► New BMW 5-series spied
► It's the 2016 Five family
► Saloon first, wagon to follow
Frugal three-cylinder engines, a 600bhp M5, a Gran Turismo version, the new Touring and the ability to drive itself – the next BMW 5-series will offer something for everyone, even those people who don’t like driving.
Codenamed G30, the sixth generation of BMW’s exec saloon arrives in summer 2016. Bookended by a 5-series Gran Turismo (yes, BMW is having a second go at the hippopotamus-arsed hatch-cum-limo) and a Touring estate in the autumn, the saloon will adopt an all-new platform packed with technology.
Our most recent spy shots show the new 5-series saloon, replete with aggressive-looking M Sport package. We’re even offered a glimpse inside the new BMW, revealing a different instrument cluster.
Engineering spec of new G30 5-series
The platform was originally called ‘35up’ internally, which sounds like a new soft drink, but designates that everything from the 3- and 5-series up (including the next 6- and 7-series) will use this rear- and four-wheel-drive components set. The platform mixes high-strength steel, aluminium and carbonfibre to drop around 80kg from today’s 5-series.
It's since been renamed CLAR, a contraction of Cluster Architecture. The new acronym was chosen to stress the extra flexibility provided by fewer but more versatile submodules (clusters) that are more extensively adjustable in content, size and adaptability.
The M5 sheds even more weight (we hear a whopping 180kg) and with an uprated 600bhp version of the current 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8, and the option of four-wheel drive for the first time, performance should be ferocious.
Three-cylinder engines for the Five
The reduced mass also enables lesser 5-series to employ three-cylinder power, with a 1.5-litre turbocharged diesel powering the entry-level 518d. Producing 150bhp, Munich insiders claim that it can achieve a staggering 72.7mpg – 2.1mpg up on today’s most fuel-efficient 5-series. See how the three-pot performs in the 2-series Active Tourer here.
BMW is grouping 500cc cylinders together to create three-, four- and six-pot engines, with 60% common parts. A 2.0-litre four-cylinder will power the 520d and 231bhp 525d, while the leading petrol four is a 272bhp 528i.
Engine size dictates which suspensions slot into place: smaller-engined 5-series share front axles with the next 3-series, but go for a six- or eight-cylinder 5-series and you’ll get the front axle from the next 7-series instead.
BMW’s straight six lives on!
Despite the downsizing trend, lovers of the BMW straight-six will still have plenty of choice: 333bhp 530i and 375bhp 540i petrols; and a 286bhp 530d, 333bhp 535d or 400bhp M550d with no fewer than four turbochargers.
Hybrid versions of the 5-series will be offered too, including a plug-in version that lowers its charge adapter to a garage floor-mounted plate for inductive charging. Just remember to unplug it.
The technology and gadgets of the next 5-series
The new Five is also so high-tech that it will not only park itself, but change lanes and overtake on the driver’s behalf. It’ll use radar-based cruise control to stay in its lane, detect a car ahead, and signal before pulling out and passing that dawdling Luddite.
The 5-series’ electronic architecture is also future-proofed thanks to remote updates – but as with your iPhone it’ll be updating itself every day and you’ll pay extra for the rumoured Autonomous Tailgating app.
Read CAR magazine’s BMW 5-series reviews