The obvious Chris Bangle styling on the BMW 7-Series has been toned down for the new 5-Series, due in South Africa later this year, but will it be enough to compete with the E-Class?

The obvious Chris Bangle styling on the 7-Series has been toned down for the new 5-Series, due in South Africa later this year, but will it be enough to compete with the E-Class?

The new vehicles, due in Europe in July, will have 2,0-litre petrol and 3,0-litre petrol and diesel engines at launch. They will be followed by the 2,5-litre 525i and the 4,4-litre V8 545i later in the year. All engines come with either a six-speed manual gearbox or a five-speed Steptronic automatic.

The 520i produces 125 kW and 210 N.m of torque, the 530i 170 kW and 300 N.m, while the 530d has figures of 160 kW and 500 N.m.

A BMW SA spokesman said that initially just the 530i and 530d will be introduced in South Africa with the other models, 525i and 545i, following later.

The front section of the car and all suspension parts are now aluminium, which means the vehicle will be 65 kg lighter than the current model. It comes with second-generation iDrive technology, adaptive headlights and Brake Force Display with the availability of Active Steering, Dynamic Drive Control and Active Cruise Control.

The muscular front end features dramatic curved headlights that wrap around the bonnet and the car looks more coupé-like than any other large executive car.

As well as more interior space, front and rear, and a far larger boot than the current model, the new 5-Series features a modern and dramatic cockpit area of clean lines and clear surfaces. These design cues are based around a second generation iDrive system that is now placed adjacent to the gearstick in the central console.

The lines from this console flow into the dashboard.

There is also new automatic adaptive air conditioning, which maintains humidity within the car that counteracts the normal drying effect of traditional air-conditioning units. This will be standard equipment on all models.

BMW said that rather than developing pure drive-by-wire systems that can isolate the driver from the road, the manufacturer has gone with Active Steering (AFS) that maintains a mechanical link between the front wheels and the steering wheel, and retains an “authentic” steering feel for the driver. This is optional on the vehicles.

The manufacturer said AFS varies the steering transmission ratio electronically in direct relation to the style and speed of driving and road conditions. Under normal road conditions at low and medium speeds, the steering becomes more direct, requiring less steering effort of the driver (i.e. turns of the steering wheel), increasing the car’s agility in, say, city traffic or when parking. At high speeds the steering becomes less direct offering improved directional stability. When cornering at high speeds, or when undertaking sudden movements, the steering stiffens up by monitoring increases in the yaw rate.

The system is networked to the Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) electronic driver aid and reduces DSC interventions.

The optional adaptive bi-xenon headlights swivel by up to 15 degrees left and right depending on the car’s steering angle, yaw rate and road speed in order to illuminate more of the road ahead when driving through a bend. Brake Force Display enlarges the brake light area when the driver brakes sharply.

The new 5-Series will also feature the option of a head-up display in future models, which presents vital information relevant to the driver directly on the windscreen in his/her line of vision. The driver can select what information is displayed (road speed or navigation instructions, for example) and never has to take his/her eyes off the road. BMW said this information is displayed in a way that does not impinge on visibility.

The Active Cruise Control will be optional from 2004. It was introduced on the new 7-Series and is a radar-based system that automatically controls the distance to the car in front. The driver selects a comfortable distance to cruise behind other vehicles and the system automatically cuts power if that distance is infringed. Cruise control is still engaged, however, and as soon as the selected distance is available again, the car automatically speeds up to the desired cruising speed.

What do you think?

Original article from Car