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