As expected, BMW has applied a rather subtle update to its 5 Series executive sedan. Over and above a host of detail improvements, all 4- and 6-cylinder derivatives now feature 48V mild-hybrid technology.
Images of a plug-in hybrid version of the updated 5 Series were leaked last month and they’ve now been proved authentic. As can be seen in these official photographs, the executive sedan’s revised double-kidney grille is now effectively a single piece, which is wider and higher than that of the pre-facelift car and drops down further into the bumper.
The LED headlights are slimmer in design and feature either 2 U- or L-shaped daytime driving lights details – depending on which version of the LED headlights (with adaptive cornering function) are specified. Selective Beam non-dazzling high-beam with matrix technology (with High-beam Assistant) and BMW Laserlight units are optionally available for all derivatives; if so specified, the units' outer daytime driving lights also function as turn indicators.
BMW stopped short of going full X7/7 Series on the updated 5 Series' grille, but it has indeed been enlarged.
At the rear, the 5 Series’ new LED tail-light clusters feature black edging and an L-shaped graphic that combines the rear- and brake lights into a single feature, while the exhaust-end finishers are trapezoidal in shape on all derivatives. Other updates include a beefed-up M Sport body kit and optional lightweight, drag-reducing Individual Air Performance Wheels. Click here to see what an M Sport-equipped facelifted 5er looks like.
The interior updates are arguably more noteworthy: automatic climate control with extended features is standard throughout the range, as is the 10.25-inch Control Display (upgradable to a 12.3-inch unit); the switchgear on the centre console and the standard sports leather steering wheel has been revised, while the options list includes M multifunction electrically adjustable seats, updated interior trim strips and seat surfaces in Sensatec perforated trim.
Updated switchgear (including on the multifunction steering wheel) and a larger infotainment display are the most obvious tweaks.
The hardware update is significant: The BMW Live Cockpit Plus and the optional BMW Live Cockpit Professional are underpinned by the brand’s Operating System 7 and now includes Intelligent Personal Assistant, together with a host of extra digital services, including a cloud-based navigation system that updates real-time traffic data at regular intervals. The 5 Series further supports Android Auto (in addition to Apple CarPlay) and remote software upgrades.
Meanwhile, the introduction of a 48V starter-generator and a second battery on the 4- and 6-cylinder 5 Series derivatives (not just the plug-in versions, which aren’t of consequence to our market anyway), significantly increases the amount of brake energy that can be regenerated and stored. This energy is used not only to power the sedan’s electrical system and ancillaries, but to produce an 8 kW electric boost to aid either overtaking- or off-the-line acceleration. The mild-hybrid setup also benefits efficiency by assisting the engine when driving at constant speeds and improves comfort when the Auto Start-Stop and coasting functions are in use.
This 540i is shod with BMW's optional lightweight, drag-reducing Individual Air Performance Wheels.
The driver assistance systems have been updated too. The latest iteration of the optional Integral Active Steering can aid manoeuvring by turning the 5 Series' rear wheels as required at speeds under 3 kph and the Lane Departure Warning system (included with the optional Driving Assistant) now features a lane-return function by means of steering assistance.
What's more, the updated Steering and Lane Control Assistant included as part of the new Driving Assistant Professional package utilises navigation data to anticipate when a lane change will be required along a route, and this can then be performed "with ease", BMW says, using the Lane Change Assistant. There is also an “automatic formation of emergency lane” function, which steps in to guide the car to the most appropriate side of its lane in a freeway traffic jam.
The Parking Assistant’s range of functions has been extended with the addition of the reversing assistant, which takes control of the steering while reversing for distances of up to 50 metres. A Drive Recorder function lets drivers shoot and store videos of the scene around the vehicle (a feature that insurance companies will surely love) and the 3D visualisation of the surrounding area in the instrument cluster provides an enhanced overview of the current traffic situation, the status of the driver assistance systems and the possible courses of action they offer.
When do we expect to see the revised 5 Series in local showrooms? BMW SA has said it expects it to arrive sometime in Q4 this year. The introductory lineup looks quite healthy too. It will land in 520d, 530i, M550i xDrive and in M5 Competition guise.