A facelifted BMW 5 Series is nearly upon us. The LCI brings all-electrified engines, new features and sculpted new looks
SINGAPORE — You’re looking at the new 5 Series, a key model in Singapore’s exec car scene and one that BMW will launch here soon.
Two things need defining here: “new” and of course, “soon.”
That second one is easy; the revamped 5 Series goes on sale in Singapore in the third quarter of 2020. Strictly speaking, that means sometime between July and September.
As for “new”, this is a facelift for the 5 Series, or a “Life Cycle Impulse” as BMW insists on calling the mid-life revamps it gives its cars.
But for an LCI, this is a significant one, involving new cabin features and styling changes that you can actually notice at a glance. Also, for Singapore the range will be fully electrified, with all models here getting BMW’s new 48-volt mild hybrid system.
Like we said, plenty for an LCI. Don’t let the big effort surprise you, though. The 5 Series is an important breadwinner, and BMW has sold 600,000 of the current model so far. On an online launch for the car today, BMW board member Pieter Nota said the 5 Series is the best selling car in its class.
For a start, there’s a broader grille that meets in the middle now. “The new double-kidney is now wider and more distinctive, with a way sharper contour,” Domagoj Dukec, Senior Vice President BMW Group Design said in an online presentation of the new 5 Series. Thankfully, it avoids the excessiveness of the grilles in the latest 7 Series and the X7.
Flanking the new grille are new headlights, with swooshy, L-shaped lighting signatures replacing the more traditional ring design.
BMW’s fancy, ultra bright, ultra long-range Laserlight system (pictured above) is optional, but will probably come standard on the higher-end models like the M5. They’re not needed in Singapore (the tech only applies to the high beam) but you’ll want them anyway because your friend doesn’t have them.
Also optional but more useful is a new LED matrix light system, with individual diodes that switch on and off to create an adaptive beam.
The 5 Series’ backside also gets new LED lamps, with 3D lens covers and an L-shaped graphic. A reshaped bumper emphasises the width of the booty, and trapezoidal(ish) exhaust tips give you something else new to look at.
There’s an M Sport styling pack (shown below) for people who want something racier looking. Predictably, it includes aero elements like large air scoops in the front bumper and diffusers in the rear.
Mr Dukec said the M Sport pack emphasises the 5’s character, and “strongly differentiates” it from the base version. “We want to deliver the 5 in two flavours,” he said.
New colour options freshen things up a bit too, but what looks particularly fetching are new wheel designs (from 18 to 20 inches).
BMW is building 1,000 M Sport Edition versions in Donington Grey metallic paint (previously a BMW M-only option), two-colour wheels and red brake calipers, if that’s the sort of thing that makes your pulse pick up speed.
Glad you asked! First, note the bigger central screen. It’s now a 12.3-inch item (the standard screen is 10.25 inches but we’d put money down on cars from authorised dealer Performance Motors flaunting the big screen).
The infotainment system is now built around BMW OS 7, the tile-based interface on all the latest BMWs.
Android Auto is finally available,and with a twist: you’ll be able to connect your phone wirelessly.
The BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant (or just “Hey, BMW!”) apparently comes with extended features, like the ability to open the windows (partially or fully) by voice command.
It also learns routines; if you always open a window when you get home for some reason, for example, the car can learn to do it for you automatically. BMW also tweaked the graphics somewhat — the assistant turns toward the driver when being spoken to, as if listening carefully.
As for physical stuff, look out for high gloss plastics for the controls near the gear lever, along with revised air-con controls and new cabin trim, some with impossibly exotic names: Aluminium Rhombicle Smoke Grey with an accent strip in Pearl-effect Chrome, anyone?
There’s also new (optional) brown contrast stitching for the instrument panel. Classy, no?
BMW Asia won’t confirm the Singapore line-up until the car’s actual launch here, but it’s a safe bet that you’ll see the same variants as before: 520i, 530i, 540i and the 530e Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (or PHEV).
To recap, here’s what each has to offer:
|Engine||2.0-litre turbo in-line 4||2.0-litre turbo in-line 4||3.0-litre turbo straight-six||2.0-litre turbo in-line 4 with 109hp electric motor|
|0-100 km/h (S)||7.9||6.4||5.2||5.9|
We’ve left off fuel consumption figures. What BMW quotes will invariably differ from what is published here after local authorities are done with their own tests.
Interestingly, however, BMW claims the plug-in 530e can squeeze 62 to 67km out of a single charge — much more than enough to cover an average day’s motoring in Singapore.
But the big news is that BMW is giving the four- and six-cylinder cars a new mild hybrid system similar to the ones used in some Audi, Mazda and Mercedes-Benz models.
The system uses a starter-alternator to zing the engine to life and top up a 48-volt lithium battery. A standard 12V battery powers the main electrical system still.
The starter-alternator can feed 11 horsepower to the crank in short bursts. That gives the engine a wee boost to make its life easier, while helping the acceleration to feel that much more lively in the new 5.
But it’s mostly there to cut fuel consumption and emissions. The true benefit of the mild hybrid system is that it allows extended engine shutdown, because the starter-generator spins the engine to life much more smoothly than a normal starter motor does.
If you’re rolling to a halt for a red light the BMW can shut its engine down at 15 km/h or slower. On the highway, if you lift your foot off the pedal the system also shuts the engine down for petrol-free coasting between 25 and 160km/h.
BMW put 48V mild hybrid tech in diesel 5 Series models last year, but this will be the first you get to try it in Singapore.
As mentioned, the target launch period is the third quarter of 2020. That could mean July, but that would be surprisingly early since that is when Europe gets the car.
BMW is also busy clearing its inventory of the existing 5 Series here, and goodness knows how long that will take with the car industry still in shutdown.
Read more: We really, really liked the last 5 Series. Here’s why
Our guess is that some customers have been quietly approached to put down “expressions of interest” to be the first on the block with a shiny new 5 Series, with the promise of collecting their cars in August or September.
That launch date gives the 5 Series LCI an important head start over its chief rival, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class. Its competitor revealed a facelifted version of the car in March, but the revised E-Class won’t go on sale in Singapore until the last quarter of 2020. Pandemics come and go, but the 5 Series and E-Class have been foes for ever.
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