First class 5-se­ries car of 2010

The New Zealand Car of the Year is BMW’s im­pres­sive new 5-se­ries, writes Dave Moore

South Waikato News - - MOTORING -

AF­TER rat­ing the dozens of new cars to reach the mar­ket in New Zealand dur­ing 2010, the 32-strong mem­ber­ship of the New Zealand Mo­tor­ing Writ­ers’ Guild has cho­sen the BMW 5-se­ries as its Car of the Year.

The lat­est it­er­a­tion of BMW’s 5-se­ries saloon has fol­lowed in the foot­steps of two of its pre­de­ces­sors in be­ing judged New Zealand’s Car of the Year by the coun­try’s lead­ing mo­tor­ing writ­ers and com­men­ta­tors.

‘‘Com­ing af­ter an im­me­di­ate pre­de­ces­sor that at­tracted con­tro­versy on sev­eral fronts, no­tably for its bold styling and com­plex drive in­ter­face, the new F10 vari­ant rep­re­sents a wel­come re­turn to 5-se­ries form by BMW,’’ said guild pres­i­dent John Ox­ley.

‘‘It is this abil­ity to com­bine pas­sen­ger and driver ap­peal in a sin­gle ve­hi­cle that has al­ways marked the 5-se­ries out as a spe­cial car. Back in 1988, this was what led the third-gen­er­a­tion of the 5-se­ries to be­come the inaugural win­ner of New Zealand’s Car of the Year crown.

‘‘Eight years later, its suc- ces­sor fol­lowed suit and now, af­ter a fur­ther 14 years, the 5-se­ries has be­come the first car to win the ti­tle for a third time.’’

Run­ning the Ger­man lux­ury sports sedan close were two slightly more af­ford­able cars, in the form of Skoda’s Yeti SUV and the Suzuki Kiza­shi Sports sedan. It was ex­pected that the big Ger­man would gain votes well, what with its ar­ray of safety gear, chas­sis elec­tron­ics and other lux­ury re­fine­ments.

How­ever, its six-fig­ure pric­ing fac­tor was al­ways likely to tem­per its scor­ing per­for­mance con­sid­er­ably, and that the 5-se­ries still came through on top is an en­dorse­ment of its value both to drive and ac­quire.

I was per­son­ally im­pressed with its han­dling dy­nam­ics, gen­tler styling than be­fore and the way it turned ev­ery drive from a chore into an oc­ca­sion to savour.

I said in my road test ‘‘ev­ery time you climb into the new 5-se­ries it’s like be­ing given a com­pli­men­tary up­grade to first class’’.

The Skoda Yeti, which has al­ready won awards in New Zealand and over­seas, is one of those cars that’s bet­ter than the sum-to­tal of its parts, of­fer­ing hatch­back-like han­dling and ride, com­bined with carry-all prac­ti­cal­ity and suf­fi­cient gusto to show-up most other SUVs off-road.

Suzuki’s Kiza­shi also came to the top level in the Car of the Year vot­ing with a bril­liant chas­sis, high qual­ity build and fin­ish and a ter­rific 2.4-litre driv­e­train, all cost­ing from around what many would pay for a Ja­panese 1.8-litre hatch­back.

In recog­ni­tion of the BMW’s ti­tle win, BMW New Zealand will be awarded the Peter Greenslade Tro­phy, named af­ter the now de­ceased mo­tor­ing edi­tor of The Press in Christchurch, who was one of the in­sti­ga­tors of the orig­i­nal New Zealand Car of the Year award.

WIN­NER: The BMW5-se­ries is the New Zealand Mo­tor­ing Writ­ers’ Guild Car of the Year.

RUN­NER UP: The Suzuki Kiza­shi was among the fi­nal­ists for New Zealand Car of the Year.

AL­MOST: The Skoda Yeti was in the top three for Car of the Year.

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