It’s the same story with the seventh-generation car, and since its launch some two years ago, the new 5 Series has continued that legacy. Suffice it to say, the 5 Series is now even more luxurious, sporty and technology-laden than before.
While 50 years separate the first- and seventh-generation BMW 5 Series, the lineage is clear. The original 5 Series in 1972 set the standard for the segment, proving that the seemingly opposed virtues of luxury and sportiness can harmoniously coexist. Fast forward to 2019 and even the briefest of drives in the new 5 Series will prove it’s more refined and keener than anything else in its class.
Over the years, BMW has added to the 5 Series formula with the sledgehammer performance of the M5 and most recently, the green cred of the plug-in hybrid models.
So, as you can tell, there really is a 5 Series for every and any occasion.
5 FOR GREENING
Now, imagine a future where you could perform your daily commute without using a single drop of petrol, flitting silently from your home to the office and back purely on electric power.
Perhaps that’s not such a hard future to imagine. After all, electric cars are already fairly commonplace, but while an electric vehicle gives you guilt-free motoring, it also might give you range anxiety—the fear of running the batteries flat while out on the road.
What if we told you that you could zip around guilt-free while at the same time having the versatility (and range) of a conventional vehicle?
That vehicle is the BMW 530e. As a plug-in hybrid, the 530e can run for up to 50km on electric power alone at a top speed of 140km/h. That latter figure is a bit of a moot point, since the top speed on Singapore’s roads is just 90km/h, but the first figure above is perhaps more of note.
With the 530e, you could go for weeks (if not months) without having to even drain a drop of petrol from the tank, which goes some way to explaining its eye-popping fuel consumption figure of just 2.0 litres/100km.
But more than the fuel savings alone, another advantage of a plug-in hybrid (and hybrid in general, come to think of it) is how peppy they are, with the electric motor helping to supplement the power of the engine.
In the case of the 530e, it gets 252hp/420Nm, propelling the saloon to 100km/h from a standstill in 6.2 seconds.
That said, we think the best thing about the 530e is how easy it is to use. Electric-only mode is enabled by hitting the eDrive button on the centre console, and if the battery is depleted the combustion engine immediately kicks in.
Or you could just leave the 530e to its own devices, allowing it to intelligently manage the various power sources for the best blend of economy and performance. At no point will you feel which of the two engines (electric or petrol) is urging the car forward, which sounds like the future to us.
5 FOR LUXE-ING
If the current 5 Series’ predecessor set the bar for top-drawer luxury features in the upper mid-range segment, then this new 5 Series takes that one step further.
Actually, make that several steps further, and all that starts the moment you hold the key in your hands, especially if you have the new 5 Series in 530i and 540i M Sport forms.
These two models come with BMW’s Display Key, which has a touchscreen built into it, allowing users to see the remaining range in the tank, remotely activate the car’s ventilation systems before setting off and the biggest party trick of them all, reverse the car into a parking lot without having to be in the driver’s seat. Which is terrifically handy, especially if said lot is too narrow for you to exit after parking.
In more autonomous driving news, the 5 Series can also perform a whole range of tasks with minimal driver input. The Lane Changing and Lane Keeping Assistant can perform small steering corrections, which is both astounding and uncanny at the same time.
When it comes to ending a drive, the 5 Series can navigate itself into parking spaces, again with minimal driver input.
Of course, you would also expect a full complement of LED lighting: headlights, taillights and interior ambient lights.
That’s all well and good, but who could forget about the 5 Series’ acoustically treated windshield and headliner that shields its occupants from the vagaries of the outside world, along with the supple ride?
Yes, the new 5 Series is really upping the ante in its segment.
5 FOR FLYING
Today, the notion of a big saloon with the performance of a supercar is a fairly commonplace one, but 35 years ago, it was revolutionary. The first BMW M5, released in 1985, featured the legendary straight-six engine from the equally legendary M1 supercar, and in its time, the M5 was the world’s fastest production saloon car.
Despite all its performance, the way the M5 looked was fairly subtle, eschewing outlandish styling in favour of restraint, with only a few badges and a small lip spoiler on its boot lid betraying its true potential.
You probably won’t be too surprised to learn that the new M5 follows in its illustrious forebear’s footsteps, with only a few cues such as a gaping maw, big brakes peeking out from behind big wheels and quad tailpipes signifying its position as the top-performing model in the 5 Series line-up.
However, the new M5 is far, far more powerful than its ancestor. While the first-generation M5 produced 282hp, the new car has over double that output, with a crushing 600hp/750Nm from its 4.4-litre, M TwinPower Turbo V8.
There are very few people who would disagree that the M5 is blindingly quick, but if you demand even more performance, then step right this way for the aptly named M5 Competition. In addition to a hike in power to 625hp, it has reworked suspension for more agility and model-exclusive 20-inch forged wheels.
Plus, glossy black accents on its exterior and a blacked-out model badge provides a distinctive, yet subtle reminder that the M5 Competition is the top dog amongst top dogs.
Whichever M5 strikes your fancy, the new M5 is unlike any other M5 that came before it owing to its all-wheel drive nature. Dubbed M xDrive, the system knows exactly how much power to send to each axle to maximum grip, confidence and most importantly, fun.
But should you decide that you want your M5 old school, power can be sent to just the rear wheels. However, you’d best be at the top of your game because that necessitates the disabling of all the electronic safety nets. In other words, exactly like the M5s of old.
The M5 may have changed a good deal in its three-and-a-half decades, but one thing has remained constant—it is without a doubt the fastest, most thrilling sports saloon in the world.