>> Read our full three-page news story of the new 2010 BMW 5-series. There's video at the foot of this page, scroll through to p3 for audio clips of the new 5-series engineers and engines
The BMW 5-series saloon – it’s finally here. Internally dubbed F10, it's the sixth-generation BMW 5-series and will be unveiled at the Geneva motor show in spring 2010, with UK sales starting on 20 March 2010. A 5-series Touring version (F11) will follow next September.
So what’s new for the sixth-generation BMW 5-series?
Let’s start with the tech: BMW claims the new 5-series is the first car in its class to feature start-stop tech, an eight-speed automatic transmission and double wishbone front suspension.
The new 5-series is also the first BMW to get the company's new Park Assist tech, slotting the car into a space by twiddling the wheel, leaving the driver to operate on the accelerator and brake pedals. A bit like a VW Touran, then.
Will the new 2010 Five still be the sporty choice of exec?
The double wishbone front suspension is mated to a rear multilink set-up, and BMW's optional Drive Dynamic Control chassis system offers Comfort, Sport and Sport+ damper settings. Four-wheel active steering can also be specced, along with a Surround View camera system, a head-up display, night vision with pedestrian recognition, lane departure and lane change warning systems, plus speed limit detection.
Unfortunately, start-stop tech is only available on the manual 520d, and won't be available on the new eight-speed auto until later. Although the electric power steering will reduce fuel consumption, we don't expect it to endow the new 5-series' steering with exceptional feel.
And whereas the current-gen Five features an aluminium front end mated to a steel rear, the new car is all steel. Nevertheless, BMW still claims the new car achieves a 50:50 weight distribution.
>> Click here for BMW's 5-series unveiling live video feed
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What about the styling of the new BMW 5-series?
Apparently, it's styled to match the weight distribution… We see short overhangs, a big set of kidney grilles, a heavily contoured bonnet, strong side creases that make the 5-series look like an E90 3-series, and some rear lights with very pretty detailing.
The new looks hide the longer wheelbase, up from the current Five’s 2888mm to 2968mm. It’s not quite as long between the wheels as the 5 GT (3070mm), but BMW claims it still gives the 5-series the longest wheelbase in its class, and an extra 13mm of rear legroom over the outgoing car. The 520-litre boot remains the same size as the current Five, and thus can't match the Audi A6 (546) or Mercedes E-class (540) in the load lugging stakes.
And inside the new BMW Five?
It’s mainly lifted from the 7-series and 5 GT, and the dash is – wait for it – inclined seven whole degrees towards the driver. There's the same high-res displays hidden behind black panels, and unless you regularly spend time in the latest Seven, you'll be hard pushed to notice the difference between it and the new Five saloon.
Compared to the current car BMW says it's increased the standard spec. So leather, the company's Professional radio, and Bluetooth phone preparation is standard - on a 520d BMW claims that equates to £2230 worth of gear extra, despite a meagre £125 price increase. The 520d gains fully automatic air-con as standard, and six-cylinder cars get ambient lights and a USB interface. A full-length glass roof and 40:20:30 split folding rear seats are options.
Four different equipment packs will be offered on the new BMW 5-series in the UK, with the Dynamic Package catching our eye: it includes 19-inch wheels, sports seats and a sports leather steering wheel.
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And under that heavily contoured bonnet? What powers the new BMW 5-series?
There’s a choice of three diesel and four petrol engines from launch come March 2010. Kicking off the range is the 520d, followed up by a 525d and 530d, while the petrol engine range extends from a 523i, through a 528i and 535i, up to a profligate 550i.
The biggest seller in the UK will be the 520d, with a turbocharged 1995cc four-cylinder engine under the bonnet, and BMW claims it will be the most efficient car in the class thanks in part to stop-start tech being fitted as standard. Both the 525d and 530d will use 3.0-litre straight six engines.
Petrol power comes courtesy of a 523i with a 2.5-litre straight six, a 528i with a 3.0-litre straight six, a 535i with BMW's latest single turbo 3.0-litre engine, and the range-topping twin-turbo 4.4-litre V8 in the 550i. An eight-speed auto is standard on the 550i, and on the other models the auto option is cleaner and more fuel efficient that the manual-equipped cars thanks to the extra cogs. Stop-start tech for the auto will follow later, but paddles will be available with a Sport auto option from the start.
All manual cars also come with a gearshift indicator, and BMW's misleadingly named Brake Energy Regeneration is also standard across the range. All Fives also come with active aero (moveable cooling flaps behind the kidney grille) and low rolling resistance tyres.
Sounds like a typically gadget laden new car. Where's the soul?
Decide for yourself - you can hear the new Five in action in our sound clips (check out the player at the foot of the page), as well as some spiel by the people who created it.
||181bhp @ 4000rpm
||288lb ft @ 1900rpm
||201bhp @ 4000rpm
||349lb ft @ 1750-2500rpm
||242bhp @ 4000rpm
||398lb ft @ 1750rpm
||201bhp @ 6100rpm
||199lb ft @ 1500-4250rpm
||254bhp @ 6600rpm
||229lb ft @ 2600-5000rpm
||443lb ft @ 1750-4500rpm
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