The BMW 5-Series has undergone a number of subtle changes to its styling and specification for it’s 2007 model year, as well as some performance-enhancing revisions to two of its six-cylinder engines.The new model’s exterior touches are barely perceptible, but give the car a more honed appearance. For example, the headlights now feature transparent glass covering the indicators, and chrome headlight surrounds. The edges of the signature double kidney grille now sit flush with the surfaces on the front air dam, while the air intake sweeps up at the side to echo the contours of the headlights.
The flanks benefit from an additional light contour along the side-sills and the rear lights also get the clear glass treatment and now feature LED indicators.
The interior has undergone a similar evolution with high gloss chrome, soft-touch rubber finishes on many major controls, more practical storage compartments in the doors, clean two-tone trim and additional padding on the armrests and centre console placing an emphasis on comfort and quality
The most striking difference in the cabin is the inclusion of an electrical gear selector similar to that seen in the new X5. The company’s iDrive module has also undergone some revisions to make it more intuitive; including new interface graphics and the inclusion of eight buttons that can be programmed to the user’s favourite functions.
Under the bonnet, the 4,8-litre V8 in the 550i, the 2,5-litre straight-six in the 525i and 3,0-litre turbodiesel in the 530d remain unchanged from the previous model. The changes come in with revisions to two of the straight-six units; the 2,5-litre in the 523i and the 3,0-litre in the 530i.
The 530i’s 3,0-litre straight-six now develops a 10 kW more power than its predecessor with an output of 200 kW. The maximum torque has also taken a hike from 300 N.m to 315 N.m. This equates to the 0-100 km/h sprint taking a claimed 6,3 seconds on the way to a electronically limited to 250 km/h top speed.
The 2,5-litre six-cylinder power unit in the 523i also increases its power output by 10 kW to 140 kW, while torque climbs 5 N.m to 235 N.m over that of its predecessor. This means 0-100 km/h in 8,3 seconds, a top speed of 237 km/h and fuel consumption that remains unchanged at 8,5 l/100 km.
All of these powerplants are mated with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, but can be specified with the company’s six-speed Steptronic transmission that, according to BMW can initiate shifts 40 percent faster than the previous model’s automatic gearbox.
The new 5-Series also offers a wide range of innovations in terms of driver assistance and comfort features such as, Active Steering – a speed sensitive steering system that dictates steering feel according to driving conditions, DSC with additional functions to improve barking and stability, BMW Night Vision integrating a head-up display and high beam assistant that automatically switches to low beam when oncoming traffic is detected, a high-end sound system with iPod compatibility, Active Cruise Control with a Stop & Go function as well as Lane Change Warning.
Prices for the new 5-Series in standard specification are as follows:
523i 6-speed Manual R 373 500
523i 6-speed Steptronic Automatic R 388 800
525i 6-speed Manual R 421 000
525i 6-speed Steptronic Automatic R 436 300
530i 6-speed Manual R 491 000
530i 6-speed Steptronic Automatic R 506 300
530d 6-speed Manual R 495 500
530d 6-speed Steptronic Automatic R 510 800
550i 6-speed Manual R 647 000