BMW launches the latest generation of its popular BMW 5 Series luxury sedan

Seven is a lucky number in Western society for a number of reasons. God created the world in six days and then rested on the seventh. There are seven days in a week and seven colours in the rainbow. But will it be lucky number seven for BMW as it launches the latest generation of its popular BMW 5 Series luxury sedan?

The model was first launched back in 1972 and is now unrecognisable when you compare it to its seventh and most recent iteration. Cars looked and drove a lot differently back in the 1970s.

Fast forward to the present, and I was test driving the new BMW 530i. The first BMW 5 Series was launched here in 2017, so BMW felt it was time for a mid-life refresh, or Life Cycle Impulse (LCI), as the German carmaker likes to call it.

However you refer to it, it is a facelift, and for the BMW 5 Series, this means slimmer headlights and a redesigned kidney grille at the front of the car. The changes are subtle but they do enough to make this new edition leaner and more athletic than its predecessor.

The BMW 5 Series is not a compact car by any means but kudos to the brand’s designers for making it look sleeker than ever.

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I have driven a fair few BMWs in my time (understatement) and I find the interior comforting in how every button is just where it should be with a simple layout. It can often be overwhelming when you get inside a new car and try to figure out which buttons do what.

Not so with a BMW as it has a very intuitive layout, even for those new to the brand. One of the cabin’s standout features is a dashboard screen which has grown from 10.25in to 12.3in.

Not only is it big, it is also very easy to use and navigate your way around the multiple functions. These days, it is all about the tech and this larger display is sure to impress. And if you are in the luxury segment, drivers expect to be able to talk to their car and give it voice instructions.

Thankfully, the BMW 5 Series comes with the Intelligent Personal Assistant, an onboard digital assistant that does just that. So you can be the boss in the office, and on your commute too.

Another handy feature is called Comfort Access, which has been further enhanced. You walk up to the car with the key fob in your pocket and the car will automatically unlock. Walk away and it automatically locks itself. Sounds very basic but it is also very convenient.

On the performance front, it is no longer about the size of the engine, but more about what it can do. The BMW 5 Series comes with a two-litre turbocharged engine, but that is only half the story. True to BMW’s cleaner energy commitments, the BMW 530i is now fitted with a 48V mild-hybrid system. If you look closely at the engine’s start button, you will see that there is no longer a switch to turn off the start/ stop function.

This means the car will always cut off the engine when you are not moving. In other models, you can easily override this and turn the engine back on, but not with the BMW 530i. The powerful starter-generator ensures a smooth restarting of the engine, so there is no compromise on comfort.

The start/stop function helps improve the car’s fuel efficiency and makes the most of the mild hybrid technology. The BMW 530i is a beast of a car and has been taken up a notch now that BMW has turned it into a state-of-the-art mild hybrid machine.

This combination of petrol and electric power brings down consumption to a very respectable 5.6 litres per 100km while switching fairly effortlessly between both power sources. I am a big believer in electric vehicles, so a mild hybrid is a nice starting step for those who are not quite ready to make the leap to full electrification.

We are likely to see more electrified vehicles across BMW’s range, so if you are still on the fence when it comes to electromobility, a car like the new BMW 5 Series gives you a glimpse into the future of available choices in the years to come.

All combustion-engined versions come with the mild hybrid technology as standard, and the plug-in hybrid BMW 530e sedan just arrived on our shores last month. One thing is for sure — with a premium marque like BMW, it works hard to make sure you do not see any compromise in comfort and driving pleasure no matter which option you choose.

On the road, the BMW 5 Series is a beautifully smooth drive. It is helped by a nice array of driver aids including the Driver Assistant package, which allows steering intervention when you drift out of lane. The Reversing Assistant is particularly useful, as it takes control of the steering while backing up for distances of up to 50m — great for the times when you have to manoeuvre out of tight spots such as entrances to courtyards.

Despite its size, the BMW 530i is nimble in the city and with very clear parking cameras and a bird’s eye view to guide you, parking is a breeze. With all its tech and refinements, it is a big car with bigger appeal.

BMW 530i M Sport : $298,888 including COE Engine: 1,998cc, in-line 4, turbocharged Power/torque: 252hp/350Nm Fuel efficiency: 5.6L/100km 0-100kph: 6.4 seconds Top speed: 250kph