High Five treat

It’s pricey, but there’s lot to the new BMW 5 Se­ries, writes Mark Hinch­liffe

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Prestige -

THE ar­rival of a new BMW 5 Se­ries is a clas­sic good-news/bad-news story for buy­ers. The price is up, way up on the pre­vi­ous car, but the 5 Se­ries is now said to set the value stan­dard in the $100,000 lux­ury class.

BMW Aus­tralia de­fends an $8000 price rise by say­ing the new Five has more stan­dard equip­ment than its di­rect ri­vals in Audi-Ben­zLexus-Jaguar land and meets the higher ex­pec­ta­tions of own­ers.

Among the stan­dard equip­ment in the new car is an eight-speed au­to­matic, big­ger wheels and a fighter-style heads-up in­stru­ment dis­play.

The new 5 Se­ries goes on sale here on June 3 — two weeks be­fore the US — with three petrol-pow­ered mod­els, the 528i from $99,900 with a nat­u­rally as­pi­rated 190kW in­line six, the 535i from $128,900 with a new 225kW twin­scroll turbo in­line six, and the $178,900 550i with 300kW V8.

They will be fol­lowed by the diesel-pow­ered 380Nm four-cylin­der 520d ($83,300) in Septem­ber and Alex Brock­hoff, 5 Se­ries prod­uct man­ager, says a six-cylin­der diesel is ex­pected to be added next year.

The sixth-gen­er­a­tion 5 Se­ries has been slightly stretched and has shorter over­hangs, front and rear, to give it the long­est wheel­base in its class. Boot space re­mains 520 litres.

Elec­tronic tech­nolo­gies, driver aids, a stiffer chas­sis and a pedes­trian-friendly bon­net lift the crash rat­ing from four to five stars.

In­side there are ex­tra alu­minium ac­cents while the dash­board has been tilted 7.2 de­grees to­wards the driver. The body is 50kg lighter with more alu­minium in the con­struc­tion — in­clud­ing the bon­net, doors and side pan­els — as well as the alu­minium sus­pen­sion from the 7 Se­ries and new 5 Se­ries Gran Turismo.

Brock­hoff says all en­gines all have greater power and torque with de­creased fuel con­sump­tion and CO emis­sions. Econ­omy is as low as 9.4 litres/100km on the 528 with CO emis­sions down to 187g/km. The 535i and 550i come stan­dard with three-mode Dy­namic Driv­ing Con­trol which ad­justs steer­ing sen­si­tiv­ity, throt­tle re­act- ion, trans­mis­sion re­sponse and Dy­namic Sta­bil­ity Con­trol.

Driv­ing

THE wet roads of the twist­ing and bumpy Yarra Ranges of Vic­to­ria are the per­fect test for the 535i mod­els at Aus­tralia’s press pre­view drive.

But the cars are not rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the ba­sic Five since there is no 528i and some are fit­ted with four-wheel steer­ing and the Adap­tive Drive pack­age of Dy­namic Damper Con­trol and Dy- namic Drive If you can af­ford the $10,600 for them, go ahead be­cause they are not gim­micks.

If you can­not af­ford the up­grade pack­age, you will still have a saloon that han­dles nim­bly.

Grip is still re­mark­able and brakes are sharp with plenty of feel­ing and no jerky anti-skid kick­back. Tyre noise is higher than I would ex­pect in a car of this cal­i­bre, but the twin-scroll turbo en­gine is re­fined, pow­er­ful, re­spon­sive and quiet.

The ex­tra-cost sur­round view takes some get­ting used to, as does the overly com­pli­cated trans­mis­sion knob.

Mod cons: the newBMW5 Se­ries has a heads-up dis­play.

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