All-new executive car is bigger and better equipped. It'll reach showrooms next March BMW has announced its new 5-series saloon, the sixth generation since the car first appeared back in 1972. Though as you’ll see from the pictures the newcomer has coupe-like lines, it has the longest wheelbase (space between the front wheels and the back) in its class at a few millimetres shy of three metres. All of the extra space so created gs into the cabin, adding extra knee room for rear passengers. Where previous 5-series have been tight on rear seat space compared to their strongest rivals, this new one promises to be a class leader. The boot is a good size, too, at 520 litres.
One innovation that will come with even the cheapest models is fuel-saving Stop-Start technology. Already seen on the 3-series and the Mini, this stills the engine if the car is halted in traffic and the gears put to neutral. To restart, the driver lets in the clutch and selects a gear. Also new is something BMW calls Black Panel technology. This was introduced on the new 7-series and the BMW 5-series GT and means that high-resolution displays show on the centre console when needed but when not in use they blend in to form an elegant black band across the interior.
When the car begins UK sale next March, there will be a choice of three diesel engines and four petrol motors. The 520 diesel is expected to capture most sales, offering 184bhp, 0-62mph in 8.1secs, while overall fuel consumption will be up to 56.5mph, an exceptional figure for such a big, quick car. Carbon dioxide emissions of 132g/km for those with manual gearboxes and 137g/km for autos will also keep company car and road tax bills low. All models will be well-equipped: leather seats are standard even on entry models as are top-level stereos.
Prices run from £27,555 for the 520d SE to £36,290 for the 535i SE. The cheaper models are only a couple of hundreds of pounds dearer than the outgoing cars.