Car Review: The all-new BMW 5 Series Sedan

The new business athlete….

BMW’s seventh generation 5 Series Sedan has hit SA’s shores and last week I had the opportunity to spend two days along the Garden Route with this exciting new model.

Sporty, elegant and stylish, the new BMW 5 series represents that of a business athlete with all its enhanced features.

During a media briefing it was noted that BMW had recognised the need for a vehicle that provides the modern businessman (and woman) with comprehensive connectivity as well as practical and economical performance in a stylish and sporty new model. This was the target believed to have been achieved through the designing and manufacturing of the new 5 Series sedan.

“The seventh generation of the BMW 5 Series points the way into the future, as we have defined it with our NUMBER ONE > NEXT strategy. We see technological leadership, emotionally rich products and digitalisation as essential factors in achieving success. With the expansion of our model portfolio in the large-vehicle classes, we are satisfying the wishes of many customers. I’m in no doubt that the new BMW 5 Series will set new benchmarks technologically, but also have huge emotional appeal. It remains the epitome of the business sedan,” says Harald Krüger, Chairman of the Board of Management at BMW AG.

On the outside

The new 5 Series Sedan holds the line on size and is 37 mm longer, 8 mm wider and 15 mm taller than its predecessor. You’d think this would make it heavier, right? Wrong. In fact the new 5 Series is up to 100 kilograms lighter! That’s all thanks to the use of lightweight materials to produce a faster and more economical vehicle.

It’s wheelbase measures at 2, 975 mm (7 mm more than the outgoing model).

With Adaptive LED Headlights with BMW’s Selective Beams that lead into an Active Air Stream Kidney grille, (much like the 7 Series), its front end is eye-catching and sophisticated while its width is emphasised.

On the inside

Stepping inside we were met with exactly what you’d expect from a luxury business sedan: stylish and comfortable seating, a hospitable and welcoming infotainment system, and an overall new interior look and feel to match its sophistication.

It’s an impressive looking cabin as the new 5 Series introduces a comprehensive range of innovated new technology, but we’ll mention more about this when we list our favourite features below.

Generous leg and headroom in the rear without compromising boot space which offers a capacity of 530-litres.

The Sport Line offers BMW sports seats with cloth/leather covers in the front, a BMW sports leather steering wheel and specific trim strips.

A 10.5 inch touchscreen display houses new iDrive technology: Gesture Control, navigation, telephone, entertainment features and vehicle functions.

Ride and Drive

BMW claims that its new 5 Series is its most aerodynamically efficient model range and that a drag co-efficiency as low as Cd = 0.22 sets the benchmark.

The new BMW 5 Series launches with four engine variants and we had the pleasure of experiencing one of the new diesel engines on Day One (530d) and one of the new petrol engines on Day Two (540i). Myself and other journos were pretty impressed with the 530d’s enhancements and drivability while we swooped through the corners of the Outeniqua Pass and back. The ride was superbly comfortable, it felt classy and sporty all at the same time and my gosh, the sound of these new diesel engines is something else.

All models come standard with an eight-speed Steptronic automatic transmission with optomised internal efficiency and gear-change strategy.

While driving is smooth and fairly quiet in the cabin -BMW mentions this is thanks to “unsurpassed aerodynamics and BMW’s Efficient Lightweight Design Concept” it’s easy to get carried away and not realise just how fast you’re going, until the head’s-up display reminds you and keeps you informed of various speed limits. Easy does it!

Features inside continued to impress while getting to know the new 5 series. There’s just so much it can do!

Favourite Features

While BMW hopes to set a new benchmark with its technology features in the new 5 Series there’s a large assortment of exciting things to experience. Most of our favourite features are associated with this, but we have to mention that an increased use of aluminium and high-strength steels which reduce the weight of the 5 Series Sedan by up to 100 kilograms from that of its predecessor is certainly something that we know made for enhanced drivability and economy. But apart from this, our favourite features are as follows:

Automated driving

There are a number of technological features that assist the driver and make for an effortless and convenient drive. The new 5 Series Sedan is fitted as standard with a stereo camera, which teams up with optional radar and ultrasound sensors to monitor the area around the car. To support the driver in traffic jams, slow moving traffic and monotonous stretches of highways the new 5 Series connects the driver to his/her surroundings using the latest Google Maps software.

Steering and lane-keeping assist keeps you controlled and safe, especially when you’re driving along those sharp corners and windy roads.

Gesture Control 

If you’ve got someone you don’t want to speak to calling you the BMW’s Gesture Control function is pretty satisfying. Simply swipe your hand to the left and it’ll disconnect the call.  In-laws and telesales people, be gone! Of course if you’d like to answer a call a simple pointing action towards the screen will do that for you.

Point towards the interface while rotating your finger clockwise or anticlockwise adjusts the volume from the speakers. It took a while to familiarise myself with the function but once I got the hang of it I enjoyed making the most of it during our two-day driving experience.

Wireless Charging

No more cables! Staying connected and having your phone charged up at all times is something we always encourage our WOW readers to make sure of. There’s nothing worse than getting lost or breaking down when your phone has died. The new 5 Series Sedan’s wireless charging system is situated at the front of the cabin ahead of the gear stick. Simply place your phone on the pad in the recommended position and your phone will illuminate to indicate that charging has begun :-)

BMW remote key control 

This was one of our top favourite features. The new BMW 5 Series key controls the car from a distance, so you can literally get out of your car and park it from the outside using the remote key – great for those tight, tricky parking spots.

Engines and performance

BMW 530i: Four-cylinder petrol engine, eight-speed Steptronic transmission.
Capacity: 1,998cc.
Output: 185 kW at 5,200 – 6,500 rpm.
Maximum torque: 350 Nm at 1,450 – 4,800 rpm.
Acceleration (0–100 km/h): 6.2 s (6.0 s).
Fuel consumption, combined: 5.5 l/100 km (6.0 l/100 km)*.
CO2 emissions, combined: 126 g/km (137 g/km).

BMW 540i: Six-cylinder petrol engine, eight-speed Steptronic transmission.
Capacity: 2,998cc.
Output: 250 kW at 5,500 – 6,500 rpm.
Maximum torque: 450 Nm at 1,380 – 5,200 rpm.
Acceleration (0–100 km/h): 5.1 s (4.8 s).
Fuel consumption, combined: 6.5 l/100 km (6.9 l/100 km)*.
CO2 emissions, combined: 149 g/km (159 g/km).

BMW 520d: Four-cylinder diesel engine, eight-speed Steptronic transmission.
Capacity: 1,995cc.
Output: 140 kW at 4,000 rpm.
Maximum torque: 400 Nm at 1,750 – 2,500 rpm.
Acceleration (0–100 km/h): 7.7 s/7.5 s (7.6 s).
Fuel consumption, combined: 4.2 l/100 km / 4.1 l/100 km (4.5 l/100 km)*.
CO2 emissions, combined: 109 g/km / 108 g/km (119 g/km).

BMW 530d: Six-cylinder diesel engine, eight-speed Steptronic transmission.
Capacity: 2,993cc.
Output: 195 kW at 4,000 rpm.
Maximum torque: 620 Nm at 2,000 – 2,500 rpm.
Acceleration (0–100 km/h): 5.7 s (5.4 s).
Fuel consumption, combined: 4.5 l/100 km (5.0 l/100 km)*.
CO2 emissions, combined: 118 g/km (132 g/km)

An electric model is expected to launch later on this year – we’ll keep you posted!


520d starts at R770, 500

530i starts at R838, 700

530d starts at R952, 500

540i starts at R985, 300

Source: BMW South Africa