520i and 530i available at launch, the brand’s mainstay luxury sedan packs mild hybrid drivetrains, some seriously sporty bits and even more digital tech
After months of rumours, information updates, international delays brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, the new BMW 5 Series sedan has finally landed in Singapore. It’s not actually an all-new model, but rather, a midlife facelift of the current G30 5 Series first launched here in 2017.
Other carmakers will simply call it a model facelift, but BMW insists on calling such updates ‘Life Cycle Impulse’ models, or LCI for short.
However in the case of the 5 Series there are so many new features on it that it’s almost a new model. Packed with new cabin features and styling changes that you can actually notice at a glance, the range also gets BMW’s new 48-volt mild hybrid system and BMW Operating System 7.0, which includes the voice-operated BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant.
The stalwart luxury executive sedan is possibly BMW’s most important series production car from a business continuity point of view: since 2016, more than 600,000 5 Series sedans from the current generation have been sold worldwide.
The car is available with two engine variants in Singapore. The 520i uses a 2.0-litre turbo four-cylinder petrol engine with 184 horsepower, and the 530i bumps the power output to 252 horsepower with the same engine capacity. Both variants are classified as mild hybrids, with the drivetrains equipped with a starter generator and secondary battery that can produce an instant power output of 8kW for quicker acceleration.
The mild hybrid system is used to power the car’s various electrical components, reducing load on the petrol engine.It also engages the drivetrain while cruising at constant highway speeds, reducing load on the petrol engine and improving fuel economy.
The efficiency figures for the 520i are yet to be confirmed, but the 530i now does a rather eye-opening 5.6L/100km, and gives off 129g/km of CO2, compared to 6.2L/100km and 141g/km previously, though it still stays in the VES B Neutral band.
What’s interesting is while the 520i is getting two trim levels in the form of the standard car and a Luxury Line, the 530i is getting an M Sport and M Sport Edition trim.
Of course seasoned readers will know that as far as the M Sport trims go, these are simply cosmetic styling upgrades without the actual power of BMW’s actual M cars. That hasn’t stopped buyers though, and M Sport trim cars continue to outsell the more understated Luxury trim versions in Singapore.
But what’s the difference between the 530i M Sport and 530i M Sport Edition? The ‘Edition’ defines a limited run of the 530i that will be available in a unique Donington Grey metallic paint job and new M multifunction sports seats, pulled straight from the BMW M5.
It also gets model-specific Air Performance wheels; lightweight wheels that have also been designed to be more aerodynamically efficient.
There will be just 1,000 units of the 530i M Sport Edition produced worldwide and we’ll be getting some of them in Singapore, so get your name in quick if you’re interested. Otherwise you can still get your hands on the standard 530i M Sport, minus the M5 front seats and trick aerodynamic wheels.
Both the 520i and 530i are quick cars, 0 to 100km/h comes up in 7.9 seconds for the former, and 6.4 seconds in the latter. Interestingly, both cars are slower off the line than before – it used to accomplish the 0-100km/h sprint in 7.8 seconds, and 6.2 seconds, respectively. Blame the extra weight from the hybrid systems perhaps.
But to speak of hybrids, BMW has been promoting plug-in electric vehicles in Singapore, we expect the 530e to make its appearance here before the end of 2020 too. That was one of our favourite cars of the G30 range.
In contrast to the new M3 and M4’s massive nostrils, the 5 Series sports a slimmer, wider kidney grille that aims to the illusion of extra width, merging with the headlight housings at each side. The daytime driving lights are now L-shaped.
The rear end features black edging and another L-shaped graphic, and the rear lights and brake lights are integrated into a shared light fixture.
There’s no avoiding the fact that cars are becoming very much like smartphones on wheels these days, and the 5 Series gets plenty of new software too. The 520i is fitted with BMW Live Cockpit Plus, while the other variants get BMW Live Cockpit Professional which includes the Intelligent Personal Assistant. Manufacturers have been experimenting with voice control for over a decade and we think that BMW has really cracked it this time.
Wireless smartphone integration is compatible with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, along with Remote Software Upgrade, a new feature that enables improved vehicle functions and additional digital services to be downloaded into the car over the air as they become available from BMW.
Underneath the dashboard, you’ll find the Lane Departure Warning system which now also features lane return by means of steering assistance, nudging the car slightly should it detect that it’s straying out of the lane. The Parking Assistant now features Reversing Assistant, which can help you back out of tight spots by taking control of the steering while backing up for distances of up to 50 metres.
Currently only the 530i M Sport Edition has a price – that’s S$299,888 with COE.
The current pre-facelift 520i is still on the pricelists at S$250k with COE, so you can expect a slight premium for the facelift model when it does go on sale.