BMWhit­s­them­for six

NT News - Motoring - - CARS GUIDE MARK HINCHLIFFE. - (Tour­ing) Prices: En­gines: Power: Torque: Econ­omy (litres/100km): Also in its class:

BMW’S sixth-gen­er­a­tion 5 Se­ries Tour­ing comes with six firsts and in­cludes fea­tures not even found in the 7 Se­ries.

For the first time since 1997, a 5 Se­ries Tour­ing ar­rives cost­ing less than $100,000. Other BMW firsts are a diesel vari­ant, 20/40/20 rear seat split, an op­tional dig­i­tal ra­dio, split tail­gate and stan­dard in­clu­sion of an auto-park­ing fea­ture, which is not even avail­able in the 7 Se­ries as the flag­ship has hy­draulic, not elec­tric steer­ing. PRICE: The diesel-pow­ered 520d Tour­ing ar­rives at $92,800, sav­ing about $5000 on the lux­ury tax be­cause its fuel econ­omy of 5.3 litres/ 100km is well un­der the 7 litres/100km thresh­old.

It comes stan­dard with head-up dis­play, adap­tive head­lights and most fea­tures avail­able in the 7 Se­ries.

The petrol-pow­ered 535i Tour­ing starts at $138,900 and adds 18-inch wheels, gearshift pad­dles, auto tail­gate, key­less ac­cess, rear sun blinds, ad­justable elec­tric seats, am­bi­ent light­ing, bixenon head­lights, a bet­ter hifi and high-beam as­sist. DE­SIGN: An ob­vi­ous high­light of the Tour­ing is its wagon area.

It comes with a split tail­gate where the top glass hal­fopens re­motely with the key fob and the cargo cover folds back elec­tron­i­cally or the whole tail­gate opens as one.

In the 535i, the tail­gate also opens re­motely. Cargo space is 560 litres, in­creas­ing to 590 litres with the rear seats tilted for­ward or 1670 litres with the rear seats folded down al­most flat.

The rear seats can also be folded down in three vari­a­tions thanks to the 20/40/20 split, al­low­ing four oc­cu­pants with a set of skis to be stored down the mid­dle.

Out­side, the diesel and petrol mod­els can be dis­tin­guished by the larger front air dam on the 535i and by the twin tailpipes on ei­ther side of the 535i and to­gether on the left on the 520d. TECH­NOL­OGY: The 520d diesel en­gine pro­duces 135kW of power and 380Nm of torque but, most im­por­tantly, sips fuel at just 5.3 litres/100km and emits 139g of CO /km.

The om­nipresent twin­scroll turbo en­gine in the 535i Tour­ing has the same power (225kW) and torque (400Nm) as in the sedan and is faster than the 540i wagon it re­places. Econ­omy is 8.5 litres/100km with 197g/km of CO .

Fuel sav­ings are achieved by the use of light­weight alu­minium in pan­els and chas­sis; elec­tric power steer­ing that uses en­ergy from the en­gine only when steer­ing rather than hy­draulic, which uses en­ergy from the en­gine all the time; eight­speed trans­mis­sion; air flaps be­hind the kid­ney grille that close to quickly heat the en­gine on start-up and open for bet­ter aero­dy­nam­ics on the high­way; low rolling re­sis­tance tyres; and bat­tery charg­ing only when de­cel­er­at­ing.

Tech­nol­ogy abounds in the wag­ons in­clud­ing the stan­dard ad­di­tion of park­ing as­sis­tance for au­to­matic par­al­lel park­ing, iPhone and iPod In­te­gra­tion, op­tional Blue­tooth in­ter­net on the wide-screen nav­i­ga­tion sys­tem, and dig­i­tal ra­dio.

BMW will also of­fer an ‘‘Of­fice’’ in­fo­tain­ment pack­age that will in­te­grate email, calendar, notes and text mes­sage func­tions mo­bile phone. SAFETY: Euro NCAP has awarded a max­i­mum fives­tar safety rat­ing, thanks to a pedes­trian-friendly bon­net and a raft of safety fea­tures.

The wag­ons have not yet been tested for an ANCAP safety rat­ing.

Op­tional safety fea­tures in­clude adap­tive cruise con­trol with a semi-au­to­matic emer­gency brak­ing func­tion to avoid rear-end col­li­sions, cam­eras that mon­i­tor road

from

a speed signs, lane de­par­ture warn­ing and night vi­sion. DRIV­ING: BMW launched the wag­ons with a drive through ru­ral Vic­to­ria over nar­row, bumpy roads.

Key to their sure-foot­ing is the alu­minium dou­ble wish­bone front axle and in­te­gral rear axle air sus­pen­sion with self-lev­el­ling that ad­justs for loads.

For bet­ter sta­bil­ity, the 6.5cm-longer wagon now has an 8cm-longer wheel­base mea­sur­ing 2.97m, the same as the sedan. Diesel buy­ers can also op­tion stiffer and lower M sport sus­pen­sion or Dy­namic Damper Con­trol sus­pen­sion in which each wheel ad­justs to road con­di­tions 400 times a sec­ond.

The 535i also comes with an M Sport op­tion and DDC with adap­tive drive to re­duce body roll.

The stan­dard speed­vari­able elec­tric steer­ing feels a lit­tle ar­ti­fi­cial, while the op­tional In­te­gral Ac­tive Steer­ing will take time to get

$92,800 (520d), $138,900 (535i)

2.0-litre, 4-cylin­der diesel; 3.0-litre straight-six petrol.

135kW (520d), 225kW (535i)

380Nm (520d), 400Nm (535i) 5.3 (520d), 8.5 (535i) CO (g/km): 139 (520d), 197 (535i)

Audi All­road 3.0 TDI ($106,900), Q7 3.0 TDI ($88,614) and 3.0 TFSI ($93,814); Mercedes E250 CDI, ($98,400), ML 350 ($88,310) and ML 300 CDI ($84,760) used to. It al­lows the rear wheels to steer in the op­po­site direc­tion by 2.5 de­grees un­der 60km/h and in the same direc­tion over 60km/h. This re­duces the turn­ing cir­cle by 50cm at slow speeds and cre­ates sta­ble lane-chang­ing at high­way speeds.

As ex­pected, the 3.0-litre straight-six en­gine is a high­revving de­light, but the diesel is the sur­prise pack­age. De­spite be­ing just a 2.0-litre four-cylin­der, it gal­lops along qui­etly and ef­fi­ciently with no-fuss ac­cel­er­a­tion. The eight­speed trans­mis­sion is so smooth the changes are al­most im­per­cep­ti­ble. VER­DICT: A diesel vari­ant in this sleek and stylish wagon pack­age will reel in buy­ers who pre­fer a car-like ex­pe­ri­ence with­out sac­ri­fic­ing the load-car­ry­ing prac­ti­cal­ity of an SUV.

The BMW 5 Se­ries Tour­ing has petrol and diesel vari­ants and a split tail­gate where the top glass half-opens re­motely with the key fob

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