Can new BMW 5 Series match Mercedes-Benz E-Class for tech?

The New Bmw 5 Series

BMW has just revealed the new 5 Series, citing technological leadership as one of its essential selling points. Can it match the current Mercedes-Benz E-Class for innovative thinking?

BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi to an extent, play a game of one-upmanship with their new models. As soon as one brand launches a new model, it aims to beat its rival’s competing model. With the new E-Class launched earlier this year, Mercedes-Benz certainly set the bar high with technologies like remote parking, a massive interior display unit and loads of safety additions. Let’s take a look at the new 5 Series and see how it compares tech-wise to the E-Class.

Self-driving capabilities

The E-Class has a Drive Pilot that will take over steering duties at speeds of up to 200 kph but, only for 1 minute before it asks the driver to take over again. Automatic lane changing can also be done by the E-Class, as long as you hold the indicator down for 2 seconds, it will check the lane next to you and then begin its lane change when it's safe to do so.

BMW has a similar system to Merc, except, it can manage speeds of up to 210 kph autonomously. The 5 Series does require at least a few fingers on the wheel most of the time but will give the driver a reminder to place hands on the wheel after a few seconds. The 5 Series will also change lanes in this ‘automated mode’ and is able to stay in its lane even when road markings are unclear.

Winner: BMW 5 Series

Remote control parking

Both the E-Class and the 5 Series offer remote control parking that can be done from outside the vehicle. Merc’s system allows you to use your phone to connect to the car and complete the parking manoeuvre.

The 5 Series’ system is much like the 7 Series’ system where the car is controlled via the key fob. Both also offer automated parking systems for perpendicular or alley docking parking. The BMW does have a built-in system where you can book your parking spot roadside or in a multi-storey parking. This won’t be available in SA however.

Winner: Draw

Navigation systems

The Mercedes-Benz E-Class uses a 3D navigation display that can be fitted with real-time traffic alerts and an accident alert feature. The feature allows E-Class’ to connect to each other (via the cloud) and notify each other where an accident has taken place.

BMW has gone to town with real-time traffic allowing destinations to be inputted via the Connected Drive app on your phone/PC/Nav system. It will then let you know when you need to leave in order to get to your destination at the time you set. It constantly updates as traffic and accidents occur on your route.

Winner: BMW 5 Series

Infotainment screen

Mercedes-Benz set a new benchmark with its extended hi-res display that spans from the instrument cluster right the way across to the infotainment screen. It's crisp, clear and isn’t a touchscreen so doesn’t attract fingerprints.

The 5 Series has the latest update for gesture control – premiered on the 7 Series and features a 10.25-inch screen on the centre dash. It is also hi-resolution and can be controlled by the iDrive controller or by touching the screen. Not really anything new here.

Winner: Mercedes-Benz E-Class


As well as a full complement of airbags and precautions to prevent accidents the Mercedes goes a step further with side impact protection. It will inflate the bolster of a front seat on the side of the impact to push the occupant towards the centre of the car, which reduces the intensity of the impact on the occupant. There’s even a sound diffuser that goes off inside the car to protect the occupants ears in the event of a crash. There's also seatbelt airbags to prevent further injuries such as whiplash.

BMW has focused on the exterior body structure that offers optimised safety both for the vehicle’s own occupants and occupants of other vehicles. The aim was to split up the main load paths so that the impact forces are dispersed over as wide an area as possible by the time they reach the passenger cell. This ensures optimal deceleration of the passenger cell in an accident, allowing the front, rear and side impact restraint systems to provide the most effective protection possible.

Winner: Mercedes-Benz E-Class

Result: 2-2

There's no doubt that the proof will be in the pudding and we look forward to testing the new 5 Series so that we can make a definitive conclusion. BMW also notes that the 5 Series aims to be exceptionally dynamic for its size – something BMW is renowned for. For now, you can read up on our review of the previous 5 Series against the new Mercedes-Benz E-Class.

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