The 7th generation BMW 5 Series was launched in 2017. Yet, just over a year later, the team based in Munich was already meticulously going about trying to make the updated model introduced this year – the new 5 Series – better.
“If you’ve driven the outgoing 5, you will know there’s not so much you can improve on a car that pretty much has everything,” says Christopher Wehner, Singapore-based managing director of BMW Group Asia.
See also: Powering ahead
Yet, the BMW team was more than happy to take on this challenge. On Oct 1, the new 5, featuring significant improvements, was launched in Singapore. It is set to continue dominating its segment and be the BMW that everybody already loves.
First, the design has an overall sportier look. The front of the new 5 has a significant change – the iconic kidney grille has undergone another evolution. It is now wider, taller, and drops further into the bumper. The grille transits seamlessly to the new adaptive LED headlights, which are now slimmer and more focused.
Moving to the backend of the car, the rear lights now come with a new L-shaped graphic to give additional visual impact. The rear lights and brake lights are integrated into a shared light fixture, which now forms a single unit with the prominently three-dimensional external lens. Regardless of engine types, the trapezoidal tailpipe finishers will be seen across the new 5 models. All in, the design of the new 5 has been accentuated to give a stronger presence on the road.
The Driver Assistance Features
The driver assistance systems available for the new 5 comes with additional functions to improve driving comfort on long journeys, as well as to increase safety in situations where the driver does not have a clear view.
For example, the Lane Departure Warning system included with the standard Driving Assistant, now also features lane return by means of steering assistance. The updated Steering and Lane Control Assistant, included as part of the new Driving Assistant Professional package, an optional feature, also brings Active Navigation, where the new 5 can detect necessary lane changes ahead, and nudges the driver to keep to the route calculated by the navigation system on multi-lane roads.
For Wehner, the most useful addition “hands down” is the Reversing Assistant, which helps steer the car in reverse for up to 50 metres of what was most recently covered. Drivers simply need to concentrate on braking, accelerating and keeping a lookout of the surroundings. This a useful feature in tight confines such as multi-storey car parks or if one gets stuck at a dead-end. The art of the three-point-turn will soon turn from a rusty skill to a lost art.
Finally you have 3D visualisation, where the driver’s hands are on the new 5, but he or she has round-the-clock “eyes” of the surrounding area.
The rapid advancements in technology have been applied towards better integration of digital services too, which can be easily toggled via the generously sized 12.3-inch control panel, which is offered in higher end variants such as the new BMW 520i Luxury Line, the new BMW 530i M Sport and the new BMW 530i M Sport Edition.
For example, the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant with extended functionality such as enhanced speech recognition, is also now available in the new 5 as a standard feature, offering more intuitive interaction between man and machine. Android smartphone users will be happy to know that the standard wireless Smartphone Integration function is now not just compatible with Apple CarPlay but with Android Auto as well.
Of the many new or improved digital features, another notable for Wehner is that of the BMW Digital Key for the iPhone. With the ubiquity of mobile devices, people are more likely to forget their car keys at home but not their smartphones. With this feature, iPhone-holding BMW drivers, having set up the Digital Key via the BMW Connected App, can conveniently tap to unlock and easily get going by placing their device in the smartphone tray and pushing the start button.
In addition, the car owner can also share access to their new 5 with up to five friends. They can even configure an access option for young drivers, with caps set on performance parameters such as top speed and horsepower.
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Any introduction of a new car model isn’t complete without some details on power and drivetrains. For an industry and ecosystem on a determined move towards sustainability, the capabilities of the new 5 will certainly not be extra fodder for environmentalists protesting at yet another pure combustion engine model. Yet, the new 5 isn’t compromising on power and performance as well.
All engine variants of the new 5 features a mild hybrid technology with a 48V starter-generator, promising enhanced performance, improved driving comfort, and lower fuel consumption compared to a traditional combustion engine.
The starter generator significantly increases the amount of brake energy that can be regenerated and stored. This stored energy is used not just for supplying the electrical system, but also for reducing the combustion engine’s workload and increasing its electric power with another 8 kW / 11hp. This extra boost comes in useful when moving off from a static position in a hurry, or when over-taking.
The powerful starter-generator also increases efficiency by assisting the engine when driving at constant speeds. It improves comfort when the Auto Start/Stop and coasting functions are in use as well. Drivers will no longer feel the engine switching off to conserve energy and switching back on when they lift their feet from the brakes.
The Future Is Electric
The new 530e plug-in hybrid variant with a combined power output of 292 hp (available at a later date) can cover over 60km just by drawing on the electric power. A typical daily commute in Singapore ranges between 40 and 50km – this means the 530e, if driven normally, can rely entirely on electric power, while saving the petrol engine as a back-up.
The move towards full electrification of cars will be some years to go, but interim models such as the 530e will be showing the fence-sitters where this industry is heading.
Today, we see major upheavals in the way business is done, with traditional industries evolving to adapt to the new norm. With its focus on new technologies and sustainability, the new 5 is changing the way it leads the business sedan segment.
Since 1972, the 5 has stood for progress and success, and today, the new 5 continues to pave the way for business leaders in their own right.