The new head-up colour display that will be an option on the 5 Series from next year will show driver information in a hologram style, floating over the bonnet.

The new head-up colour display that will be an option on the 5 Series from next year will show driver information in a hologram style, floating over the bonnet.

According to , instrument readouts will be displayed on the windscreen, but the driver will see them two metres away, directly in his line of vision.

The system, made by Siemens VDO Automotive, will be available early next year in left-hand markets and in the second quarter in right-hand markets.

An illumination unit is the light source and the transmitted white light is diverted by a reflector. The display works through a system of mirrors. Rays of light travel through to the windscreen across the mirrors that compensate for the curve in the windscreen.

The colour images are then projected on to the windscreen. One of the mirrors can be adjusted to suit the driver’s seating position.

According to Siemens, this style of display gives the driver more time to read the information. The company said it calculated the average driver needed about one second to read information from the normal instrument display, while with this style of display half that time was needed.

Meanwhile, BMW is counting on a good response to the new 5 Series, which went on sale in July in Europe. "This is a very important car for BMW," said Michael Ganal, BMW board member for sales and marketing. "We don't disclose the profitability of our models, but this much I can say: The 5 Series contributes more than a quarter of our profits."

According to , BMW sold 700 000 units of the first generation of the 5 Series, 710 000 of the second generation and 1,4 million units of the third generation. The fourth generation, which has just been replaced, is expected to have total sales of around 1,5 million.

"Whether we can continue in this manner and double sales over the production cycle of the new model, I wouldn't dare to predict," Ganal said. "But for sure we want to sell more of the new 5 Series than we did of the current one."