New 2017 BMW 5-series revealed: lighter, quicker, more advanced

Published: 13 October 2016

► New seventh-gen BMW 5-series unveiled
► Wide range of powertrains and tech
► On sale in February, M5 due in late 2017

‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’ That appears, in many respects, to be the approach that BMW has taken to this, the newest iteration of its fabled 5-series saloon.

Yes, these really are pictures of the seventh-generation BMW 5-series. It’s codenamed G30, features a host of styling cues and tech from the larger 7-series, and is reputedly improved across the board. 

So, what are the big changes?

BMW’s given the exterior of the Five a gentle working over, including adding the ‘full-width’ headlights and the larger kidney grilles from the 7-series. It’s fractionally bigger in all respects, too, which should make it feel slightly more spacious.

2017 BMW 5-series

A keen eye has been cast over the finer details, too, including a 10% reduction in the car’s drag coefficient, compared to the previous model, to 0.22. That’s in part thanks to active shutters behind the grille, which can block drag-inducing airflow through the cooling pack and in to the engine bay when not required.

BMW also claims that, in certain specifications, the new 5-series is up to 100kg lighter than the previous version. There’s no carbonfibre core, like the current 7-series, but the latest 5-series does feature lots of aluminium, high-strength steels and magnesium.

2017 BMW 5-series

Again, a lot of these reductions have been achieved by looking at the minor details – instead of a standalone spot caliper for the parking brake, for example, BMW has integrated the mechanism into the rear calipers. The saving? A mere two kilograms. It all adds up...

What engines will be available?

As you’d expect, there will be a wide range of turbocharged petrols and diesels in the seventh-generation 5-series.

So far, the line-up consists of the following:

  • 530i  2.0-litre turbo 4-cyl petrol, 249bhp, 258lb ft, 126g/km, 52.3mpg
  • 540i  3.0-litre turbo 6-cyl petrol, 335bhp, 332lb ft, 150g/km, 43.5mpg
  • 530e  2.0-litre turbo 4-cyl petrol + electric drive, 248bhp, 310lb ft, 46g/km, 141.2mpg
  • M550i xDrive  4.4-litre twin-turbo V8, 456bhp, 479lb ft, 204g/km, 31.7mpg
  • 520d  2.0-litre turbo 4-cyl diesel, 188bhp, 295lb ft, 108g/km, 68.9mpg
  • 520d ED  2.0-litre turbo 4-cyl diesel, 188bhp, 295lb ft, 102g/km, 72.4mpg
  • 530d  3.0-litre turbo 6-cyl diesel, 262bhp, 457lb ft, 118g/km of CO2, 62.8mpg

At least downsizing hasn’t taken away all the sixes and eights that we love so dearly.

2017 BMW 5-series

Those among you who are inclined to change gears yourself will also be glad to know that the option of a manual hasn’t disappeared in its entirety – a six-speed manual is offered in the 520d. Otherwise, each comes with an eight-speed automatic.

What are the performance figures like?

The 0-62mph figures for the new 5-series are as follows:

  • 530i  6.2sec
  • 540i  5.1sec
  • 530e  6.2sec
  • M550i xDrive  4.0sec
  • 520d  7.7sec
  • 520d ED  7.5sec
  • 530d  5.7sec

BMW will also be offering a host of xDrive all-wheel-drive versions, for those looking for a 5-series with a little more traction. At launch, xDrive will be offered as an option on the 530i, 540i, 520d and 530d, and come as standard on the M550i.

2017 BMW 5-series

The all-wheel-drive variants will cost more, but – outside of the obvious benefits – each is fractionally quicker in the 0-62mph sprint than the rear-drive equivalent. BMW states the system can transfer 100% of the drive to the front or to the back, from a standard distribution of 40/60 front to rear.

What kind of features will it be offered with?

Predictably, there’s a whole host of modern tech available, including semi-autonomous driving systems and myriad driver aids. All versions will come with BMW’s Professional Media system as standard, featuring a 10.25-inch display with touch control and the latest i-Drive set-up.

2017 BMW 5-series

Opt for the Driving Assistance Plus Package and your 5-series will even be able to changes lanes at up to 112mph – where legal, of course – steer around obstacles and maintain the correct lane position.

BMW’s revamped the heads-up display, too, making it 70% larger and improving the resolution. This rounds of a range of interior upgrades, including a new instrument cluster, acoustic glazing for the windscreen and an optional Bowers & Wilkins sound system.

2017 BMW 5-series

The 5-series also gets a range of apps, including Car-to-X. This allows your car to communicate with other BMWs, sharing traffic and weather information. The aim, outside of easing your commute and making sure you bring your umbrella with you, is to lay the groundwork for fully automated driving in the future – as the systems will rely heavily on car-to-car communication.

Any other neat tricks?

If you’re tired of parking for yourself, tick the option box for Remote Control Parking. As the name suggests, this lets you remotely control the 5-series from outside – so you can squeeze the car in to tight spaces.

2017 BMW 5-series

When will we find out more?

Production of the latest 5-series begins in November, and the car’s set to go on sale in February 2017. 

The Touring version will follow the saloon, arriving some time in spring, but the M5 isn’t due until late 2017.

Expect pricing to reflect that of the current 5-series line-up, likely starting at around £30k and rising to £75k for the full-fat M5.

Read CAR magazine’s BMW 5-series reviews

By Lewis Kingston

CAR's online editor. Inveterate car buyer and seller; currently owner of a '68 Charger project car