Going on sale this spring, the 7th generation BMW 5 Series range of sport sedans made their North American debut at the Detroit Auto Show.
Sticking to the recipe of success that has made the BMW 5-Series one of their top selling models for decades, the all-new 2017 and 2018 models get more of what makes them popular in the showrooms but seems to keep the soul of what got them there in the first place.
All-new from the ground up, the new 5 Series has grown slightly in size, now 1.2-inches longer but other dimensions only grow by fractions of an inch. Though slightly larger it has lost up to 137 pounds with a tighter body structure composed of high-strength steels and vast use of aluminum.
Styling is one area where BMW didn’t break tradition, taking it only a few steps forward. Standard now are LED Adaptive headlights across the entire lineup and bookend the double kidney grille in good form. Optional are Adaptive Full LED Headlights with distinctive LED tubes you see here.
Its side silhouette carries the same message forward BMW’s have for decades but with a few nips and tucks including a vent detail in the front fenders just behind the wheel arches. Wheel choices by the way will range from 18 to 20-inch sizes.
At the rear, LED tail lights wrap deeper into the side flanks than before, looking slimmer and more intricate. The lower fascia now has symmetrically laid out dual exhaust tips on all models, though their design and aggressiveness vary depending on which model you buy.
A lower dash design sees the freestanding center display as a much more prominent feature and it’s controlled by an all-new touch-pad iDrive 6.0 controller in addition to new gesture and swipe controls at the main screen.
A new generation Head-Up Display, Remote 3D View and an improved Voice Control round out the new technologies inside that raise the bar for the suite driver information and connected conveniences.
Standard front seats are 16-way electrically adjustable, optional are 20-way multi-contour also available with heating and ventilation. They can be had in a rich Dakota leather with decorative stitching or Nappa hides with quilted patterns.
The new 5 Series will launch with four different models. At the entry point is the 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder BMW 530i. Starting at $51,200, it offers 248 horsepower and BMW says it can sprint from 0-60 in under six seconds when optioned with xDrive all-wheel drive.
Shown in our video here is the 540i with its 3.0-liter turbocharged inline six-cylinder, now up to 335 horsepower. Hitting 60 mph in just 4.9 seconds BMW tells us and slightly quicker with the aforementioned xDrive. The BMW 540i starts at $56,450.
For those wanting power and efficiency there is the new 530e iPerformance plug-in hybrid starting at $51,400. With the same 2.0-liter four-cylinder found in the 530i, it adds an an electric motor integrated into its 8-speed automatic transmission to offer fuel economy well above average while still being able to hit 60 mph in 5.8 seconds when equipped with xDrive.
Topping the range is the the 456 horsepower M550i xDrive, the first M Performance model to be powered by a unique twin-turbocharged 4.4 liter V8. With all its catalog of technologies too long to list here it cranks out some 480 pound-feet of torque at just 1,800 rpm and rolled out through standard xDrive all-wheel drive.
BMW says 0 to 60 mph comes in 3.9 seconds with power delivery biased to the rear wheels for a fun loving handling character at the limits. The M550i xDrive will start at $72,100 and will be a 2018 model when it arrives a little later than the rest.
As said, xDrive all-wheel drive can be had on all 5 Series models and can now be combined with Integral Active Steering and the M Sport Package. With that comes a sport variant of the eight-speed automatic transmission standard on all 5 Series models but here with tighter shift behavior and steering wheel paddle shifters.
The new BMW 5 Series sedans being rolling out very soon. We’ll bring you a far more detailed review as soon as we get our first seat time behind the wheel.