The new BMW 5 Series has been revealed, which comes with Auto Start-Stop technology, resulting in the 520d managing 56.5mpg with emissions of just 132g/km CO2.
However the outgoing 520d manages 55.4mpg with 136g/km CO2, so although the new figure is excellent for a car of this size, it’s perhaps not as much progress as we might have expected.
The design of the current 5 Series split opinion, however we always thought it looked excellent, and would have been a difficult job to improve. However BMW has achieved this, with a more subtle, modern, sporty and upmarket appearance for the new model.
The new 5 Series has the BMW trademark 50:50 weight distribution and short overhangs, and there will be a choice between three diesel powerplants and four petrol engines from launch.
The new 5 Series comes with an array of EfficientDynamics technologies. The BMW 520d is the first 5 Series to come with Auto Start-Stop, reducing the engine idle period when coming to a short stop. All manual gearboxes will also come with an Optimum gearshift indicator to help drivers know when to change gear to optimise the car’s efficiency. Brake Energy Regeneration, which recharges the vehicle’s battery during engine over-run, is part of the 5 Series Saloon’s standard specification.
Active Aerodynamics also play a part in keeping emissions low and performance high by closing off the air cooling flaps behind the kidney grills to improve the aerodynamics of the car and performance on cold starts. Low rolling resistance tyres also feature to improve efficiency still further.
The biggest seller in the UK is expected to be the 520d. This 1,995cc four cylinder diesel features the latest generation common-rail direct injection and a turbocharger with variable turbine geometry which increases power and efficiency. Producing 184hp at 4,000rpm, the 520d accelerates from zero to 62mph in 8.1 seconds before going onto a top speed of 141mph (140 for automatic transmission).
Two straight-six turbocharged engines will complete the diesel line-up; the 530d and the 525d. With the introduction of upgraded piezo-injectors, the BMW 530d emits just 166g/km, while averaging a combined consumption figure of 44.8mpg. Interestingly, with automatic transmission, these figures are improved, to 162g/km and 45.6mpg. In manual or automatic form, the 530d is capable of accelerating from zero to 62mph in just 6.3 seconds and reaching an electronically-limited top speed of 155mph.
Again, the six-cylinder diesel 525d is marginally more economical is automatic form – with CO2 emissions of 162g/km (automatic transmission is 161g/km) and an average fuel consumption of 45.6mpg, or 46.3mpg for the auto.
Joining the diesel-powered cars from launch are three straight-six petrol engines the 523i, 528i and the 535i. The 535i is the first engine to combine a single turbocharged engine with High Precision Direct Injection and VALVETRONIC – BMW’s own system that controls how much the engine’s valves open for optimum efficiency.
These measures allow the engine to meet strict emissions regulations whilst delivering optimum performance with a zero to 62mph time of 6.0 seconds and an electronically-limited top speed of 155mph, yet with 33.2mpg (33.6mpg for the auto) and CO2 emissions of 199g/km (195g/km).
The 523i delivers 204hp, zero to 62mph in 7.9 seconds, with a top speed of 148mph (145mph), with emissions of 177g/km and a combined consumption of 37.2mpg.
Even the 528i, with 258hp, manages 36.2mpg (37.2mpg for the auto) and CO2 emissions of 182g/km (178g/km).
The new 5 Series comes as standard with a six-speed manual gearbox which has been optimised compared to previous transmissions for greater efficiency. However buyers of all variants can specify the eight-speed automatic gearbox or an eight-speed Sport automatic transmission with Formula One style steering wheel mounted paddles.
For the first time the 5 Series Saloon comes with Electric Power Steering with Servotronic assistance, saving weight and helping to reduce emissions.
A wide range of equipment is available including Park Assist, Four-wheel Integral Active Steering, Surround View system, Park Distance Control, Reversing Assist camera, Head-up Display, Night Vision with pedestrian recognition, Lane Departure Warning, Lane Change Warning and Speed Limit Info.
The new 5 Series Saloon goes on sale 20 March, 2010 and the range starts from £27,430 for the BMW 520d SE.