2017 BMW 5-Series Road Test Review

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The BMW 5-Series started off its journey way back in 1972 with the 1st generation being introduced, and since then it has been the 2nd bestselling model after the 3-Series from the Munich-based carmaker’s stable. Currently, the 5-Series is in its 7th generation, with all the generations having being very well received and respected models. The latest generation of the 5-Series was globally revealed in October 2016 and the car went into sales from the start of 2017. India too, got the latest generation 5-Series in June this year. We drove the All New 2017 BMW 520d to get you this detailed road test review of one of the most important car models for BMW India. Read on…

Food For Thought: Launched in 1972 the “5” was the initiation of BMW’s new class platform. The car was known as the E12 5-Series, available only in sedan with manual transmission. The BMW 5 Series is the world’s most successful car. It was a bestseller for six years and a regular winner of reader and expert polls. Since the start of production in 1972, a total of more than 7.5 million vehicles of the sixth-generation BMW 5 Series have been sold.

Exteriors

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First look at the All New 5-Series and you can make out a lot of changes on the outside. The 2017 5-Series looks a lot more sleek, low slung and dynamic in terms of exterior styling and overall stance. The 2017 5-Series has grown in proportions, and the extra size is very much visible when seen. The car is now around 36 mm longer in length (4935 mm), 6mm wider (1868 mm), 2mm taller ( 1466 mm) and has 7 mm of extra wheelbase (2975 mm) over the outgoing model. The front end bears the typical and much recognized BMW styling, but in a rather sleek and trendy design.

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The familiar BMW kidney grill has gone wider and flatter and gets an all chrome surrounds with 18 vertical chrome slats. The headlights come with the legendary BMW Corona rings that are now sharper and come with hexagonal edges on their styling. These are adaptive headlights that can intelligently alter the beam as and when needed, according to driving circumstances. The DRL that glow up the Corona rings mate with the kidney grill, unlike on the older BMWs, where they had a full circle design styling. The front bumper gets all new designing with sharp character lines that give it a kind of outlining. The front strip styled fog lamps come with white glow and are placed with neat-looking chrome inserts around them. The air-dam on this one extends itself on the width of the bumper, while the body-color continues under the air-dam making the face look wide and low slung. The bonnet is large and extends itself neatly with character lines flowing down towards the grill.

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The side profile of the 2017 BMW 5-Series is pretty long. The sharp waistline runs through the door handles and mates on the tail light. The body colored door handles get a dash of chrome pin-stripping on them and they also have led lights placed inside them that glow when you lock or unlock the car at night. When viewed from the sides, the long nose and the large cabin area make the car look elegant. The windows get nice looking, thick chrome lines on them along with the trademark Hofmeister kink that adds to the styling on the sides. The fenders get a neat-looking chrome insert with a neatly hidden air dam in it. The slopping roof comes with a large sun/moon roof and shark fin antenna mounted on it. The 2017 BMW 520d drives on 245/45 R18 spec Pirelli Cinturato P7 tubeless tyres mounted on W-spoked silver alloys.

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The rear profile is again low slung, and due to the new design wide bumpers the car looks a lot wider and robust. The rear tail lights get sleeker in design and also get a new design LED glow in them. The new shape bumper houses the twin chrome exhausts placed on each sides with a thick chrome strip placed between them, enhancing the show of power to the rear profile of the car. Speaking technically, the new 5-Series has a drag coefficient of Cd= 0.22 which is 10% lower than the outgoing model. One example of this is the active air flap control for the radiator that opens the louvres in the kidney grill elements and lower air intakes when more cooling air is required, hence helping optimize the aerodynamic efficiency. A lot of new age technology has gone into the 2017 BMW 5-Series in terms of underbody sealing, airflow channeling to reduce the drag and enhance the dynamics.

Interiors

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The 2017 BMW 5- Series has grown in proportions, and that means the cabin area too has increased. We drove the 520d Luxury Line which come with all Dakota leather upholstery in a cognac shade. The dashboard is an all new design which is much larger than the older one. The dash comes in a dual tone shade of black and cognac along with thick band of wood inserts in the middle. You also get metal stripping inserted around the wood paneling on the dash, doors and the center console.

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The instrumentation is taken care by a large all color screen that displays the meters and there is no manual instrumentation anymore. The speedometer and the RPM meter dials change their appearance as you shuffle between the drive modes. The instrument cluster is very intuitive and eye catchy. The steering is an new design, three-spoke unit with leather cladding and hand-stitched inserts on it to give that premium feel. The steering gets full electric adjust for height and reach and comes with paddle shifters and the multi-control buttons on it.

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The highlight of the dash is the all new 10.25 inches all color latest generation touch screen that is also seen on the 7-Series. Like the 7- Series, the screen on the 5- series can also be controlled by the i-Drive and voice control and also by gesture control. You can toggle through the various media, navigation or infotainment screens using this crisp display which also doubles up for the very kool 360 degree camera screen when needed. Just under the screen is the 4-zone climate control and the audio unit. The climate control can be controlled using the touch screen panel, while the audio unit gets a Harman Kardon unit with 16 surround speakers and 600 Watts of sound output. You also get Apple CarPlay and Android Connect on the unit. The center console gets a unique wireless charging docking, where you can wirelessly charge your compatible Smartphone and the rather very unique touch screen key remote of the car. The transmission shifter also has been redesigned, placed on the center console along with the drive mode buttons and the i-Drive dial.

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The front seats come in full leather and get full electric adjust for height, rake, back, lumber and also headrest adjust. Driver seat comes with memory setting. Front seating is very comfortable with XXL sized seats and excellent allround visibility. The rear seats get folding arm rest and three head rests. Seating at the rear is more than comfortable with loads of head room and leg room.

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The rear passengers also get a two-zone climate control along with manual sun blinds for the side and electric sun blind for the rear glass. The cabin is extremely well-appointed and made of the best quality of materials, with high fit and finish on them. Comfort levels in the cabin are also very high and so are the ergonomics. The boot space on the 2017 BMW 5-Series is 400 litres, which is more than the outgoing models boot capacity.

The unique touch-screen remote

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The 2017 BMW 5-series comes with this unique touch screen remote. This remote has a color display screen using which you can lock/unlock the car, preset air-con start time, check the lock and light status, check fuel and DTE, and also use the remote to move the car ahead and back driverless… which can spook your friends! And yes, as mentioned this touch screen remote can be charged wirelessly inside the car by just placing it on the charge position.

Engine – Suspension – Drive

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The 2017 BMW 520d comes powered by a 2.0 Liter 4-cylinder Diesel engine. This engine belongs to the newly developed, modular BMW EfficientDynamics engine family. This 1995cc TwinPower Turbo engine makes 190HP at 4000 rpm and belts out a healthy 400 Nm of torque between 1750 to 2500 rpm. This engine is mated to an 8-speed steptronic automatic transmission. The 2017 BMW 520d can do a dash to 100kmph in a claimed 7.5 seconds and has a top speed of 235 kmph.

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Get inside the car, and as you shut the doors you realize the outside noise is totally cut out from the cabin. Start the engine and the 2.0 L motor comes to life without any sound or adulations felt in the cabin. There are drive modes to choose from that include Sport, Sport+, Comfort, Eco Pro and Adaptive. Every mode has a different preset setting to the gear shift, steering feedback, suspension setup. The power buildup is quick and very confidence-boosting, and the drive feel is one of the best in the segment.

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The New BMW 5-Series weighs around 100 kgs lighter than its predecessor… as lighter but stronger aluminium has been put to use. This weight loss works in the power to weight ratio and as an end result helps in the overall drive experience. The rear suspension and double-wishbone front suspension help in ironing out the bad roads and also help in boosting the driver’s confidence during hard cornering etc. Driving a BMW always brings a smile to the face, as it’s so involving and this one adds to that list.

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The 520d drives less like a larger 3-series and more like a smaller 7-series, which is a big compliment to the car. The 520d accelerates, grips, brakes and drives like a typical BMW. The car delivers a lot on comfort, with cabin insulation being top notch. Driving in the Eco Pro was also no less fun, while the Sport and Sport+ mode made us grin with pleasure with all the fun we were having behind the wheel.

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We did a lot of city driving and many drives on the highway. The car just helps in boosting the driver’s confidence and is a total driver’s delight. The surround camera that works intelligently, displays a 3D view of around the car and that helps a lot while parking or even while taking the car via narrow, crowded or traffic infested lanes.

Verdict

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The BMW 5 Series has a legacy of nearly four decades. It is refreshing to see the legacy nameplate embrace such a lot of technology for all the right reasons. The 7th Generation of the 5-series is a big bold step towards the future in terms of features and gadgets that the car comes loaded with. Like a typical BMW, the car is a lot fun to drive, keeping the driver involved at all times. Unique features like the keyless control of the car for moving it ahead and back using the remote, and using gesture control to change audio control is intuitive. In terms of ride quality, comfort and safety the BMW 5-Series has all the right ingredients loaded too, making it a bright prospect if you are out there looking out for a large luxury sedan that involves a lot fun too. Prices for the 2017 BMW 5-Series start at Rs. 52 lakh ex-showroom.

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