BMW 5-Series: Balancing luxury and sportiness
The BMW 5-Series is a big success globally, and a best-seller for the brand in India. However, it was also considered to be the model that moved away from BMW’s core strength of sporty driving, veering more towards comfort. So the seventh-generation 5-Series has its work cut out to bring back the fun-to-drive character BMWs are known for. The question is, can it deliver the best of both worlds?
Small distinctions in the design, like the more aggressive chin and vents behind the wheel arch, speak of its intent to go back to its sporty roots. In fact, overall length, width, height and wheelbase have increased too.
The larger dimensions definitely reflect in the interior, which feels roomier. The back seat has more legroom, and outside visibility is better.
The interior also feels more like the bigger 7-Series sedan—both cars share many features, such as the smart key, gesture control and automated parking. The dash is now a beautiful medley of rich textures and colours. The new infotainment display has sharp graphics and is intuitive to use. The iDrive rotary controller for navigating the system is now complemented by the configurable feather-touch buttons on the console. There is a heads-up display which projects driving information as a colour image on the windscreen. Luxury features are aplenty, with seat heaters or coolers and massagers, a 16-speaker Bowers & Wilkins sound system, a 360-degree parking camera and a keyless boot-opening mechanism. The 5-Series will arrive in India with the option of two diesel engines, the 520d (190hp) and 530d (265hp), as well as the petrol 530i (252hp).
The 530d is lighter by 100kg and feels sprightlier. Refinement levels have gone up considerably.
Complementing the 530d’s energetic performance is the butter-smooth eight-speed gearbox which ensures the right amount of power on tap, whether for city drives or highway cruises. Strong waves of pulling power propel you forward with slight dabs on the throttle, which make this version of the 5-Series incredibly fun to drive.
In the Sport mode, there is a wonderful heft to the steering. Though the 5-Series doesn’t feel as agile as the smaller 3-Series sedan, there is still a reassuring composure, with the electronic safety aids working in the background. In the Comfort mode, the 5-Series glides over bad roads.
In all, the 5-Series has taken the game further in almost every aspect. It performs better, is more refined and fuel-efficient, more spacious and comfortable, and is every bit the luxury car packed with futuristic features. It will arrive in India in mid-2017. The 540i will come later.