by John K. Lindgren
BMW 5 Series debuted in 1972. Four decades later the 7th generation sets the benchmark again in the executive luxury saloon class.
So, what is it about the all new “Bee-Emm” 5 series? Simple answer: German state-of-the-art automotive innovation and technology. Providing that unmistakeable “sheer driving pleasure” whilst competing with the German Mercedes-Benz E-Class and Audi A6, the new Swedish/Chinese Volvo S90 as well as the British/Indian Jaguar XF.
The nouvelle “Beemer” 5 series (G30 as the insiders call it) is massively forward, in every aspect, longer, wider and bigger. But amazingly 100 kilograms lighter, thanks to the use of advanced materials such as aluminum, high-strength steels and magnesium. The weight reduction means the BMW 5 Series is faster and better to drive than ever.
Pattaya Today Life & Leisure demo BMW 520d Luxury Line (3.899 million baht) may at first glance look like a large, long sedan, since it shares technology borrowed form the 7 Series limousine. The new “5” is longer and wider but also more aerodynamic, scoring a remarkable, slippery Cd of 0.22. Evolutionary rather than revolutionary. Styling remains a tad conservative with cues taken from the larger 7 Series flagship. But, no doubt it’s a pure BMW. See the emblematic kidney grille linked to the four-ring LED headlights and distinctive shoulder line. The low roof curvature sloping to the rear lends the muscular body an elegant coupé-like silhouette matched by sporty 18-inch alloys. And the broad rear with new taillights emphasizes high performance. Maybe, the BMW isn’t as sleek as the Jaguar XF or as imposing as the Mercedes E-Class, but its handsome design oozes understated prestige.
Interior: Logical German layout, functionality combined with luxury. Access to the well appointed cabin is easy thanks to wide-opening doors. With almost three- meter long wheel base, BMW 5 Series boasts ample legroom and head room for rear seat passengers. The quality of the materials and finish is first rate; leather trimmed seats, fine-wood surfaces; chrome and piano black accents create an interior that is both elegant and user friendly. A highlight is the new infotainment system, the intuitive BMW iDrive concept (the best in the market) with 10.25-inch high resolution touchscreen including the amazing, Gesture control, first seen in the 7 Series. Just wave your hand in front of the screen and you’re controlling the volume. Wow!
Driver orientation. The cockpit, which makes this a driver’s car, par excellence. Everything is right at your fingertips and the large, chunky leather wrapped wheel rim is comfortable to hold and increases the feeling of control. Almost like you’re driving a race car, not a luxury sedan. Then there is the uber-kool display-key-fob which features a small touchscreen with various information about the vehicle’s status. More high-end features: adaptive LED powerful headlights and HD rear view camera.
Engine: The 2.0-liter BMW advanced diesel motor develops 190hp and 400Nm of torque and features a twin-geometry turbocharger for lag-free acceleration, propelling the car from 0-100 km/h in 7.5 seconds and to a top speed of 235 km/h. A smooth-shifting 8-speed automatic contributes to the quick acceleration. Fuel economy average 20 km/liter. The secret? BMW’s EfficientDynamics innovation. Ever since it was launched a decade or so ago, BMW has been leading the way for low running costs. Great mileage and tons of torque.
The Drive: Overall weight reduction and the the slick-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission means plenty of performance. The 520d’s four-cylinder diesel is hushed, while wind and road roar are barely perceptible. Pin-sharp steering and expertly tuned suspension increases the driving pleasure. On our test drive to Korat Plateau, Khao Yai National Park with motorway, dual carriage way, the winding mountain roads motoring all the way to the verdant Pak Chong, PB Valley. The new BMW 5 Series did certainly not feel like a almost five meter long vehicle. Despite its size no heavy feel heavy through corners. Superb, dynamic driving qualities and smooth assertive braking power. I felt that I could drive this fine machine all the way from Bangkok to Mae Sot, Burmese frontier in the North or all way South to Phuket island.
Verdict: The latest BMW 5 Series is back with improved economy, a luxurious connected interior offering a great driving experience.
Still the ultimate driving machine? YES!
BMW 520d Luxury Line
Engine: 4-cylinder 2.0-liter diesel turbo
Transmission: 8-speed auto; FWD
Power output: 190 hp
Torque: 400 Nm
0-100 kph: 7,5 sec
Max speed: 235 kph
Fuel consumption (combined): 20 km/liter
Price: 3.899 million baht