Automotive

BMW puts self-driving in the spotlight with new 5 Series

BMW puts self-driving in the s...
The seventh-generation BMW 5 Series will go into battle with the Audi A6 and Mercedes E-Class
The seventh-generation BMW 5 Series will go into battle with the Audi A6 and Mercedes E-Class
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The new BMW 5 Series is loaded with self-driving smarts
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The new BMW 5 Series is loaded with self-driving smarts
The BMW 5 Series takes an evolutionary approach to styling
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The BMW 5 Series takes an evolutionary approach to styling
Big wheels definitely make a difference on the BMW 5 Series
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Big wheels definitely make a difference on the BMW 5 Series
The 540i will be available from launch
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The 540i will be available from launch
Two new BMW 5 Series models side-by-side
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Two new BMW 5 Series models side-by-side
The BMW 5 Series is built on a new architecture
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The BMW 5 Series is built on a new architecture
The base of the BMW 5 Series is lighter and stiffer than before
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The base of the BMW 5 Series is lighter and stiffer than before
The new BMW 5 Series looks similar to its predecessor
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The new BMW 5 Series looks similar to its predecessor
Three engines will be available when the BMW 5 Series launches in February 2017
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Three engines will be available when the BMW 5 Series launches in February 2017
Radar cruise control helps the BMW 5 Series compete with the new Mercedes E-Class
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Radar cruise control helps the BMW 5 Series compete with the new Mercedes E-Class
The new BMW 5 Series is fitter and faster than before
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The new BMW 5 Series is fitter and faster than before
BMW will offer a hybrid model in the new 5 Series lineup
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BMW will offer a hybrid model in the new 5 Series lineup
From the front, there's no question the new 5 Series is a BMW
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From the front, there's no question the new 5 Series is a BMW
The BMW 5 Series has been designed to feel like a miniature 7 Series
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The BMW 5 Series has been designed to feel like a miniature 7 Series
The 5 Series looks almost identical to its predecessor from behind
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The 5 Series looks almost identical to its predecessor from behind
The BMW 5 Series has been designed to feel like a miniature 7 Series
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The BMW 5 Series has been designed to feel like a miniature 7 Series
The new BMW 5 Series is more efficient than the car it replaces thanks to smart aerodynamics
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The new BMW 5 Series is more efficient than the car it replaces thanks to smart aerodynamics
The new BMW 5 Series is built on the CLAR architecture
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The new BMW 5 Series is built on the CLAR architecture
The seventh-generation BMW 5 Series will go into battle with the Audi A6 and Mercedes E-Class
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The seventh-generation BMW 5 Series will go into battle with the Audi A6 and Mercedes E-Class
The new BMW 5 Series will hit the market in February 2017
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The new BMW 5 Series will hit the market in February 2017
The BMW 5 Series cabin is like a shrunken 7 Series
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The BMW 5 Series cabin is like a shrunken 7 Series
Adaptive cruise control can be controlled through the steering wheel on the new BMW 5 Series
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Adaptive cruise control can be controlled through the steering wheel on the new BMW 5 Series
The steering wheel of the BMW 5 Series
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The steering wheel of the BMW 5 Series
BMW has refreshed the instrument binnacle of the 5 Series
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BMW has refreshed the instrument binnacle of the 5 Series
Rear seat passengers get a better deal in the new BMW 5 Series
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Rear seat passengers get a better deal in the new BMW 5 Series
Gesture control has been borrowed from the 7 Series for the BMW 5 Series
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Gesture control has been borrowed from the 7 Series for the BMW 5 Series
The iDrive infotainment system can be controlled by touch or twist in the BMW 5 Series
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The iDrive infotainment system can be controlled by touch or twist in the BMW 5 Series
The widescreen touchscreen controls proceedings in the BMW 5 Series
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The widescreen touchscreen controls proceedings in the BMW 5 Series
BMW has upgraded the 5 Series cabin to meet the challenge from Audi and Mercedes
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BMW has upgraded the 5 Series cabin to meet the challenge from Audi and Mercedes
The improved quality in the BMW 5 Series stretches to the back seat as well
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The improved quality in the BMW 5 Series stretches to the back seat as well
Bootspace in the new BMW 5 Series
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Bootspace in the new BMW 5 Series
The rear seats in the BMW 5 Series are wider and more comfortable than before
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The rear seats in the BMW 5 Series are wider and more comfortable than before
The new BMW M550i has 650 Nm of torque on tap
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The new BMW M550i has 650 Nm of torque on tap
The BMW M550i will be on the market in March 2017
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The BMW M550i will be on the market in March 2017
The BMW M550i is the range topper until the new M5 arrives
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The BMW M550i is the range topper until the new M5 arrives
Under the hood of the BMW M550i
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Under the hood of the BMW M550i
BMW is offering a hybrid 5 Series
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BMW is offering a hybrid 5 Series
The 530e will hit the market in February 2017
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The 530e will hit the market in February 2017
There's 45 km of all-electric range on offer in the 530e
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There's 45 km of all-electric range on offer in the 530e
The BMW 530e iPerformance 
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The BMW 530e iPerformance 
In its most efficient form, the BMW 5 Series has a drag coefficient of 0.22
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In its most efficient form, the BMW 5 Series has a drag coefficient of 0.22
The 520d uses small wheels for low rolling resistance 
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The 520d uses small wheels for low rolling resistance 
The new BMW 5 Series being built
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The new BMW 5 Series being built
A look at the new BMW 5 Series on the production line 
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A look at the new BMW 5 Series on the production line 
BMW puts the 5 Series through its paces
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BMW puts the 5 Series through its paces
The BMW 5 Series gets its paintjob
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The BMW 5 Series gets its paintjob
Under the skin of the BMW 530e
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Under the skin of the BMW 530e
A closer look at the BMW 530e
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A closer look at the BMW 530e
What's driving the BMW 530e
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What's driving the BMW 530e
A look at BMW xDrive
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A look at BMW xDrive

As autonomous driving creeps closer, manufacturers seem to be trying to cram as much self-driving tech into their cars as possible. Though Tesla Model S has caused problems by pushing the boundaries, Mercedes has used the E-Class to show exactly what current radar-guided systems can do. Now, BMW has unveiled its seventh-generation 5 Series, loaded to the gills with semi-autonomous driving systems to make life easier for the driver.

There's a lot more to the 5 Series than just a set of radar-driven cruise control systems – it's a brand-new car under the skin, after all – but that's where we're going to start. Along with the basic lane-keeping assist and cross traffic alerts, which are now standard fitment on low-end hatchbacks, the new BMW midsizer will take care of acceleration, steering and braking up to 210 km/h (130 mph).

Using a camera mounted on the front, the system will also automatically adapt to changing speed limits, although drivers can force the car to push 15 km/h (9 mph) above it if they want. Just don't blame BMW when those speeding tickets start rolling in.

All this self-driving hardware is built on top of a brand new platform, which has contributed to a 100 kg (220 lb) weight saving. The new Cluster Architecture (CLAR) also makes the new 5 Series stiffer than before, which will help with safety and handling.

The 5 Series looks almost identical to its predecessor from behind
The 5 Series looks almost identical to its predecessor from behind

One of the areas in serious need of improvement was the outgoing car's interior. Although it was on the cutting edge when the sixth-generation 5 Series launched back in 2010, Mercedes and Audi have moved the game forward considerably since then, and the latest generation car has been totally overhauled to match them.

Although it doesn't look quite as flashy as some Mercedes cabins, BMW has essentially made the seventh-generation 5 Series look like a shrunken 7 Series inside.

The new car's interior should be much smoother and quieter than the one it replaces. Special windshield glazing and a redesigned engine bay work to keep the driver isolated from any unpleasant vibrations and sounds, as does a redesigned headliner.

The 10.25 inch central touchscreen and infotainment system can be controlled using the latest generation iDrive touch/twist controller. Smartphone users can charge the battery wirelessly, and a gesture control system allows drivers to change audio volume and answer calls with a swipe of the finger.

Gesture control has been borrowed from the 7 Series for the BMW 5 Series
Gesture control has been borrowed from the 7 Series for the BMW 5 Series

Under the hood, you'll find a range of more powerful and efficient turbo engines. When the car launches in February 2017, the set of petrol motors will kick off with the 530i putting out 185 kW (252 hp) of power and a useful 350 Nm (258 lb.ft) of torque. Those after more power can stretch to the 540i, with an extra 65 kW (87 hp) of power and 100 Nm (74 lb.ft) of torque on tap. Diesel will be represented by the 520d, which pumps out 140 kW (190 hp) and 400 Nm (295 lb.ft) of torque.

The initial launch set of engines will be joined by four more in March, headlined by the V8M550i xDrive making 340 kW (462 hp) and 650 Nm (479 lb.ft) of torque. A 530e iPerformance hybrid will also be offered, with an all-electric range of 45 km (28 mi) from its compact electric motor. All these engines are more efficient than the ones they replace, thanks in part to the new car's improved aerodynamic efficiency. In its most aerodynamic trim, the new 5 Series has a drag coefficient of just 0.22.

A look at the new BMW 5 Series on the production line 
A look at the new BMW 5 Series on the production line 

All models will be available with an eight-speed automatic gearbox, and all-wheel drive is available on all models except the base level diesel and the hybrid. Along with better grip, all-wheel drive brings with it rear-wheel steering which turns in the opposite direction to the front wheels at low speed, and in the same direction for greater stability at high speed.

The new 5 Series will make its market debut on February 11 2017. Pricing has yet to be announced.

You can check out a launch film of the car below.

The all-new BMW 5 Series. Official Launch Film.

Source: BMW

3 comments
ARocketScientist
It can even wirelessly charge your iPhone? Wow...
Fairly Reasoner
Damn. I thought it was going to be about BMW deciding I could drive my car MYSELF.
Jason Pase
"Though Tesla Model S has caused problems by pushing the boundaries..." Correction: Tesla is the industry leader AND innovator when it comes to self-driving technology. You can't make a self-driving omelette without breaking a few skulls. The few unfortunate fatalities still prove statistically that Tesla builds the safest cars in the world. P.S. 150 people died last year from falling coconuts. Should we ban coconut trees ?