It will be 8 years ago this fall that the then all-new 5 Series was introduced. During its 7-year run (1997-2003), the E39 was one of BMW's most successful and praised model series. BMW plans on not only continuing but surpassing that success with the debut of its completely new 5 Series sedan.
The new 5 Series has numerous technical innovations, many of which first appeared on the new 7 Series, including the iDrive control concept, adaptive bi-xenon headlights and Active Cruise Control (the last two are options). The iDrive controller and control display were specially modified for the 5 Series and feature an optional head-up display which presents vital information directly in the driver's line of sight.
The world's first Active Front Steering (AFS) system makes its bow on the E60. The system electronically varies the degree of front-wheel turn in relation to steering input from the driver. At low and medium speeds the steering ratio is more direct: The wheels turn relatively more in relation to driver input. At high speeds, the steering ratio becomes less direct, with the wheels turning relatively less in relation to said input, thus providing improved directional stability.
The AFS works in conjunction with Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) by monitoring the yaw rate and changing the steering angle accordingly. In addition, the optional adaptive headlights are integrated with AFS and DSC for real-time control of the bi-xenon lights for perfect illumination of the road ahead. The new 5 Series also features Adaptive Brakelights, which works by lighting the rear taillights when hard braking or ABS activation occurs, warning following vehicles that hard braking is taking place.
The 5's lightweight body is made from steel and aluminum, and the chassis and suspension are all aluminum, making the sedan much lighter than its predecessor, which in turn leads to better performance and fuel economy. The new 5er also has a more ideal front-to-rear weight distribution as the car is also larger than the previous generation.
The first version of the series, the 530i, arrives in the U.S. this October and is powered by the 225-bhp, 3.0-liter inline six outputting 214 lb-ft of torque. Two additional models will follow shortly: The 525i with a 184-bhp 2.5-liter inline six with 175 lb-ft of torque, and the 545i featuring the same 325-bhp V8 with 330 lb-ft of torque as the 745i. A six-speed manual transmission is standard on all three versions; a fully electronic Steptronic six-speed automatic is optional.