Given the high-level of on-board electronics in the new BMW 5 Series, the Munich manufacturer embarked on an extraordinarily extensive pre-launch testing programme ahead of its US release.

Given the high-level of on-board electronics in the new BMW 5 Series, the Munich manufacturer embarked on an extraordinarily extensive pre-launch testing programme ahead of its US release.

For the new 5 Series, the regular road-testing of five to 10 vehicles was done away with. Five hundred BMW employees, ranging from management to shop floors workers were asked to imagine themselves as BMW customers and report back on anything that bothered them about the cars.

The 500 test vehicles were scrutinised for about four months and while the testing procedure would be repeated for new models, a US-based spokesman admitted that fewer vehicles would be used in future.

Since the level of on-board electronics on the new 5 Series is so high, its presence did cause BMW some concern. It also meant introducing back-up systems for transmitting signals and as there was no industry standard for electronic interfaces, a report said.

The most eagerly anticipated addition to the 5 Series is invariably the heads-up display system (HUD) where vital information like speed is projected onto the windscreen via a projector and a series of mirrors.

BMW SA reports that the system is likely to be the most popular option for buyers and has advised customers to start placing orders from January to avoid the expected rush. The system will cost about R12 000.