BMW 5 Series Review: You get space found in the 7 Series, but where has all the fun gone?

2017 BMW 5 Series

Subtle Refinements

The more astute among you will already have seen this coming with the sixth- generation BMW 5 Series. Representing a marked departure from the fifth-generation 5 Series in style and personality, the new model promised to smooth over its predecessor’s controversial Chris Bangle-led styling, simplify the baffling iDrive infotainment system and broaden its appeal.

2017 BMW 5 Series
The fifth-generation BMW 5 Series

All well and good, but the way it handled was sorely wanting. It drove with alarming floppiness quite unbecoming of the blue- and-white roundel. That said, the paying public clearly loved BMW’s attempt to beat the E-Class at its own game – Munich says it sold over 2.2 million in its seven-year lifespan, outselling its predecessor by nearly 60 per cent.

Specs, and all you need to know
The latest seventh-generation 5 Series (codenamed G30) takes all that and cranks it up to 11, or more accurately, 7. With a wheelbase measuring 2,975mm long, it’s 45mm longer than a 7 Series from the mid-1990s. It even feels like a 7 Series to drive, what with fantastic isolation, serene ride quality and features that make it virtually indistinguishable from Munich’s flagship saloon, especially in the range-topping 540i variant.

smart parking for your car, 2017 BMW 5 Series
Park your car using the car key

It comes with an oversized key fob with touchscreen, integrated air freshener, soft-close doors, all-around parking cameras, a Harman Kardon stereo and gesture controls for the iDrive infotainment system.

The Driving Assistant Plus box on the options list brings a suite of autonomous driving functions that include adaptive cruise control, a lane-keeping assistant that can perform small steering inputs automatically and steer its way around sudden obstacles (at speeds below 160km/hr).

2017 BMW 5 Series

Price point: yay or nay?
It goes without saying then, that the top-rung 5 Series is decidedly not the budget option – prices start from S$357,800, which is a little under S$50,000 less than the entry-level 7 Series. However, you are getting a lot of car for your money, and the 540i makes the base model 7 Series, the 730i, look dangerously irrelevant.

Even more so when you consider the 5 Series is no slouch when it comes to handling. Its three-litre inline-6 engine develops 340bhp and it’ll get to 100km/ hr from rest in 5.1 seconds. This blistering acceleration is matched by its prowess in the corners, too. The helm is laser-accurate and its cornering attitude uncannily flat, owing to the adaptive dampers and stiffness gains from the 5 Series’ new platform. It’s the sort of handling that would trouble bona fide sports cars. The new 5 Series improves upon the previous-generation model in just about every quantifiable metric, but it has failed to inject the spark so evident in the E60 model two generations prior.

The verdict
Objectively, the 5 Series is a tough car to fault, but subjectively, I can’t help but feel a tiny bit disappointed.

BMW

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Published 25th May 2017
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