The good, bad and ugly of Fernando Alonso's F1 career

'Fernando Alonso is one of the all-time greats', writes Egmont Sippel.

Here's why Toyota's Rush is doing so well

Toyota has apparently now completed its utter domination of the SA gravel travel market, writes Lance Branquinho.

New 5 Series just a smaller 7?

2009-11-24 09:25
Vehicle Specs
Manufacturer BMW
Model 5 Series
Engine 520d, 525d, 530d, 523i, 528i, 535i, 550i
Power 135Kw @ 4 000r/min, 150kW @ 4 000r/min, 180kW @ 4 000r/min, 150kW @ 6 100r/min, 190kW @ 6 600r/min, 225kW @ 5 800r/min, 300kW @ 5 500r/min
Torque 380Nm @ 1 900r/min, 450Nm @ 1 750r/min, 540Nm @ 1 750r/min, 270Nm @ 1 500r/min, 310Nm @ 2 600r/min, 400Nm @ 1 200r/min, 600Nm @ 1 750r/min
Transmission Six-speed manual (eight-speed auto)
Zero To Hundred 8.1-, 7.2-, 6.3-, 7.9-, 6.7-, 6.1, 5-seconds
Top Speed 227-, 236-, 250-, 238-, 250-, 250-, 250km/h
Fuel Tank 70l
Fuel Consumption 5l-, 6.2l-, 6.3l-, 7.6l-, 7.8l-, 8.5l-, 10.4l/100km
Boot Size 520l
Airbags Six
BMW has finally shown its sixth generation 5 Series, which is more of shrunken 7 Series than ever before.

Still considered by many to be the most dynamic premium luxury car range around, the new 5 Series (codenamed F10 by company insiders) closely shadows BMW’s 7 Series and forthcoming Rolls-Royce Ghost offerings in terms of technical detail.

Sharing platform architecture with the new 7 Series, F10’s wheelbase might be 101mm shorter than the BMW Group’s limousine offerings, yet at 2.97m axle-to-axle it’s nearly 100mm more accommodating than Mercedes-Benz’s W212 E-Class.

The new platform also ushers in a host of technical changes to the 5 Series suspension configuration and steering set-up.

Timeless BMW instrumentation fonts and simplicity remains, whilst the centre-stack is angled towards the driver - in classic 5 Series fashion.

Not strutting up and down anymore?

The new 5 Series wheel attachments are now multi-link tracked at all four wheel corners. This makes F10 the first 5 Series ever without McPherson strut front suspension, supplanted by double-wishbone, coil-sprung front suspension borrowed from the 7 Series.

Adaptive damping and active roll control are available as options, which should shore up a redoubtable level of control during dynamic driving.

In an attempt to imbue the new 5 Series with the agility of a compact executive sedan Driver Dynamic Control (DDC) has been engineered into the new car.

Featuring normal, comfort, sport and sport+ settings DDC groups functions (steering assistance, auto transmission shift regime, throttle sensitivity, stability system intervention thresholds and damper adjustment) into one control module.

BMW’s electric power steering assist system migrates from the 7 Series, whilst the integral active steering option, which enacts a 2.5-degree counter steering angle on the rear wheels, becomes an option with the new 5 Series.

This move, from electro-hydraulic to pure electric steering assistance, is a significant tipping point in the history of 5 Series, which has always pandered more to dynamic feel than vogue engineering…

Beyond the significant chassis upgrades, BMW’s latest engines power the F10 range.

Four petrol and three common-rail injected compression ignition engines make up the model range. All new 5 Series models (bar the 550i) shift via a six-speed manual transmission, with an eight-speed auto optional.

You could probably be nasty and say some of the headlight design and profile was nicked off Jag's XF, but as a styling exercise, this is one the best looking bigger BMWs yet.

Turbocharged 5 Series petrol?

Wading through the petrol engine specification, the range starts off with 523i, which is powered by a 3l, in-line six producing 150kW and 270Nm. Next up is the venerable 528i nomenclature, boasting similar capacity and layout to the 523i, yet with keener outputs of 190kW and 310Nm.

Moving to the more performance orientated scale of the petrol range is the TwinPower turbo version of BMW’s redoubtable 3l, in-line six turbo - powering the new 535i and making its debut in the 5 Series range.

Foregoing the N54 engine’s parralell turbochargers for a single twin-scroll unit, and swopping a conventional throttle for BMW’s Valvetronic variable lift system to manage airflow into the engine, the new N55 engine produces similar numbers (225kW/400Nm) yet boasts greater efficiency.

The 5 Series petrol range is headlined by BMW’s 4.4l TwinPower turbo V8, well known locally for its deployment in the X6. Powering up to 300kW and 600Nm and driving through BMW's ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic transmission, it should provide a convincing performance stop-gap until the F10 M5 arrives…

Diesel efficiency

For customers who prefer their performance commensurate with a sense of sobriety, the three piezo injected turbodiesels should suffice.

Entry level on the diesel side of the new 5 Series range is a seemingly undersized 2l four-cylinder, powering the 520d with 135kW and 380Nm.

BMW’s mid-range 5 Series diesel is the 525d, boasting a 3l in-line six, with 1 600bar injection pressure guaranteeing 150kW and 450Nm. With the injection pressure on this engine increased by an additional 200bar the 530d rounds off the diesel offering with 180kW and 540Nm.

BMW’s efficient dynamics feature strongly in the F10 series, with on-demand ancillary engagement, a detachable air-conditioning compressor and regenerative brakes. Utilising a special glass-mat battery paired with an intelligently controlled alternator (which is charged when the 5 Series is decelerating) the regenerative braking system places minimal load on the engine during over-run.

As expected from a premium German sedan, the new 5 Series features a comprehensive array of safety features, including DSC with dynamic traction control and cornering brake control with fade compensation.

Some other driver assistance systems debuting in the 5 Series are surround view and collision warning with auto brake actuation (operated by Active Cruise Control).

If you are going to let your teenager borrow the 5 Series on a Friday night the lane change warning, lane departure warning, speed limit info, head-up display and BMW's night vision with individual persons detection capability should ensure your 5 Series is returned in one piece.

If a collision is unavoidable, dual front and side airbags for the first row occupants and curtain airbags for the second provide additional safety.

BMW's design boss Adriaan von Hooydonk was responsible for the rather insane E65 7 Series, although Chris Banlge took the heat for it. Has he redeemed himself with the F10 5 Series?

A sense of styling (sanity) returns...

From a styling perspective the new car is undoubtedly more accomplished than the E60.

Featuring a strikingly defined shoulder line, 7 Series proportioned grille and neatly finished rear it’s a good start for BMW’s new design chief, Dutchman Adriaan von Hooydonk, who put the fear of Bangle into everybody with his 5 Series GT earlier this year…

The F10’s cabin architecture sees a return to driver orientated ergonomics, with the centre-stack controls angled slightly inwards to the driver - as they were on pre-E60 series BMW 5s.

The new range also features fourth generation iDrive, whilst all cars feature a 177mm audio/climate control display panel, which grows to a 260mm worth of LCD when ordered with navigation control.

BMW's new 5 Series should go on sale locally during the first half of next year.


There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.