
There’s also a new addition to the 5 Series parking assistant function in the form of a reversing assistant that takes control of the steering while reversing for distances of up to 50m.
On the safety and security front, a new Drive Recorder allows the driver to capture and store videos of the scene around the vehicle, for insurance or other uses, while a new 3D visualisation of the surrounding area in the instrument cluster provides an enhanced overview of the current traffic situation.
The new cloud-based navigation system also offers greater speed and precision when calculating routes and arrival times, while updating real-time traffic data at short intervals.
Remote software upgrade also enables improved vehicle functions and additional digital services to be imported over the air.
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Powertrain changes have been kept to a minimum, with some changes to the high-pressure fuel injection systems of the petrol engines aimed at improving efficiency, and the addition of two-stage turbocharging technology on diesel variants for improved power delivery.
One of the more significant changes is to the 530e plug-in hybrid, which gets BMW’s XtraBoost as standard.
This feature delivers an additional dose of power under vigorous acceleration, meaning the joint output of the 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine and its electric motor are increased by 30kW to a maximum of 215kW for up to 10 seconds.
As before, the new 5 Series range will feature a variety of engines, including a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol turbo in two states of tune, a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel, a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol plug-in hybrid, a 3.0-litre six-cylinder turbo diesel, a 3.0-litre six-cylinder petrol, and a 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8, also in two states of tune.
No pricing or range details for the face-lifted models have been released but this is expected to broadly follow the current line-up, meaning entry-level pricing of $90,990 for the 520i, rising through 10 variants, including two Touring wagons, to the thumping 460kW/750Nm M5 Competition, at $234,900.
Despite tough trading conditions for new cars in general, BMW has boasted recently about its overall sales outperforming the market decline so far this year.
April sales figures showed that the brand’s total sales of 7260 represented a decline of just 5.7% compared with a drop of 54% for rival Mercedes-Benz passenger cars (albeit on a still higher 8150 units), and 48.5% for the total industry.
BMW Australia also pointed to its healthy share of private sales for the first four months of 2020 at just over 53%, compared with an industry average of 47.6%.
Private sales are generally regarded as more lucrative than fleet sales and a better representation of a brand’s overall popularity.