Driving on an alpine route near Kitzbuhel in Austria we spotted the next generation BMW 5 Series out testing. The disguised car was parked at the side of the road while the two engineers inside sat checking their laptops. Although disguised it's possible to see the overall shape of the new 5 Series, its front the most dramatic change over the outgoing car. With an extended kidney grille and headlamps (which are certain to feature BMW's now signature eyebrows) sweeping around the front wings the 5's face looks to resemble its Z4 and 7 Series relatives the closest, the bonnet in particular looking similar to the multi-contoured item that features on BMW's latest Z4 Roadster.
The rest of the styling isn't quite so dramatic, with the 5 Series looking
like a large 3 Series in profile. The rear loses the raised boot lid of the existing car, but the bold rear lights remain and dominate the rear styling. Under the skin the new 5 is likely to feature an engine and transmission line-up largely similar to its recently introduced 5 Series Gran Turismo relative, with a lot of emphasis on BMW's emissions and fuel saving EfficientDynamics technology.
Expected to be on sale in 2010 the new 5 Series should debut at a motor show soon, with LA, Detroit and Geneva all possibilities for the new model reveal. M car fans will have to wait though, the flagship performance machine (which is anticipated to bin the naturally aspirated V10 for an updated version of the turbocharged 547bhp 4.4-litre V8 that features in the X5/X6 M models) is not due to reach showrooms until 2011.
Kyle Fortune - 14 Oct 2009