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Upgrades enhance class-leading 5 Series. Image by BMW.

Upgrades enhance class-leading 5 Series
BMW obviously got the 5 Series right first time, so its mid-life freshen up is a subtle exercise.

   



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#02#The 5 Series was a significantly bold step into the mid-size saloon arena when it launched in 2003. While other competitors in the segment were continuing to create conservative cars, the 5 Series was extremely modern and instantly recognisable, and it has aged gracefully since then. BMW has wisely decided to only mildly enhance the saloon and estate derivatives for 2007.

From an aesthetic perspective, only the keen BMW connoisseur will spot the subtle differences in the new, facelifted car. Careful inspection reveals a re-profiled kidney grille (aerodynamically flush with the surfaces of the front bumper), revised headlamps and indicators and a redesigned front air intake that incorporates a horizontal trim bar to highlight the low stance of the car. At the rear, an M5-inspired rear number plate surround, LED tail lamps and horizontal trim lines stretch the rear fascia, while a light reflecting edge on the side sill elongates the profile when viewed from the side.

A total of nine derivatives of the refreshed model will be offered, including four diesel and five petrol-powered models. The diesels include the four-cylinder 520d and six-cylinder 525d, 530d and 535d, while the six-cylinder 523i, 525i and 530i petrol models will be accompanied by the eight-cylinder 540i and 550i. All will be available in both estate and saloon variations with the exception of the 540i, which is only available as a saloon. The range is topped off by the M5 saloon and the new M5 Touring.

The 5 Series interior is inviting, with comfortable, supportive seats and an ergonomic layout. The use of soft-touch materials abound and overall tactility has been enhanced in the facelift. The addition of a new ergonomic gearshift lever for the automatic transmission - first seen on the X5 - has been included and the door panels are finished in a two-tone colour scheme, integrating the window and mirror switches into the horizontal armrests. The notoriously fussy iDrive has newly added shortcuts to make it more user-friendly, with eight freely programmable buttons on the dash allow easier access to commonly used commands. The centre console armrest includes an iPod auxiliary connection, and the tailgate window in Touring models can be opened separately to facilitate loading of smaller items into the 500-litre boot. #p##02# At BMWs launch of the freshened 5 Series range, we sampled the latest incarnation of the 535d Touring in M Sport guise, the very model we tested in 2005. The 3-litre diesel straight-six provides a good deal of grunt at low speeds, while its stiff body structure and aluminium chassis combine to create a car that is both agile and comfortable. Fitted with aspects of BMWs new Efficient Dynamics system, the revisions to the twin-turbo powerplant have both increased power and torque output and improved efficiency by 17 per cent over the outgoing car. The 535d is claimed to produce 282bhp at 4400rpm and generate 428lb.ft of torque between 1750 and 2250rpm - up 14bhp and 15lb.ft over the outgoing model - bringing its Combined Cycle fuel economy up 17.4 per cent to 40.5mpg while emitting 186g/km of CO2 (versus 34.4mpg and 216g/km for the earlier car).

On the road, pressing down your right foot summons a smooth and linear power delivery and the Servotronic steering - the same on-demand system used in the X5 - strikes the right balance for feel at lower speeds whilst adding weight at higher velocities. The sole transmission offering in the 535d is an automatic, but that's no bad thing, as the gearbox is intuitive and precise in its gear selection, proving a delight to drive in traffic and quickly kicking down when necessary to pass slower vehicles on motorways. The new automatic employs upgraded hydraulics, a new torque converter and more powerful software, claimed to enhance response by 50 per cent over the previous (already impressive unit). A new Sports Automatic transmission with steering wheel mounted paddles will become available from June.

With the refined engine, transmission and solid chassis, the 535d M Sport Touring is an agile car. Damping is good; at the front is an aluminium double-joint spring strut front axle with a multi-arm aluminium rear axle that compensates for lateral forces, squat and dive. This set-up keeps the car flat and stable during hard cornering and evasive manoeuvres. The suspension is sufficiently compliant too though, keeping bumps from transferring through the run-flat 245/40 R18 tyres over all but the most severe road imperfections. The cars 348mm front and 345mm rear ventilated discs are powerful too and offer a progressive pedal feel, slowing the vehicle down predictably. #p##05# The 535d M Sport Touring is fitted with various new technology, including a DSC+ stability control system (with brake drying, pre-tensioning and fade compensation), hydraulically controlled engine mounts to minimise vibrations, and a Lane Departure Warning System that emits vibrations through the steering wheel should the driver inadvertently move across lanes without signalling. Other standard features include a head-up display for speed and navigation, an automatic bootlid release that can be activated via remote, front and rear parking sensors and a Thatcham category 1 alarm. Active cruise control with Stop & Go can also be ticked off the options list on the new model and will decrease speed commensurate to the vehicle in front, even slowing the car to a complete stop if needed.

Over the course of our drive, the 535d M Sport Touring returned an impressive 37mpg while delivering generous performance. BMW is keen to point out that the 535d offers better performance, better economy and lower emissions than a Lexus GS450h, reinforcing BMWs stance that it neednt go the hybrid route. Suitably kitted out with Xenon headlamps and V-spoke alloy wheels, the 535d Touring is an elegant way to haul the family (and the family pet) around. While its £42,165 price tag could be an obstacle for some buyers, we reckon it's good value for money given the breadth of capability.
2007 BMW 5 Series range overview

- BMW 520d SE: £27,000
- BMW 523i SE: £28,655
- BMW 520d SE Touring: £29,010
- BMW 520d M Sport: £30,120
- BMW 525i SE: £30,300
- BMW 523i SE Touring: £30,690
- BMW 525d SE: £30,755
- BMW 523i M Sport: £31,775
- BMW 520d M Sport Touring: £32,130
- BMW 525i SE Touring: £32,335
- BMW 525d SE Touring: £32,865
- BMW 525i M Sport: £33,420
- BMW 523i M Sport Touring: £33,810
- BMW 525d M Sport: £33,875
- BMW 530i SE: £34,295
- BMW 530d SE: £34,655
- BMW 525i M Sport Touring: £35,455
- BMW 525d M Sport Touring: £35,985
- BMW 530i SE Touring: £36,375
- BMW 530dSE Touring: £36,710
- BMW 530i M Sport: £37,415
- BMW 530d M Sport: £37,775
- BMW 540i SE: £38,700
- BMW 535d SE: £39,065
- BMW 530i M Sport Touring: £39,495
- BMW 530d M Sport Touring: £39,830
- BMW 535d SE Touring: £41,135
- BMW 540i M Sport: £41,820
- BMW 535d M Sport: £42,185
- BMW 535d M Sport Touring: £44,255
- BMW 550i SE: £45,310
- BMW 550i SE Touring: £47,350
- BMW 550i M Sport: £47,870
- BMW 550i M Sport Touring: £49,910
- BMW M5 Saloon: £64,600
- BMW M5 Touring: £67,075

Eric Gallina - 15 May 2007



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2007 BMW 5 Series specifications: (535d M Sport Touring)
Price: £44,255 on-the-road.
0-62mph: 6.5 seconds
Top speed: 155mph
Combined economy: 40.4mpg
Emissions: 186g/km
Kerb weight: 1835kg

2007 BMW 5 Series Touring. Image by James Jenkins.2007 BMW 5 Series Touring. Image by BMW.2007 BMW 5 Series Touring. Image by BMW.2007 BMW 5 Series Touring. Image by BMW.2007 BMW 5 Series Touring. Image by BMW.

2007 BMW 5 Series Touring. Image by BMW.2007 BMW 5 Series Touring. Image by BMW.2007 BMW 5 Series Touring. Image by BMW.    


2007 BMW 5 Series Touring. Image by BMW.
 

2007 BMW 5 Series Touring. Image by BMW.
 

2007 BMW 5 Series Touring. Image by BMW.
 

2007 BMW 5 Series Touring. Image by BMW.
 

2007 BMW 5 Series Touring. Image by BMW.
 

2007 BMW 5 Series Touring. Image by BMW.
 

2007 BMW 5 Series Touring. Image by BMW.
 

2007 BMW 5 Series Touring. Image by BMW.
 

2007 BMW 5 Series Touring. Image by BMW.
 






 

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