Ten things you need to know: new BMW 5 Series | Top Gear
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Ten things you need to know: new BMW 5 Series

BMW reveals seventh generation executive saloon. Here's your complete guide

  • As a 5 Series it's all-new, but it's made of bits that aren't

    The platform, suspension, 10.5-inch iDrive, seats, driver-assist and much more are borrowed from last year's 7 Series. This means almost every bit of fancy spec available on the 7 Series can also be had on the 5.

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  • Except the 'carbon core body'… but it's still light, and slippery

    The 7 Series has big girders of carbonfibre in its shell. But that's too expensive for the 5 Series so instead it uses a mix of high-strength steel, aluminium and magnesium. The bonnet, boot lid and doors are all aluminium. Overall the new 5 Series is about 100kg lighter than before. The drag coefficient dips as low as 0.22 for the small-engined ones. Active grille shutters blank off the opening when cooling isn't needed.

  • Oh, and there's no V12

    The fastest 5 Series is a V8, the twin-turbo M550i xDrive. It's got 462bhp and is claimed to crack through 62mph in 4.0 sec. Crikey. If the next M5 sticks with RWD, it'll find that time hard to beat.

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  • At the other end of the spectrum, there's a thrifty diesel and a PHEV

    The 520d EfficientDynamics makes 190bhp, goes from 0-62mph in 7.5sec and returns a claimed 102g/km. The other company-car fave might be the 530e plug-in (pictured). It has a claimed electric range of 28 miles, and when the engine kicks in a 6.2sec 0-62mph time. On the very particular demands of the EU cycle, it shows 46g/km.

  • And in between, more fours and sixes and XDrive

    To whit, the 530i which sadly is just a 2.0-litre four-cylinder, at 252bhp. If you want a straight-six, you need a 530d (265bhp) or 540i (340bhp). The XDrive 4WD (pictured) is optional with nearly all engines, even the 520d. Only on the 520d RWD will BMW sell you a manual. On the 4WD versions, a rear steering system makes the wheel feel more direct at slow speed and more stable at high speed.

  • Active anti-roll is on the list

    The other fancy chassis system is active anti-roll with adaptive dampers. BMW calls it 'dynamic drive'. This time around it's a lightweight electric system, not a hydraulic one. BMW manages it with 12 volts, while Audi's and Bentley's SUVs need a 48V system. As usual there are endless chassis and powertrain modes from 'eco pro' and 'comfort' to 'sport+' and an adaptive one that adapts both to your style and the navigation's knowledge of the road.

  • There are some fresh shapes

    The daytime running LEDs trace a hexagonal outline, making a visual connection with BMW's traditional double grille. And there's a fresh crease down the side. It begins high above the front wheel-arch, then takes a steadily rising path above the door handles before flicking up behind the aft side window. All about making the car 'surge' forwards apparently. BMW design evolves so gradually, they think this is worth a special mention.

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  • You can be very, very assisted

    The Steering and Lane Keeping Assistant, with radar cruise too, works at up to 130mph. Lane Change Assistant does that job for you. And Intelligent Speed Assist (incorporating speed restrictions into the cruise control system). An Evasion Aid supports your steering inputs if you swerve around an obstacle, even using the sensors around the car to watch and try to avoid other objects.

  • It's BMW-cloud-connected

    The BMW connected function will, if you let it, scan your diary and address book so when you get in the car the navigation is pre-loaded with your destination, and it's ready to text your ETA to the people you're meeting. As you go, other networked BMW vehicles tell you if you're driving towards a danger. A phone app connects to the car's 360-degree cameras so you can check its surroundings remotely on your phone.

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  • It's the seventh generation BMW 5 Series

    Deep breath. In 1972 the angular-looking E10 5 Series succeeded the 'Neue Klasse' BMW 2000. The 1981 E28 modernised the idea, and in 1985 gave us the first M5. The 1987 E34 was more rounded and saw a Touring for the first time, and a V8, though the M5 was a six. Then in 1995 came the brilliant E39, with aluminium suspension, and an awesome naturally-aspirated V8 in the M5. The Bangle-era E60 brought a part-aluminium body, active steering and iDrive in 2003, and a brilliant, raucous V10 M5. The 2010 F10/F11 was launched first as a third bodystyle, the unlovely F07 five-door Gran Turismo.

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