An all-new BMW 5 Series has arrived for the first time in seven years, topped by a new M550i xDrive performance flagship with a blistering 4.0-second 0-100km/h sprint time.
Blissfully, eight-cylinder grunt isn’t dead: the 4.4-litre turbocharged petrol V8 engine makes 340kW at 5500rpm and 650Nm from 1800rpm, and together with an eight-speed automatic it cuts down the outgoing 412kW/680Nm M5 Pure’s sprint time by three tenths.
It will also likely the first all-wheel-drive 5 Series to make it here, with BMW Australia confirming interest in the model but unable to reveal pricing or specifications for the local lineup expected to arrive in March next year.
“We are a performance market and we would love to see that vehicle in Australia, the engine, the configuration, the all-wheel drive I think it looks sensational,” BMW Australia communications general manager Lenore Fletcher told MOTOR.
Although conservatively styled, the new 5 Series is up to 100kg lighter than the previous model launched in 2009. With all-paw traction that no doubt helps the M550i achieve its blistering performance number, it leaves us salivating for the next M5 that will send power to all four wheels and will have to drop into ‘three second’ 0-100km/h range.
Up to 20-inch alloy wheels are available, working around a “lighter and stiffer” multi-link front and rear suspension setup. Being BMW, though, there are plenty of options.
M Sport fixed suspension is available with xDrive for the first time, while active anti-roll bars make their availability debut in a 5 Series only when working with the optional multi-mode adaptive suspension.
For the first time the xDrive system can also work with what BMW dubs Integral Active Steering, essentially a variable-ratio four-wheel-steer designed to increase stability at higher cornering speeds and allow the larger sedan to feel more nimble in tight, low-speed bends.
There is also the usual tech onslaught, including auto-steer on freeways at up to 210km/h and at the other end of the speed scale, hands-free parking even when outside the car.