New 2017 BMW 5 Series

If it's so much fun to drive, why is there a driverless mode? All the details on the new 2017 BMW 5 Series

BuyaCar team
Nov 16, 2016

The BMW 5 Series is the car for every occasion. The five metre-long (16ft) saloon is meant to feel nimble and sporty to drive, like a smaller car, but luxurious and cosseting from the passenger seat - like a larger one.

The brand new car rivals the new Mercedes E-Class, Jaguar XF and Audi A6 and prices start at £36,025.

Promising more technology, more comfort and class-leading efficiency, it’s claimed to be BMW’s most cutting edge car. We’ll only know whether it lives up to its billing once we’ve driven it.

Highlights include:

  • Low emissions models including a hybrid with CO2 emissions of 48g/km and a diesel with 102g/km CO2
  • Big 10.25in dashboard touchscreen available
  • Will drive itself on the motorway with only the driver’s fingers resting on the steering wheel.
  • Can park itself in a parallel space just 80cm longer than the car.
  • Can warn you if you’re driving the wrong way down a one-way street, or if there’s a broken-down car ahead
  • Four-wheel drive available across the range


Key facts

2017 BMW 5 series price from £36,025

2017 BMW 5 series on sale date February 11, 2017

2017 BMW 5 series deliveries from February 2017

2017 BMW 5 series dimensions Height 1466mm Length 4936mm Width 1868mm

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2017 BMW 5 series interior

BMW promises more room in the new car, with increased headroom and legroom in the back, as well as wider seats for passengers to spread out.

Electrically-adjustable front seats are standard on every 5 Series, as is dual-zone climate control, which allows both front occupants to set a temperature for their half of the car.

The big 10.25in screen shown above in the middle of the dashboard is optional. It’s a touchscreen but can also be controlled with a rotary dial that is often less distracting when you’re driving. Gesture control and voice recognition are also available (see technology)

More expensive 5 Series models are available with luxurious Nappa leather seats, that have heating, cooling and massage functions. You can have an air purifier, Bowers and Wilkins stereo, and mood lighting.

More practically, the new car has storage compartments in the doors that can hold a 1-litre bottle. Cupholders are deeper than in the outgoing car, so that tall cups and bottled don’t stick up and get in the way as much.

At 530 litres, the boot is only 10l smaller than a Mercedes E-Class. You can specify rear seats that fold down, combining the boot and rear of the car to make one large luggage space. BMW says that you can fit three child seats in the back, although there are only two sets of Isofix fittings for the most secure attachment.


2017 BMW 5 Series review

We’ve not yet tested the car, but have driven a version still under development, and the signs are that BMW has produced a car that feels sporty for the driver, but remains comfortable for passengers.

As well as the option of four-wheel drive, you can also choose to fit your 2017 5 Series with four-wheel steering, which should enable the car to turn more sharply and accurately, while still remaining easy to drive at high speeds.

There will be the usual driving setting options, giving the car a more comfortable or sporty feel, while the Eco Pro efficiency mode uses information from the sat-nav to recognise when the car is approaching corners or a new speed limit, enabling it to choose the most efficient gear in advance.


2017 BMW 5 series design

BMW sold more than 2m of the outgoing version of the 5 Series, so hasn’t really changed its successful formula. The differences between the old and new cars are only obvious when you put them side by size.

The new model is slightly longer, by 36mm, and has powerful LED headlights as standard.

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2017 BMW 5 series model range

You’ll have a choice of four engines when the 5 Series arrives in February: a four cylinder diesel badged 520d or a more powerful six-cylinder diesel with a 530d badge.

Four-cylinder petrol cars are called 530i, while the six-cylinder version is a 540i. Each engine is available with four-wheel drive, called xDrive.

The following month, a more economical will become available, with a 520d EfficientDynamics diesel model, which cuts CO2 emissions from 107g/km to 102g/km, helping to lower company car tax rates.

The 530e iPerformance is even more efficient. It’s a plug-in hybrid with a battery that can power the car for up to 28 miles before its petrol engine takes over. CO2 emissions are 46g/km.

A more powerful model will also be launched, the M550i xDrive, which comes with four-wheel drive as standard and an eight-cylinder petrol engine that can accelerate from 0-62mph in a sportscar-like four seconds.

An estate version of the car, badged Touring will be launched later, as well as a hatchback version, the 5 Series GT. A high-performance M5 model will also go on sale in the future.


2017 BMW 5 series driverless technology

The 5 Series is BMW’s most hi-tech car yet, with enough sensors and software to be able to drive itself on roads with clear lane markings without any input from the driver. It works at speeds up to 130mph. The system uses active cruise control, which maintains a safe distance from the car in front by controlling the accelerator and brakes. This is combined with the steering and lane control assistant, which uses a camera to monitor the white lines on the road and automatically steers to keep the car in its lane.

It will also change lanes by itself, but only after the driver has clicked the indicator stalk to confirm that it is safe. In some situations, especially traffic jams, it can operate without any lane markings by flowing the path of the car in front.

However, it’s not foolproof, so BMW - and the law - requires you to stay alert and be prepared to take control at a split-second’s notice. To ensure that you don’t pick up your phone and lose concentration, BMW says that you need to rest your fingers on the steering wheel.

The driverless technology on the 2017 5 Series can also adapt to speed limits. A system called speed limit assist monitors speed limit signs with the car’s front-facing cameras and automatically adjusts the maximum speed of the cruise control.

BMW does allow you to adjust the calculation, though: you can tell the car to add in some leeway and travel at up to 9mph slower than the limit. Unusually, you can also program the car to break the speed limit and travel at up to 9mph faster than the regulations allow. “Just as is the case when these systems are not engaged, the decision of what speed to drive remains with the driver,” says BMW.

Once you’ve arrived at your destination, the optional self-parking system has been improved, allowing the car to park itself in a parallel bay that’s as little as 80cm longer than the car.

There’s also the choice of having a remote parking key; you can get out of the car and reverse the 5 Series slowly into a space, controlling the car from a digital key fob.


2017 BMW 5 series technology

As well as the driverless technology available with the 5 Series, there are plenty of other gadgets too.

Gesture control allows you to control certain functions with a wave of your hand. If you hold out your hand and rotate it to the right, for example then your music volume will increase. The system is fitted to the BMW 7 Series where it feels like a gimmick - it’s far easier to adjust the volume with the steering wheel buttons.

More useful is natural voice control, which is said to respond to normal speech, rather than having to dictate precise phrases, like a machine.

Advanced sat-nav options include a warning if the system detects that you’re driving the wrong way down a one-way street, and the ability for the car to learn your preferences, so if you repeatedly ignore its directions in favour of a shortcut that you prefer, then it will start directing you down your favoured route, which improves the accuracy of the estimated journey time and can help to avoid traffic when the road is clogged.

Every 5 Series will come with a sim card installed, giving it the ability to communicate via the mobile phone network. You’ll have the option to set up a wifi hotspot so that passengers can go online.

The 2017 5 Series can communicate with BMW’s information centre, which will send the car alerts of bad weather ahead, broken-down cars or accidents, warning the driver by showing these as hazards in its sat-nav.

The sat-nav will also sound an alert if it notices that the car is driving the wrong way down a one-way road, including slip roads onto motorways.


2017 BMW 5 series equipment and specs

Full specification details have not yet been released, but every 5 Series will come with electrically-adjustable front seats, dual-zone climate control and LED headlights.

You’ll be able to upgrade to the Sport Line package, which includes 18in alloy wheels, sports seats and a leather steering wheel.

A separate Luxury Line pack also comes with 18in alloy wheels, as well as extra chrome on the grille and window surrounds. Inside, you get leather seats.


2017 BMW 5 series engines

The most efficient 5 Series on paper is the 530e iPerformance plug in hybrid car. With a battery that can power it for up to 28 miles on its electric motor alone, you may find yourself rarely filling up if you only cover short journeys.

However, on longer journeys, the petrol engine takes over, so higher-mileage drivers may be better off with a 5 Series that has a more efficient diesel engine.
Fuel economy will largely depend on how much you need petrol power, but the official 141.2 mpg and CO2 emissions of 46g/km mean that it qualifies for low company car tax.

The BMW 520d EfficientDynamics model, with a four-cylinder diesel engine is likely to be cheaper. It also offers efficient motoring with an official 72.4mpg figure and CO2 emissions of 102g/km. It will accelerate from 0-62mph in 7.5sec.

The standard 520d is no more powerful but uses a little more fuel, raising CO2 emissions to 107g/km.

The most powerful diesel 5 Series, the 530d, accelerates from 0-62mph in 5.7sec and returns 62.8mpg, with emissions of 118g/km CO2.

The least-powerful petrol car, the 530i, has a 6.2sec acceleration figure, emissions of 126g/km CO2 and an official 52.3mpg figure.

The 540i cuts the acceleration time to 5.1sec but efficiency does suffer, falling to 43.5mpg and 150g/km CO2.


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