In the evolutionary doctrine, all animal species change and adapt to ensure their own survival.
Cumbersome qualities are traded for more agile traits; physical handicaps are traded for athletic strengths.
What if an animal inherited evolutionary changes that compromised its strengths? In other words: what if monkeys had even bigger ears, smaller brains and an ever more insatiable appetite for bananas?
Now in its 5th iteration, BMW’s 5 series sedan has undergone many evolutionary changes along the way. Starting its life in 1972 as a midsize sport sedan for the times, it has continually grown in size, strength, intelligence and power.
Of course, there are many creatures in this automotive jungle. How does BMW’s new 5 series compare? Has its latest evolutionary jump kept it ahead of its jungle rivals? Has it grown fat with age gorging on bananas, or has it been quietly honing its shape, adding agility and lightness?
Read on to discover the intricacies of BMW’s latest 5.
Impressions as a Daily Driver:
The morning commute is a breeze in such comfort, luxury and convenience. Comfort is derived from stellar multi-adjustable seats that will caudle anyone’s bottom just right. Ample room in all dimensions goes a long way; from the rear seat, 6’ plus passengers will feel comfortable and can stretch-out if so inclined. Once inside BMW’s new 5 series, it would be easy to mistake it for a 7 – so spacious and roomy is its interior.
Besides the high quality leathers, metals and plastics that surround you, luxury is found in the artistic sculpture of the dash. Concave and convex shapes link up and fly across the cabin with flare and pizzazz. Gone is the cold, isolating interior of the E60, you will find great “warmth” and comfort in BMW’s latest F10 design. A driver-oriented dashboard follows BMW’s standard approach to ergonomics and makes you feel in command.
All of BMW’s latest technologies are available on the 5 series option list. From infrared night vision, to blind lane exit side-view cameras, to lane departure warning cameras – this car will augment your vision. Feeling clumsy, tired and ham-fisted? It will even parallel park itself.
Of course, a brilliant audio system will play your song-list in high fidelity sound, and BMW’s latest take on i-drive will have you questioning why people ever complained about it in the first place (it has come a long way in improvements). Answering an incoming phone call while you parallel park is so easy, even a well-trained monkey could do it.
Ingress and egress from the vehicle is excellent with large door openings and ample headroom through the frame. The trunk is large enough to hold 3 large suitcases, and a few things more.
Keyless access and ignition is an invention that rivals sliced bread. It is hard to picture it any other way, and once you’ve gotten used to it, returning to a less equipped car is absolute punishment.
While navigating city streets, bumps are clandestine and absorbed by the suspension; a highly rigid steel frame isolates wiggles and judders from entering the cabin. The backbone of BMW’s latest 5 series is now shared with its larger sibling, the 7 series. Rock-of-Gibraltar solidity leaves you with a feeling of security and precision.
When it comes time to dice up traffic, the new 5 is up to the task. Light on its feet as you travel city streets, the 5 series feels smaller and more compact the faster you go. Ultimately, 50:50 weight distribution and rear-wheel drive are responsible for its sporty handling. We had no problem slicing through thick traffic and navigating tight parking lots – though the car does begin to feel quite “longish” when maneuvering through tight spaces.
Throttle response is immediate with no perceptible turbo lag, and if you stay on the power, 407 hp and 442 lb-ft of torque will be released through BMW’s new 8-speed automatic transmission.
Purists can breathe a sigh of relief: BMW’s latest 5 series will be offered with a 6-speed manual transmission – regardless of engine choice. Munich’s latest 6-speed manual offers dry-sump lubrication for reduced frictional losses and greater efficiency. We’ve yet to confirm whether the F10 M5 will offer a proper manual transmission, but our fingers are crossed in global unison.
Much like the N63’s throttle response, brake feel is precise and it is easy to modulate the brakes smoothly ala chauffer duty. Steering feel is a different story. For the first time in its evolutionary path, the 5 series has adopted electromechanical steering as standard equipment across all models. While it is excellent for a complex electronic setup, it just lacks that crystal clear road feel you’re used to receiving through the wheel of a BMW.
While there is still direct mechanical linkage between the steering wheel and the drive wheels, an electric motor is used to assist steering on demand. As the electric motor kicks in, it seems to distort feedback through the wheel. Since the electric motor is only used when steering input is added, there is less energy consumed verses a conventional hydraulic steering assist setup, but this energy savings comes at a high price.