1. It looks very much like the last 5-Series
The daytime running LEDs trace a hexagonal outline, making a visual connection with BMW’s traditional double grille.
And there’s a fresh crease down the side. It begins high above the front wheelarch, then takes a steadily rising path above the doorhandles before flicking up behind the side window, to make the car “surge” forward apparently. As you can see, BMW design evolves gradually.
2. It’s raided the 7-Series parts bin
The platform, suspension, 10.5-inch iDrive, seats, driver assist and much more are borrowed from the 7. It doesn’t get the same big girders of carbon fibre in its shell, though, going for a more affordable mix of high-strength steel, aluminium and magnesium. Overall it’s about 100kg lighter than before. The drag coefficient dips as low as 0.22 for the small-engined ones. Grille shutters blank off the opening when cooling isn’t needed.
3. Fast or frugal? It’s totally your call
The fastest is the twin- turbo V8 M550i xDrive with 462bhp that cracks 0-62mph in 4.0secs, while the 520d ED makes 190bhp, 0-62 in 7.5secs and 102g/km CO2. Another company-car fave will be the 530e plug-in with an electric range of 28 miles, a 6.2secs 0-62 time and a claimed 46g/km.
If you want a straight-six, you need a 530d (265bhp) or 540i (340bhp). 4WD is optional with nearly all engines, even the 520d.
4. It’s definitely cleverer than you
Dynamic drive is a lightweight electric active anti-roll system with adaptive dampers. BMW manages it with 12V, while Audi and Bentley need 48V. The BMW connected function will scan your diary, preload the nav and text an ETA to the people you’re meeting. Parked in a dodgy area? An app connects to the car’s 360° cameras so you can check its surroundings remotely on your phone.
5. It’s the seventh gen
In ’72, the angular-looking E10 succeeded the “Neue Klasse” BMW 2000. The’81 E28 modernised the idea, and in ’85 gave us the first M5. The ’87 E34 was more rounded and saw a Touring for the first time. Then in ’95 came the brilliant E39, with aluminium suspension, and a nat-asp V8 in the M5. The Chris Bangle-era E60 brought a part- aluminium body, and a V10 M5. The 2010 F10/F11 was launched first as a five-door Gran Turismo.