2014 BMW 5 Series First Drive By Henny Hemmes
By Henny Hemmes
Senior European Editor
The Auto Channel
MUNICH, July 4, 2013. After the earlier announcement of the upcoming subtle facelift for the 2014 BMW 5 Series , the 2014 model was ready for test drives last week and will soon be on the markets worldwide.
BMW has been aware of the critical comments on the somewhat bulky looking rear of the GT. They took it serious and focused on a more dynamic design for the update in the middle of the 5 Series life cycle.
The changes also resulted in a larger luggage compartment, that now takes 500 liter/17.7 cu-ft., which is 60 liter/2.1 cu-ft more than the current model. By sliding the rear seats forward by the 73 mm/2.87 in., the boot capacity grows to 650 l / 23 cu-ft. With the backrests down, the GT has a maximum of 1,700 l / 60 cu-ft. of load capacity.
The GT and the Touring models have automatic tailgate operation, which is an option for the Sedan. But even more practical is the comfort access, an optional feature on all three models, that opens and - now also - closes the tailgate by a movement of your foot under the rear apron.
The improved electric power steering feels precise, but to feel the difference with the current 5 Series, I would have to drive them one by one on the same route. Dynamic Damper Control is available as an option. It adapts electronically to the driving style and the condition of the road, while the Adaptive Drive system includes active roll stabilization by means of electronically controlled anti-roll bars that help reduce body roll in quick corners or sudden lane changes. The lower M Sport suspension is also optional.
BMW has expanded the Connected Drive possibilities, meaning that there are more driver assistance systems and a lot of possibilities for connectivity. BMW has also put a lot of work to update the infotainment system, that now offers personalized music on demand and real time traffic information.
Honestly, I am worried about all the possibilities that we as drivers get with the new technology. Driver distraction is the word here. Long ago, I realized I missed which cars I passed when I was on the phone, even for a short while and in hands-free mode. Therefore, I never make a call, not to speak about looking ad the display for anything like music or texts. And incoming calls I answer only with “I will call you back in X minutes, when I am out of the car.”
My Australian colleague Michael Taylor even told me that in his country, you cannot do any thing in that respect, unless the handbrake is engaged.
Ehh… when pulling the handbrake in order to get the car into a controlled drift, I surely will have no time to look at the display!
That said, the head up display in the 5 Series no includes full-color and also project phone contacts and entertainment program listing into the wind screen. In any case HUD will keep drivers’ eyes focused on the road, but not for everything.
There is also other technology, such as pedestrian detection with spot light function, a traffic jam assistant and parking assistant. This debuted in the 7 Series and now finds its way to the 5 Series.
The bi xenon headlights are standard on all models and adaptive LED headlights are on the option list as well as LED fog lamps.
You hardly hear the engine and are more focused on the premium feel inside the cabin. Admitted, such a model is a conscious choice and people who fall for the GT will love its drivin qualities, the well executed cockpit and the possibility to take quite some luggage on the trip.
The Sedan and Touring get a new base model, the 518d. Its 2.0-liter diesel engine has 143 hp and 360 Nm(266 lb-ft) of torque. The diesel engine uses only 4.5 l/100 km, which is the equivalent of 62.8 mpg imp in the European cycle.
New for the US will be the availability of a diesel engine. It will power the 535d with 254 hp and 414 lb-ft of torque. This model will also be available with xDrive. On the high end of the motorization, there is more power for the 550i. The 4.4-liter v8 now has Valvetronic and a twin-scroll turbo, resulting in 450 hp and 650 Nm/(79 lb-ft), while fuel consumption is down to 8,6 l/100 km(32.9 mph) imp, which is 17 per cent less than of the outgoing power plant.
All-wheel drive will now also be available for the 520 Touring and Sedan, while all models of the GT can be ordered with xDrive, except for the 520d.
The 2013 5 Series will be available in Modern and Luxury Line and with the M Sport Package from July 20 in Germany, The Netherlands and Austria and a week later in the other European countries. Russian dealerships get the 2014 5 Series on August 3, but North America and Asia will have to wait until September, and Japan and Korea until the beginning of October.
In the US, the 2014 BMW 5 Series Sedan starts at $50,425, including $925 destination charge. This is a $1,700 dollar increase over the base 2014 model, but nearly $1,000 less than the Mercedes E350 Sedan.
The price of the ActiveHybrid 5 of $62,325 (including shipping) has not changed.