The All-New 2017 BMW 5-Series (G30)

A premium collective of purpose and clarity

Words: Kevin C. Limjoco
Photos: Tom Kirkpatrick and Author

I’ve said this many times before that consumers win bigger every year despite increasing prices and worldwide congestion. The all-new BMW 5-series is yet another shining example of the results of fierce competition combined with adapting to regulations and future needs. Just before the end of 2016, BMW Philippines, thanks to its President Maricar Parco, Marketing Director Karl Magsuci, and Thea Geronimo, the Corporate Communications Specialist that did all the heavy lifting to get Jason Dela Cruz of Top Gear Philippines and myself, representing C! Magazine, to Lisbon, Portugal to immerse ourselves principally with the two variants of the 7th generation BMW 5-series that are planned for our archipelago. With the new codename G30, the premium mid-size sedan is truly all-new despite deliberately looking like a subtle refresh from the previous model that it replaces.

More than ever before, in many ways the new 5-series is a scaled down version of the fabulous BMW 7-series flagship. It also uses the new modular OKL platform of its big brother but employs less measures of the more expensive materials (magnesium and carbon fiber) without sacrificing ability or structural strength. So even with the abundant new equipment applied and managed by the mostly carried over engines that have been retuned for even more power while simultaneously increasing fuel efficiency, the marginally larger (36 mm longer, 6 mm wider, 2 mm taller with a 7 mm longer wheelbase) new 5-series is as much as 100 kg. (220 pounds) lighter on the tarmac across the model range.

We test drove the thrilling 335 hp 540i M-Sport and the extreme generalist the 262 hp 530d xDrive. Only three-tenths of a second separated the two wonderful luxury sedans from naught to 100 km/h, both well under six seconds. But more importantly it’s how these two cars deliver and manage their potent engines. On every generation, the 5-series defined the best balance of dynamic performance, driving enjoyment, luxury, sophistication, and technology. Each generation capitalized on their strengths, addressed what little compromises it had then catapulted forward, always improving and innovating. So, for those that had not experienced or needed tactile dynamic reminders on this awesome automobile evolution, BMW also had the older generation cars on hand in Portugal. As a previous owner of a few model generations as well as having several models in our C! Fastfleet, I immediately appreciated the exponential leaps forward with the new models while still reveling on the accomplishments of the old cars. The core BMW values are not just intact but more so celebrated with more of everything great.

The completely reworked aluminum suspension is all-new, double-wishbone up front and five-link rear. The front and rear track widths are also up by 5 mm and 3 mm compared to the F10 past model. After almost 300 kilometers of testing both 5-series models to and from Penha Longa to the Lisbon Portela Airport, as a driver and as a passenger, I can already say without hesitation, despite the short road test, that BMW’s latest premium mid-size sedan is the very best in its class. BMW chose the routes very well which were able to demonstrate most of the new abilities under most of the road surface conditions that we would traverse at home, from heavy city traffic to narrow country roads. Jason and I went through some areas of road that would match the pock-marked uneven Philippine provincial tarmac and both cars absorbed the punishment with absolute ease and panache. Yes, in either active or standard suspension setups, both cars only varied in degrees of greatness.

The only three test measures that we weren’t able to fully explore were the automated parking system, outright top speeds, and the extensive portfolio of assistance systems. I would need a lot more seat time to fully engage with all of them properly. The purity of the driving experience is not just intact but even more expertly expressed. The new 530d xDrive (+ 7 bhp & +44 lb-ft, up from before) for example had the new Integral Active Steering with rear wheel steering which made it astonishingly agile and tactile, embracing every tight curve with love and commitment with very tiny instances of jaunt when pushed to the limits of adhesion.

The 540i M Sport (+34 bhp & +37 lb-ft, up from before) had the lowered suspension combined with Dynamic Damper Control, Driving Experience Control, and Electromechanical Anti-Roll Stabilization. The combination of all these systems working in unison, adapting to the drivers’ will created a whole new dimension of driving involvement. You feel all the good without the bad. It’s very compliant like a sponge when it needs to be but still allows the driver to feel connected to the whole experience without being annoyingly disturbed by sensing the road imperfections. There is a new optional Drive mode from the now BMW standard (Comfort, Sport and ECO PRO), simply called Adaptive. This new Drive mode automatically adjusts to the driving style and route like the system used in a Rolls-Royce which combines active data from the navigational system to prepare the car for what is to come ahead of the set path.

Along with the lighter weight thanks in part to the generous amount of high-grade aluminum applied, extensive NVH measures (from the acoustic glass to more abundant insulation that includes the headliner with built-in soundproofing), new steering and new suspension is a whole new very aerodynamic body that slices through the wind to as low as .22 cd with a high of only .25 cd supported by active front grill shutters, which is roughly a 10% improvement from its predecessor. To supplement these efforts further, BMW now also uses SYNTAK (Synergy Thermoacoustic Capsule) technology on the engine and transmission, which encapsulates them with lightweight soundproofing materials which not only reduces noise but also improves the powertrain’s heat retention which is supposed to also aid fuel consumption. So not only is the new 5-series at its most fuel efficient and most environmentally friendly ever since its inception in 1972, it is also at its most refined with the quietest and most comfortable cabin that it has ever had while complying with the EU6 emission standard.

The seats in a BMW 5-series were always the best in their class in every generation in terms of quality of the materials, comfort and support, but their standard designs were not as exceptional as they are now. The control switches for the seats are also at their best. It’s never been this easy to adjust the front seats, so the days of groping the underside of the seats looking for the sweet spot is now a distant memory.  Along with the wider choice of materials, that include special decorative stitching and quilting, the standard and sport seats can now have 8-setting massage features included. BMW did offer similar active systems before but it was set up for dynamic support on the more expensive models like the M5. I used to shut the system off before as it felt too unnatural, like little gremlins trying to keep up with g-forces in order to get fed.

The new saloon is dimensionally not much bigger than before on paper but it feels remarkably more spacious and considerably more luxurious. The trunk is also much bigger, with capacity increased from 396 liters before to 530 liters. For those who prefer to ride in the back, they will enjoy an additional 1.2 inches more rear legroom. Even the optional new key fob, called the Display Key, offers a host of neat functions from using a classy color display with touch control. The scalloped new door interior designs not only make it easier to get in and out, generate more ambient space, and more stowage but they also contribute to the cabin’s fabulous acoustics.

The new electronic architecture uses a 48V system so even the reaction times are astonishingly quick and robust with the 6th generation iDrive control. We first experienced how smart and efficient the new system was when we took a couple of wrong turns along our initial test route then a few more times on the way back, the navigation responded almost instantly which is the very best that I’ve personally tested in any car. It needs to be this quick too because the system also runs all the advanced autonomous driver assistance programs. The past few generations of BMW 5-series had comprehensive individual customization options but this new generation is on a whole higher spectrum, the wealth and breadth of options are far more extensive than ever before.

This is just the beginning too for the new BMW 5-series range. Besides more model and trim variants than include the brilliant 530e iPerformance hybrid and Touring models, the full-blown M5 is still yet to come. For now, I have to say for the very first time that the all-new BMW 5-series is so incredible, so desirable, and so complete that I would enjoy having even the entry level 520d coupled to an 8-speed Steptronic automatic for our Philippine market. It can be packaged with most of the key equipment found in the more potent models, from the Fibonacci-patterned holed 16-speaker 1400-watt Bowers & Wilkins audio system, 70% larger full-color 800 x 600 high-resolution 3rd generation Head-Up Display, the full-featured crisp 10.25-inch touchscreen with voice commands and gesture control, adaptive LED headlights, seamless intelligent start/stop ignition, to the Dynamic Damper Control and Drive Performance Control. Why? Because the 520d now produces a very healthy 190 hp with 295 lb-ft of torque which is good for acceleration from 0-100 km/h in 7.5 seconds with a 235 km/h top speed while still achieving 4.2 l/100 km overall fuel efficiency. The best just got better and they will be in BMW showrooms nationwide very soon!

 

Specification – 2017 BMW 540i sDrive M Sport (G30)

Engine: Inline-6

Location: Front, Longitudinal

Displacement: 2998 cc

Cylinder block: Cast Aluminum

Cylinder head: Cast Aluminum, DOHC, 4 valves per cylinder, Double-VANOS, Valvetronic, Intercooled Twin-scroll Turbo

Fuel Injection: Direct Fuel Injection

Max power: 335 bhp @ 5500-6500 rpm

Max torque: 332 lb-ft @ 1380-5200 rpm

Transmission: ZF 8-Speed Automatic, Rear-Wheel-Drive

Drag Coefficient: .25 cd

Front suspension: Independent Aluminum double track control arm axle with separate lower track arm level, small

steering roll radius, traverse force compensation, anti-dive, Variable Damper Control (VDC)

Rear suspension: Independent Aluminum 5-link, coil springs, anti-roll bar, Variable Damper Control (VDC)

Body Composition: Aluminum, Steel, Magnesium

Fuel Capacity: 68 liters (17.9 gallons)

L x W x H: 4936 mm x 1868 mm x 1466 mm

Wheelbase: 2975 mm

Brakes: Front M-Spec 13.7” (348 mm) ventilated discs with 4-piston aluminum fixed calipers / Rear 13.6” (345 mm) vented discs with 1-piston aluminum floating calipers, ABS, EBA, DSC/DTC Traction & Stability Controls.

Wheels: 8J x 19” Front & 9J x 19” Rear Model 664 M Aluminum Alloys

Tires: P245/40ZR19 98Y Front & P275/35ZR19 101Y Rear Michelin Primacy 3 ZP

Weight: (kerb) 1595 kg. (3516 lbs.)

Weight Distribution: 52.2:47.8

0-100 km/h (0-62 mph): 5.1 seconds

Top Speed (mph): 250 km/h (155 mph) Governed

Fuel Mileage: 8.9 l/100 kms City / 5.2 l/100 kms Highway

C! RATING 10/10

+Arguably the very best in its class, takes the very best of what the 5-series was then once again holistically raised the bar

-Aesthetically purposeful but not dramatically better than before.

 

Specification – 2017 BMW 530d xDrive Luxury Line (G30)

Engine: Inline-6

Location: Front, Longitudinal

Displacement: 2993 cc

Cylinder block: Cast Aluminum

Cylinder head: Cast Aluminum, DOHC, 4 valves per cylinder, Intercooled Variable Geometry Turbodiesel

Fuel Injection: Direct Commonrail Fuel Injection

Max power: 262 bhp @ 4000 rpm

Max torque: 457 lb-ft @ 2000-2500 rpm

Transmission: ZF 8-Speed Automatic, xDrive AWD

Drag Coefficient: .25 cd

Front suspension: Independent Aluminum double track control arm axle with separate lower track arm level, small

steering roll radius, traverse force compensation, anti-dive

Rear suspension: Independent Aluminum 5-link, coil springs, anti-roll bar

Body Composition: Aluminum, Steel, Magnesium

Fuel Capacity: 66 liters (17.4 gallons)

L x W x H: 4936 mm x 1868 mm x 1466 mm

Wheelbase: 2975 mm

Brakes: Front 13.7” (348 mm) ventilated discs with 4-piston aluminum fixed calipers / Rear 13.6” (345 mm) vented discs with 1-piston aluminum floating calipers, ABS, EBA, DSC/DTC Traction & Stability Controls.

Wheels: 8J x 18” Model 619 Aluminum Alloys

Tires: P245/45ZR18 100Y Dunlop Sport Maxx RT2

Weight: (kerb) 1698 kg. (3737 lbs.)

Weight Distribution: 53.8:46.2

0-100 km/h (0-62 mph): 5.4 seconds

Top Speed (mph): 250 km/h (155 mph) Governed

Fuel Mileage: 5.8 l/100 kms City / 4.6 l/100 kms Highway

C! RATING 10/10

+Monstrously capable, most balanced overachiever in the model range.

-Only that it doesn’t look as accomplished as it is dynamically and technologically.

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