BMW 5 Series
Recently launched to the marketplace is the all-new 5 Series mid-size luxury sedan. Once upon a time, the 5 Series was referred to as the sport sedan in the mid-size premium class, as it offered class-leading performance and handling dynamics that earned its keepsake. Taut, handsome and restrained styling became the 5 Series hallmark. As each new generation of 5 Series came to market, larger dimensions added refinement, and luxury amenities became more pronounced to the point that today’s all-new 2011 5 Series is at a level where the larger, more prestigious flagship 7 Series used to reside. A new addition to the 5 Series body style is the Grand Turismo crossover wagon, which oddly enough launched ahead of the 5 Series sedan. Breaking with tradition, the Grand Turismo offers a practical lift-back profile and high roofline to maximize cabin space. In the styling department, the new 5 Series sedan takes a more conservative approach with very handsome and understated lines. It’s a nice departure from the previous model, which was universally criticized for its over-the-top, controversial design. Unfortunately, as attractive as the body looks, the new styling lacks its own distinct identity, as it looks overly similar to the larger 7 Series sedan. This is no coincidence as the new 5 Series shares the same platform as the larger and heavier 7 Series.
The mainstay of the all-new 5 Series is the sedan model that consists of the 528i and 535i. Both are powered by an in-line six-cylinder engine that provides the renowned turbine-like smoothness of BMW’s in-line sixes. Unlike past BMWs, the numerical badges on the trunk lid no longer signify the actual engine displacement. Both the 528i and 535i employ the same 3.0-Litre engine where the difference is that the 535i uses a twin turbo to produce 300-horsepower vs. the non-turbo 528i that puts out 240-HP. For the overachievers, there’s the big kahuna 550i with its 4.4-L, V-8 twin turbo engine developing an impressive 400-HP and 450-lb. ft of torque. The standard transmission for all models is an eight-speed automatic. Being a driver’s car, it’s only natural that a manual transmission is still offered in both the 535i and 550i, but only in rear-wheel-drive models. This is a no-charge option, which should keep hardcore BMW fans happy. BMW’s very competent and sophisticated X-Drive all-wheel-drive system is available on both the 535i and 550i. To retain a rear-wheel-drive feel that is essential in a vehicle of this nature, the all-wheel-drive system is configured with a 40:60 torque split, where 40 per cent of the power goes to the front wheels and the remaining 60 per cent drives the rear wheels. With no driver intervention, the X-Drive AWD system goes about its job providing maximum traction and control for all-weather driving conditions.
In its quest to be a segment leader, the 5 Series comes with a very long list of convenience, luxury, safety and entertainment amenities. The base models are fairly equipped but when looking at the available packages, one can’t help but notice how much more technology the 5 Series can come with when pricey option packages get selected. Some of the available features are Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go function; Park Assistant for the parking challenged; Lane Departure Warning System to warn of lane wandering; Active Blind Spot Detection for detecting vehicles in the driver’s blind spot, Night Vision with pedestrian detection, Head-Up display and Surround View cameras.
With handsome new styling, strong underhood performance, dynamic chassis qualities and a high-content list, the BMW 5 Series easily satisfies those looking for a sophisticated mid-size luxury sedan. www.bmw.ca