- Published: Thursday, 13 October 2016 19:17
The new BMW 5 Series has been unveiled, and will reach us by April 2017. But the renewed line-up is missing one key model for Singapore...
SINGAPORE — This is the all-new BMW 5 Series, and the Singapore launch is scheduled for the first quarter of 2017. It’s BMW’s most important car here, typically giving the brand is best-selling model, so big things are expected of the new model (codenamed G30).
The styling takes cues from the current 7 Series, which means similar long-bonnet/short-tail proportions, with a front end designed around wide headlamps that stretch into the broadened double-kidney grille.
LED lights are now standard, front and rear, while the rear end gets a variety of tailpipes, depending on trimline: circular, trapezoidal, or four small rectangles.
It’ll be available in Luxury Line, Sport Line and M Sport versions, depending on how racy you want your new 5 to look. Sport Line comes with gloss black trim and 18-inch wheels (or 19-inch, if you’re feeling spendy) and things like sports seats and a different steering wheel.
The Luxury Line (pictured below) is more traditionally posh, with liberal use of chrome on the outside and lots of leather inside with contrast stitching. It also gets standard 18-inch allows, with optional 19s.
As with the 7 Series, the M Sport version will come with aerodynamic styling elements (larger air intakes up front, for starters, and a diffusor-like rear apron), sports seats with Alcantara upholstery, aluminium pedals and lowered, stiffer suspension.
Whatever the trim version, the new 5 is a marginally longer and wider car, at 4,935mm bumper-to-bumper (36mm longer than the outgoing F10 model) and 1,868mm across (6mm wider). It’s 2mm taller (at 1,466mm) and the wheelbase has grown just 7mm, to 2,975mm.
For comparison, the Audi A6 is 4,933mm long with a 2,912mm wheelbase, which suggests that the new 5 Series will be roomier inside.
The boot is now 530 litres in size (that’s 10 litres bigger), and BMW says it has taken pains to make the cabin feel more roomy, with a lowered dashboard to complement the enlarged dimensions. The door openings are larger to make access easier, and the headlining has sound-absorbing material to cut noise near occupants’ ears.
Massage chairs are optional in the front, where there are ventilated seats for sweltering days. The G30 also gets the Ambient Air cabin ioniser and fragrance system from the 7 Series, and it lets drivers choose from 11 interior lighting effects.
In spite of the increase in size, the new 5 Series is lighter than its predecessor, in some cases by up to 100kg. That should help with performance while giving the car more agility — something the current 5 Series lacks, at least by BMW standards.
Cutting flab helps with fuel consumption too, as does a slippery shape; the car’s drag coefficient is as low as 0.22Cd, making it the most aerodynamic car in the class. The most frugal version headed for Singapore will sip just 4.1 to 4.5L/100km on average.
But that efficiency comes with a catch: the entry-level 5 Series will be diesel-powered. The 520d is slated to serve as Singapore’s bread-and-butter model, at least for starters, with petrol engines only available higher up the pricing ladder, in the 530i, 540i and M550i xDrive.
The four-cylinder turbodiesel engine looks good on paper, with 190hp and a peak torque output of 400Nm at just 1,750rpm, and it can send the eight-speed 520d to 100km/h in a speedy 7.5 seconds.
But diesel has yet to gain widespread acceptance in Singapore — only 1.53 percent of cars here have a diesel engine. Yet, more than one-in-three BMWs sold here this year has had a diesel engine.
That’s almost entirely on the back of small models from the 1 and 2 Series model ranges, so it remains to be seen if the 5 Series’ target customer will readily make the switch from petrol to diesel power. Typically, petrol is king at the top end of the market. For the 520d to replace the 520i as BMW’s powerhouse seller, then, one tradition will have to yield to another.