First Drive: BMW 5 Series


BMW 520d M Sport Saloon

BMW’s new 5 series sheds weight, gains efficiency and performance writes Geraldine Herbert as we found out when we took it to Mondello Park

What is it? BMW’s all new 5 series is more spacious and 100kg lighter than the last, thanks to what BMW calls Efficient Lightweight design

First impressions of the new 5 Series? Since the polarizing Chris Bangle designs of the noughties, BMW designers have maintained a strong visual link between the past and present 5 Series and differences between the all new version and previous generation are minor. The latest 5 Series is probably the most restrained offering to date and looks more like a shrunken 7.

What about the interior?  Inside it is packed with high-tech features including the new iDrive infotainment with optional Gesture Control for key functions such as navigation, telephone, entertainment features and vehicle functions or you can simply rely on the iDrive rotary controller to do the same.  Space is also good throughout and there is more headroom than previously in the back as well as an increased boot capacity of 530 litres.

And engines? There is a good mix of   diesel and petrol options and all offer greater fuel efficiency with lower emissions. There is also the option of a hybrid BMW 530e iPerformance Saloon with CO2 emissions of just 49g/km while generating overall output of 252hp. Fuel consumption is a remarkable 134.5mpg. And for extra reassurance the 20d, 30d and 40i  can be specified with BMW’s xDrive intelligent all-wheel drive system.

And on a track? Keen to demonstrate that their recent emphasis on Efficient Dynamics is not at the expense of the Ultimate Driving Machine we were offered the chance to sample the car on our National track at Mondello. And it is here that the 5 truly shines with brilliant grip and perfect balance thanks to the new xDrive four-wheel drive available for the first time. The steering is quicker than before and both that precision and poise is very appealing; it is still the car to offer the best balance of power and handling.

Will it break the bank? Prices start at €51,950 for the 520d SE and the 530d SE starts at €64,860. Though well equipped the price is a little steep when compared to rivals. The Mercedes Benz E class range starts from €47,975 (Recently reduced by 10%), Jaguar’s XF from €45,995, Volvo S90 from €44,995 and the Audi A6 is priced from €45,080.

How smart is it? The new car can even park itself into tight parallel and perpendicular spaces, but be warned it may get you in but the system won’t get you out again.

What about safety?  As the price tag suggests the 5 series comes with a host of driver assistance systems to reduce the driver’s workload including Dynamic Cruise Control (DCC) as standard, while Active Cruise Control (ACC) and Speed Limit Info are optional. Driving Assistant Plus safety package includes the Lane Keeping Assistant, Lane Departure Warning system, Lane Change Warning, along with Driving Assist Plus.


3 words to describe the new 5 Series?  Sporty; Smart; Smooth


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Geraldine Herbert

25th April, 2017

Author: Geraldine Herbert

Motoring Editor and Columnist for the Sunday Independent and editor of wheelsforwomen. Geraldine is also a regular contributor to Good Housekeeping (UK) and to RTÉ Radio One, Newstalk, TodayFM and BBC Radio. You can follow Geraldine on Twitter at @GerHerbert1

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