Wednesday, 26 October 2011

2011 BMW 5-series

2011 BMW 5-series The 2011 BMW 5 Series appears with an all-new look, more power, an eight-speed automatic transmission and a larger body that makes you

2011 BMW 5-series
 2011 BMW 5-series
2011 BMW 5-series

2011 BMW 5-series
Series. With the longest wheelbase in the segment, the new 5 Series boasts a host of 2011 BMW 5-series
2011 BMW 5-series

2011 BMW 5-series

2011 BMW 5-series

2011 BMW 5-series

2011 BMW 5-series
  BMW has just revealed the first official details of its all-new 2011 BMW 5
The 2011 BMW 5 Series has been completely redesigned. Highlights include less adventurous styling than in years past, more powerful engines and new technology features. The wagon model has been discontinued. All-wheel drive is not available currently but will return later in the model year.
Few models have sustained such a high level of excellence as the BMW 5 Series. Over the course of five generations, the 5 has consistently been one of the best automobiles you could buy, period. Now it's time for generation six to take its place in the automotive world in the form of the 2011 BMW 5 Series.

This new 5 certainly has a tough act to follow, however, particularly in regards to styling. The last generation represented a radical change to the 5 Series' previous evolutionary look, sporting curves and flourishes that attracted some buyers but repulsed others. For better or worse, the 2011 5 Series returns to a more conservative appearance, one that shows a stronger family resemblance to other BMW sedans. Though it may lack its predecessor's visual extravagance, the new 5 remains a very attractive sedan (the wagon has been discontinued for the United States).

It's also been given a full shot of adrenaline. The base 528i's 3.0-liter straight-6 is up by 10 horsepower to 240 hp. The 535i's turbocharged 3.0-liter straight-6 is unchanged in terms of output, but a switch to a new turbocharger design has improved low-end torque and fuel economy. The prize for the biggest punch goes to the 550i; this year it gets the same 400-hp 4.4-liter turbo V8 as the 7 Series. BMW has also introduced a new eight-speed automatic transmission that boosts fuel economy and acceleration compared to last year's six-speed auto. Notably, a manual transmission is still available on all models.

As the 2011 550i is about 300 pounds heavier than last year's model, the extra power will certainly be put to use. Part of that weight gain is due to the car's increased size, as it's now both longer and wider. Mechanically, it has a lot in common with the 7 Series and features the 7's new multilink front suspension and a new electric-assist steering rack. New feature highlights include the latest (and greatly improved) iDrive system, an automated parallel parking system, a head-up display, top-view and sideview cameras and a blind-spot monitoring system.

Taken as a whole, a lot of good things have happened for the latest 5 Series. If there's a downside, it's likely that the larger size has moved the 5 off of its previous Goldilocks slot of being the "just right" choice between the smaller 3 Series and bigger 7. On tight roads especially, the car's larger size and 2-ton curb weight can seem a bit too much for a midsize sedan. This aside, however, the latest 5 is utterly brilliant. Sportier than the Mercedes E-Class, cleaner-looking inside than an Audi A6 and roomier than a Jaguar XF, the 2011 BMW 5 Series continues to be one of the best vehicles you can drive, period.
The 2011 BMW 5 Series sedan is offered with three available engines that correspond to three trim levels: 528i, 535i and 550i. The 535i and 550i are also offered as "xDrive" all-wheel-drive variants.

The 528i comes standard with 17-inch wheels, rain-sensing wipers, a sunroof and power and heated side mirrors. On the inside you'll find leatherette upholstery, eight-way power front seats, driver memory functions, dual-zone automatic climate control, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, the iDrive control interface, Bluetooth, BMW Assist emergency telematics and a 12-speaker CD audio system with HD radio.

The 535i is equipped in a similar fashion but includes 18-inch wheels and adaptive xenon headlights. The 550i adds leather upholstery, upgraded front seats, parking sensors, auto-dimming mirrors, interior ambience lighting and a hard-drive-based navigation system with voice controls and real-time traffic. These features are optional on the 528i and 535i.

Opting for the Dynamic Handling package equips the 5 Series with an adaptive suspension. Required for this package is the Sport package, which includes 19-inch wheels, performance tires, special exterior trim and the 14-way multicontour front seats.

Other major options, which may or may not be grouped into other packages, include keyless ignition/entry, a night-vision camera, automatic high-beam headlights, active cruise control, active four-wheel steering (535i and 550i), an automatic parallel-parking system, sideview and top-view cameras, a rearview camera, a premium audio system, an iPod/USB adapter, satellite radio, a rear sunshade, heated and ventilated front seats, rear climate control, a rear-seat entertainment system, a head-up display, a heated steering wheel and smartphone integration.
The entry-level 528i comes with a 3.0-liter straight-6 engine that's rated at 240 hp and 230 pound feet of torque. Going with the 535i gets you a turbocharged variant of that engine that cranks out 300 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque. The 550i has a turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 that produces 400 hp and 450 lb-ft of torque. Rear-wheel drive is standard, with xDrive all-wheel drive being optional on the 535i and 550i.

Power is directed through either a standard six-speed manual transmission or an optional eight-speed automatic with manual-shift control. The 528i, 535i xDrive and 550i xDrive only come with the automatic. A sport version of the automatic (it can make quicker shifts and comes with shift paddles on the steering wheel) is also optional.

In Edmunds testing, a 535i with the automatic accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 5.9 seconds; that's slower than last year's 535i but still respectable for the segment. EPA-estimated fuel economy is above average for the class. The 528i earns 22 mpg city/32 mpg highway and 25 mpg combined. The automatic-equipped 535i checks in at 20/30/24 mpg, and the automatic 550i is still respectable at 17/25/20 mpg. All-wheel-drive versions of the 535i and 550i drop by about 1 mpg across the board. Standard safety equipment for the 2011 BMW 5 Series includes stability and traction control, antilock disc brakes, front-seat side airbags, side curtain airbags, active front head restraints and the BMW Assist emergency communications system. The stability control system integrates several features designed to improve braking performance, such as periodically wiping the brake rotors dry in wet conditions and automatically snugging the brake pads to the rotors when the driver abruptly lifts off the throttle.

When equipped with active cruise control, the 5 Series also comes with a pre-collision system that can warn the driver of the possibility of rear-ending a vehicle ahead. If a collision is imminent, it can also automatically apply the brakes.

The available lane-departure warning system alerts the driver via vibrations in the steering wheel if the car starts to veer out of its lane; the same sensation is felt for the available blind-spot monitor, which also utilizes side-mirror indicators when other vehicles move into the BMW's blind spots. A night-vision system is capable of displaying possible hazards that are otherwise out of regular headlight range.

In the government's new and more stringent 2011 crash tests, the 2011 BMW 5 Series earned a top five-star rating for overall performance, with four out of five stars being given for front-impact protection and five stars for side-impact protection. In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety testing, the 5 Series earned a top rating of "Good" in both frontal-offset and side-impact crash tests.
Both drivers and passengers will be quite pleased with the 5 Series' cabin. There's nothing particularly fancy going on, but the overall look of the dash is clean thanks to the standard iDrive interface that eliminates the need for a gaggle of buttons. The layout is quite similar to that of the 7 Series, with a center display screen and a configurable display in the gauge cluster. The iDrive controller, thanks to the new physical buttons and menu structure, is pretty easy to figure out and provides a large amount of customization of the car's features. Opting for the navigation system is recommended, as its screen is larger and much better looking than the standard center display.

The front seats are quite comfortable, with the optional multicontour seats in particular providing an impressive amount of adjustability. In back, there's enough room for a pair of 6-foot adults to be comfortable, and the backseat is nicely contoured and padded. The trunk, at 14 cubic feet of luggage capacity, is smaller than average for this segment.
It wasn't too long ago that the high-performance M5 was throwing down 400 hp. Now you get that (plus a lot more torque) out of the latest 550i, which accelerates as quickly as a V8 sport coupe but without the pretentious bombast. Choosing the 300-hp 535i or even the less potent 528i is hardly like sitting in the cheap seats; most people will be more than satisfied with their power and fuel economy. With any engine choice, the new eight-speed automatic works exceptionally well, even when multi-gear downshifts are performed. We're happy that BMW continues to offer a manual transmission, though this choice is obviously meant for driving enthusiasts only.

If equipped with the optional adaptive suspension and active steering, the 2011 BMW 5 Series does an excellent job of providing both a comfortable ride and capable handling. The steering feel isn't as lively as what you'll get out of, say, a 3 Series, but the new electric-assist rack is still precise. On a curving road, the 5 is confidence-inspiring and unflappable. However, when the road tightens up, the car's larger size and 2-ton curb weight can make it seem a bit bulky, especially if you're driving a 5 without the adaptive suspension and steering.
Since the first Neue Klasse 5 Series debuted in the 1970s, the original greenhouse look has progressed through a series of elegant, well-proportioned sedans until previous design boss Chris Bangle got hold of the power levers in the late ’90s. Bangle is best known for implementing a protruding trunk, a feature dubbed the “Bangle Butt" that was critically panned but soon copied by other carmakers, including Lexus. Now his successor, Adrian van Hooydonk, has restored some sanity and balance to the new model. The body employs swage lines and undercuts to reduce the visual weight, while the kidney grille was stretched out and moved lower to increase the visual width. At over 16 feet long, the new car is 1.5 inches longer than the old, but as the wheelbase has been pulled out by 3 inches, the new model looks, if anything, more compact.

Inside, the cabin has been updated but is still a model of sober craftsmanship with precise surface changes and beautiful proportions. The seats are comfy but with a surprising amount of side support, and there’s more than enough room for four adults and their luggage. The rear seat back flips down to fit skis, or, for antiques dealers, grandfather clocks.

There are seven engines to choose from at launch; four gas and two turbodiesels. America’s choices, however, will be more restricted. BMW is still examining the results of its toe-in-the-water exercise with two turbodiesel cars presently on sale and it isn’t planning on increasing its U.S. population of oilburners anytime soon—so no diesel 5 Series just yet. The top U.S. model will be the 550i with a 400-hp 450 lb-ft 4.4-liter turbocharged V8 with a new eight-speed automatic transmission. There follows the 335i, a 3.0-liter 300-hp 300 lb-ft, turbocharged straight Six. The 528i is the poverty-spec model, with a naturally aspirated six-cylinder with 240 hp. The sixes have a choice of a six-speed manual transmission or the eight-speed auto. Fuel economy for the six-cylinder models should near 30 mpg on the highway.

The suspension uses upper and lower control arms up front with a multilink independent rear. As usual with BMW there is a plethora of technology, including self-parking, active steering, active damping, intelligent alternator charging, a head-up information display and a modified and improved version of iDrive, BMW’s controversial single rotary control for selecting climate, entertainment and chassis options.

Read more: 2011 BMW 5 Series Test Drive - Road Test in BMW 5 Series Sport Sedan - Popular Mechanics

We drove the 535i first. The engine idled quietly but nicely snarled when we blipped the throttle. Once rolling, we learned that the new auto gearbox is hugely competent with taut-but-refined gear changes and instant responses from the shifting paddles behind the steering wheel. The motor is just as you’d expect, ready to answer any call with a wailing beat that valiantly climbs up the tach to the redline and beyond if it gets half a chance.

There are four adjustable shock modes in the optional dynamic-driving mode software; Comfort, Normal, Sport and Sport Plus. The outer extremes are either too soft or too hard, though the Sport Plus mode changes the stability-control system’s intervention, allowing enthusiastic drivers a little more slip before stepping in.

While 6 feet across is hardly huge by American standards, the new 5 Series feels like a big car, and it doesn’t shrink around you as you speed up. You can’t see the corners of the bodywork and that makes it hard to place when you first drive it. When equipped with the standard suspension, there’s a ponderous feeling to the car, and a slight reluctance to change direction. It’s rides terrifically, however, and grip levels are more than adequate, but for the first time we can remember, we have a BMW sedan that feels somewhat divorced from the road.

Then we stepped into a fully loaded car, with a boatload of computer-controlled chassis aids. Electronics manage the relationship between the adjustable shocks (known as Dynamic Damper Control) , antiroll bars, variable steering ratio and stability control. Remember that divorced feeling? Well, it was suddenly nowhere in sight, and we felt superb communication between driver and machine. The nose turned in with alacrity and the shocks coped with anything we could throw at them; the chassis balance and control provide an object lesson to rivals. The conservative looking 5 Series hauls out of turns with a slightly mysterious grin that indicates we’ve been having fun together

When the F10 5 Series sedan comes to North America in June 2010, the first two setups will be the gas-slaking marquee cars, the 2011 BMW 535i with its 302-horsepower turbocharged direct-injected 3.0-liter inline-6 with intake-side Valvetronic, and the 2011 BMW 550i with its recently developed, 402-hp twin-turbo direct-injected 4.4-liter V8.

Meanwhile, North American BMW reps also tell us that "pricing still hasn't been finalized, but we may see little or no price hike at all on the 535i." Ahh, yes, there are some bright sides to a Great Recession and total market collapse, aren't there? So, that theoretically would still be $51,100 for the 2011 BMW 535i with its optional eight-speed automatic transmission. If all true, wow.

For the 2011 BMW 550i, the ZF-built eight-speed is standard equipment and it comes attached to the TwinPower turbo V8 that replaces the last-gen car's 362-hp 4.8-liter naturally aspirated unit, and following the 8.6 percent price hike promised in Germany, we're looking at $65,600, more or less. Comparing the power and fuel usage between the current 550i's 4.8-liter V8 and new twin-turbo 4.4-liter, horsepower is up by 11 percent while fuel use drops by 5 percent. Acceleration to 60 mph for the 550i is pretty much as it was before at just under 5 seconds, and top speed on all cars in North America is limited to 130 mph, extendable up to 150 mph with the Sport package.

Once again BMW will be the only manufacturer in this segment to offer a manual transmission, so buyers of the 2011 BMW 535i can choose a newly designed, dry-sump six-speed manual, but so far this has represented just over 5 percent of 5 Series buyers in North America

Versus the E60 generation of the 5 Series, the new car's dimensions are almost all bigger, of course. The F10's overall length of 192.9 inches is up by 2.3 inches, while width is increased by half an inch and the height actually comes down just a wee bit. The new 5's wheelbase is the longest in this market segment at 116.9 inches, or 3.2 inches greater than the current car. The well-haunched wheel arches tell no lies either, as the front track is up by 1.7 inches at 63.0 inches total, and the rear is now at 64.1 inches for an increase of 1.8 inches.

Though the hood, front fender and door panels are all aluminum to save weight (the doors alone purportedly saving 51 pounds versus steel), the 550i takes on 375 pounds by our math and BMW's specifications sheet, weighing in at 4,035 pounds at the curb with no passengers. This is the price to pay for larger cars where many items on the chassis must grow to fit, plus the standard eight-speed automatic adds weight over the outgoing six-speed unit. As 5 Series Project Director Josef Wüst tells us, "It is easy to track down weight issues and comment, yes, but we were focused on efficiencies and improved structural issues."

Aesthetically we like what we see, as this new 5 Series falls visually between the current 3 and 7 Series. Is it too soft-edged in the front, or just finally all cleaned up? You decide. The visual tricks to make it seem more imposing — bigger, wider triple intakes at the chin, liberal use of horizontal lines front and back, stretched lighting units — match well with the slightly lower height, wider track with pronounced haunches, and greater overall width. The rear end has been bulked up a touch to differentiate itself from the stretched look of the 7 Series, while the thinner C-pillar wrapping the "Hofmeisterknick" nicely sports up the rear half of the profile. And we're happy to see loud and proud kidney grilles come back to the 5 Series. The standard tires for the 535i and 550i will be 245/45R18s, while the Sport package offers hotter 19-inch wheels and tires.

While the U.S. and European markets both get to enjoy the 5-Series sedans, the engine offerings are quite different due to governmental and consumer demands - but for the latest model year the U.S. has gained an engine traditionally reserved for Europe: a four-cylinder.

BMW has decided to nix the 240 horsepower 3.0-liter V6 from the 528i for the U.S., instead replacing it with a 2.0-liter twin-scroll turbocharged four-cylinder that the automaker says makes this sedan its most fuel-efficient 5-Series ever offered in North America.

Power output for this 50 percent smaller engine comes in at 240 horsepower and 260 lb-ft. of torque, figures that match (horsepower) and exceed (torque, by 30 lb-ft.) the current 3.0-liter naturally aspirated inline-six. Thanks to the twin-scroll turbocharger, BMW says that peak torque hits at just 1,250 rpm, about 1,500 rpm lower than the outgoing six-cylinder.

To save fuel, the 528i gains auto start/stop, which automatically shuts down the engine when the car is stationary at a stop light.

BMW says that the 0-60 mph sprint takes 6.2 seconds with the standard eight-speed automatic transmission, a 0.4-second improvement over the preceding model. The automaker also expects fuel economy to improve by up to 15 percent, meaning the EPA might rate the new car’s combined fuel economy as high as 29 mpg. Look for a highway figure between 35 and 36 mpg.

Moreover, BMW will now offer the 528i with its xDrive all-wheel-drive system. Previously, the 528i offered only rear-wheel-drive in this market.

Other models include the 300 horsepower, 30 mpg highway 535i, which drops to 29 highway if equipped with all-wheel drive, the 25 mpg highway 550i, boasting an impressive 400 horsepower V8 (also dropping 1 mpg with AWD)and the all-new 560 horsepower M5 (found on its own page).

The next-generation 5-Series features an eight-speed automatic transmission with an all-wheel drive optional -- denoted by an "x" followed the numeric model name. The new 5 also has Park Distance Control and an around view monitor system, similar to Infiniti's Around View Monitor.

As is typical of most recent BMW redesigns, this 5-Series adds some space between the wheels by extending the wheelbase nearly 10 centimeters and widening the track. The car's overall length has grown by less than 2 centimeters, while its height is slightly reduced and its width increased by a fraction. A set of 17-inch wheels are the smallest available with 18 and 19-inch wheels optional.

All 5-series sedans feature Active Roll Stabilization, which replaces anti-sway bars with electronically controlled pumps to maintain a level ride under nearly all conditions. To complement the Active Roll Stabilization system comes Active Steering, which uses electronic steering to supplement the stability controls acting on the wheel brakes and power.

Across this whole range, the sedan body is the same. With a length of just over 192 inches, the car is long enough to provide luxury-level seating and legroom in the rear and a reasonable amount of luggage space, but is short enough to be easy to drive and park.

On the interior, trim is a tasteful combination of wood and leather (optional on the 528i and 528 xi), with a variety of choices available. The dash is elegant, with few buttons, but dominated by a center screen that monitors all functions and provides vision for the optional navigation and new night vision systems. All of this is controlled with BMW's iDrive, which offers a one-knob interface that is loved by computer jocks and hated by many other reviewers.

Other optional technical gadgets include Lane Departure Warning, Heads-up display Active Cruise Control with Stop and Go-which does exactly what it says, managing the car's speed in stop-and-go traffic-and Sirius satellite radio, HD radio and an iPod connection.

Of course, the 5-Series offers a full range of passive safety features, including extended crumple zones, six air bags, anti-lock brakes, traction and dynamic stability control, BMW Assist with collision notification, and optional rear passenger airbags.
2011 BMW 5-series

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