Superb new BMW 5

Series leads the

field

BMW 5 Series, 2017, front
BMW 5 Series, 2017, side
BMW 5 Series, 2017, rear
BMW 5 Series, 2017, rear, action
BMW 5 Series, 2017, front seats
BMW 5 Series, 2017, dashboard
BMW 5 Series, 2017, display screen
BMW 5 Series, 2017, interior
BMW 5 Series, 2017, rear seats

SENSATIONAL is probably the best word to describe the new BMW 5 Series executive saloon.

This seventh generation model had to be good now it's up against the likes of the latest Mercedes E-Class, Jaguar XF or the Audi A6, and I reckon it now leads the field in this sector.

The new model, which has a starting price of £36,025, uses the very latest technology to create a saloon that's more refined than ever before.

It's significantly lighter - by 100kg - over the previous model and handling has been made easier and safer.

Engines for the latest 5 Series come from the BMW's new generation of TwinPower turbo units which offer impressive performance gains, but also reduce fuel consumption and emissions.

An extensive array of standard and optional driver assistance technologies means that not only does the new executive saloon reduce the driver's workload it also takes a notable step towards fully autonomous driving - it can even park itself.

As far as styling goes, BMW hasn't made any dramatic changes, but the new model is slightly longer, wide and higher, with subtle bodywork changes reducing the drag coefficient by 10 per cent compared to its predecessor, setting a new benchmark in the class of just 0.22.

One useful addition up front is the 'Active Air Stream' kidney grille. This system opens the louvres in the BMW's famous grille elements and lower air intakes when more cooling air is required, but otherwise keeps them closed to optimise aerodynamic efficiency.

The interior of the new 5 Series, as you'd expect, comes with top-class materials, great build quality and attention to detail plus more headroom than before and boot space which has increased to 530 litres.

The seats offer excellent support and optional sports seats, standard on M Sport models, feature adjustable side bolsters for lateral support. In addition, the optional BMW comfort seats can be specified with a massage function.

The newcomer is packed with high-tech gear including optional BMW Gesture Control for key functions such as navigation, telephone, entertainment features and vehicle functions which can be seen on the high-resolution 10.25-inch screen and controlled not just in the usual manner using the iDrive Controller, but also by hand gestures, voice commands or simply touching the buttons on the touch-sensitive display.

One of the new button functions is a message centre, where all incoming SMS messages, emails and information about the car's operating state can be found. The 5 Series also comes with a head-up display.

On a road drive in Spain where BMW launched the new 5 Series I opted for the 520d which will probably be the biggest seller in the UK.

It's four-cylinder diesel engine has an output of 190bhp at 4,000rpm and maximum torque of 400Nm.

Gearshifts are made with the eight-speed Steptronic auto box and fuel consumption is claimed at 68.8mpg with CO2 emissions of 108g/km. It can hit 62mph in just 7.5 seconds, so it's no slouch.

All engines available at launch can be specified with BMW's xDrive intelligent all-wheel drive system.

While the 5 Series will be used mainly by fleet and business drivers it also offers exciting and sporty motoring for private buyers.

On the road, the 520d performed superbly well with very little wind, road or engine noise and the acceleration and slick gear change made overtaking easy and safe.

The suspension soaked up all but the roughest of surfaces and on some seriously hilly and twisty mountain roads I never once felt the Beemer was out of control.

It stayed level on the bends even when pushed hard and I had every confidence in the powerful braking system.

BMW say it hopes to sell around 18,000 to UK buyers in its first full year and whoever ends up with one will not be disappointed.

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