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