New BMW 5 Series and 7 Series – “One sausage, different lengths” ?

Interesting | November 10th, 2010 by 31
bmw 5 series 7 series 01 750x500

With the recent introduction of the new BMW 5 Series, many people began to wonder whether BMW is heading towards the “different sized links of …

With the recent introduction of the new BMW 5 Series, many people began to wonder whether BMW is heading towards the “different sized links of the same sausage” approach. German magazine Auto Motor Und Sport prepared a comparison article between the two luxury sedans.

Despite their continuously dimensions growth over the years, premium cars continue to play in the segment they were originally intended for. As a comparison, the 2010 BMW 5 Series is now almost exactly as long as a 1994 7 Series, E32 platform. Back in its times, the E32 was regarded as very spacious and generous to the driver and the occupants.

Yes, some of us might grow in size as we get older and wiser, but the increased dimensions of the new cars should not be, nor it is directly proportional to our body weight.

bmw 5 series 7 series 03 655x436

Customer demands from the US continue to drive some of the new designs and vehicles. These customers expect larger and more comfortable seats, a trend seen both in the new 5 Series and the F01/02 7 Series models.

When the new 5 Series was unveiled, the famous phrase, “One sausage, different lengths” came back to life. Attributed to Audi vehicles for quite some time now, the less flattering quote was whispered by BMW fans and consumers, and spoken out loud by other competitors and fans. The new 5 Sedan has grown in size compared to the previous E60 model and features a high quality interior cabin that could compete even with BMW’s flagship, the 7 Series.

bmw 5 series 7 series 02 655x436

In Europe, a fully equipped 5 Series can be had for 80,000 euros, more expensive than the entry-level model of its big brother, and this one factor that makes the final decision even more complicated.

Length wise, the new 5er Sedan is only 7 inches shorter than 7 Series, and almost 2 inches less wide.

Looks wise, some say that when looking from the side, the new 5 looks like a shortened F01 7er, but from close distance, the 5er looks distinctive from the 7er, both from the front and rear-ends. Sure, both models follow BMW’s latest and newest design language, but similarities are very few, even to the trained eye.


Therefore, with some of these facts laid out, we are finally ready to answer the question posed by us at the beginning of the article: is the new 5 Series simply “the same sausage”, but at different lengths? Despite their proximity in size, the BMW 7 Series is still the 800-lbs gorilla that stands out with its massive construction and imposing stance on the road. The large headlights and front-grill are other design elements that set the two sedans apart.

The new  Series has a more harmonious and fluid design line, and while its interior and exterior design have been considered a step forward from the previous generation, the sporty sedan still lacks, intentionally, some of the high-end technology and luxury found in the flagship (7 Series).

[Source: Auto Motor Und Sport via F10.5post ]

31 responses to “New BMW 5 Series and 7 Series – “One sausage, different lengths” ?”

  1. I just love the lines the bonnet has from the kidney grille right on up through the canopy on both auto’s. Why are we still seeing the 7 with such a bloated ass. Don’t tell me its for it to hold up to three golf bags! lol

    • bob says:

      Maybe four bags of sticks. :-) Don’t laugh about golf bags. Bangle once publicly remarked (presumably sarcastically), that the whole world revolved around cupholders and golf bags.

      At BMW, there are three “partners” in the design process:

      1. Design.
      2. Packaging
      3. Aerodynamics

      For any aspect on every bimmer under question, the reason/responsibility would rest with one of those three ‘partners’, or maybe two of the three; generally-speaking, “1” or “2” or “3” or “1+2” or “1+3”, since Packaging & Aero tend to be natural opponents.

  2. Giom Mouton says:

    They’re close, but nothing like Audi. From head-on, it’s very hard to tell the different models – even sizes apart. I have no such problems with the 5 and 7 (from head-on, I sometimes confuse a 3 for a 5, but from quite a distance).

    So, in my opinion, they’re not as far apart as they used to be, but not too close to call them same sausages.

  3. olumide says:

    Giom confusin a 3 and 5 is absolutely absurd.both cars av always looked different. 5 and 7 still look different but with more similarities.makin d 5 with full options more expensive dan d base 7 may cause a bit of problems especially for d prestige dat goes wit a 7.imagine someone pulls up wit a 5 dat is more expensive dan ur 7.dats not gud at all

  4. viper says:

    l think that the new 5 is the worst looking 5er ever, l think that the 7er is the best looking 7 ever , quite different in MB , the new E is a beauty m the S is something else , much smarter approach and better design than bmw. at least 10years ahead.

    • BMW_135_M says:

      OFC, Viper! x) MB is always best, isnt it? No.. The “new” S class is just ugy, at least the interior.. No soul at all..

  5. Peter Louies says:

    In my opinion, in the past there was a greater difference in design between a 3, 5, 6 7-series.

    Today, the new 5 isn’t appealing as much as the previous version – my favourite 5 design – and it seems that BMW is playing it more on the safe side. The current 5 makes me think of the current 3-series. And when compared to a 7, the rough lines are the same. There is no ‘wow’ factor anymore.

    I totally agree with the term ‘the same sausage’. This is like Audi – all models look the same – and this makes the Audi brand very, very borring. Unfourtunatly, BMW is going into the same direction with the current 5 and 7 series.

    I do hope BMW is going to do something different with the new 3 in 2012.

  6. Stu Izdaman says:

    I thought they looked alike too but thanks to this comparison, I can tell the differences are infinite. Truth be told, the similarities end with the i-drive knob! Both look awesome

  7. etuoyo says:

    The slightly revised 3 (I think from 2009 in the UK), the 5 and the 7 are all so similar it is incredible. The revised 3 is basically a really small 5 series. The 5 series is so close in size to the 7 (apart from in length) I can’t even call it a really small 7 series. I can now tell the 5 and the 7 apart because the 7’s front grill is so huge it looks like a monster opening its mouth to eat you up. Do not like it at all. The front of the 5 is really boring compared to the previous one.

    But boy do the rears of these cars make up for their ugly (7 series) and boring front (5 series). The rear of the 7 series is the most beautiful rear I have ever seen on any car. Amazing. The 5 rear is also really sweet. Unfortunately, the front is what you see first and destroys these cars for me. Give us a Bangle front and these new rears and you have the perfect looking cars.

    • bob says:

      Which “Bangle front” are you talking about? As the F01 & F10 are indeed ‘Bangle cars’, they already possess ‘Bangle fronts’.

      CEB himself has said many times that each Series BMW has its own ‘DNA’; designed accordingly.

      • X5SoB says:

        Again, by the time these redesigns rolled around, Bangle was a figurehead and advisor, VanHoydoonk did most of the design work on the 5, 7, Z4, and 5GT. Bangle may been the boss, but these are not his designs.

        • bob says:


          Bangle’s job title/description never changed the whole time he was with BMW – October 1992 to February 2009 (under contract ’til March 2010). He was Head of Design for the BMW Group, the entire time. To suggest otherwise is ignorant.

          That AvH was given the new title of Head of Design – BMW Cars in back ’04 (along with his four colleagues at BMW Motorrad, BMW ///M, R-R & MINI), does not in any way that CEB’s position changed.

          Every BMW of this generation we’ve seen so far, and a few more to come, were all designed under CEB’s direction. The amount of time it takes for a new car to have its design developed, formally approved + design freeze prior to SOP is measured in years. Not days or weeks or months, but in years!

          CEB never designed a BMW. He was the Design DIRECTOR.

          The only production BMWs that AvH personally designed himself were/are the E65-68 and E63-64.

          AvH personally DID NOT design the “5, 7, Z4 and 5GT”. And, given the timing, it would’ve been CEB who presented them to the Vorstand. The persons who actually did the exterior designs are:

          F10 – Jacek Frolich
          F01 – Karim Habib
          E89 – Juliane Blasi
          F07 – Christopher Weil

          ‘Bangle’d BMWs all…

  8. Tom says:

    the current 7 is the definition of elegance and luxury. the 5er supports this as well with more of a sport feel. both are incredible in my opinion, and stunning in every way possible. especially in person!!

  9. bob says:

    —-“Yes, some of us might grow in size as we get older and wiser, but the increased dimensions of the new cars should not be…”

    Nope! Bangle has discussed the scientific data/est. that BMW has on human growth patterns. Consequently, as new generations of the general public grow in height, so, too, must new generations of BMWs grow in size. They have it calculated down to mm’s.

    Further, worldwide regulations have resulted in cars becoming bigger, as well. And heavier.

  10. Efoza says:

    Now you know why the smart people have been going for the 5GT

  11. Kyle Silvers says:

    I think the only people who would think the F10 and F01 look alike are people who don’t really care about BMW or cars for that matter. They’re clearly very different, especially in size; although they do obviously share a similar design language. I think

  12. bob says:

    “eine Wurst, drei Größe” ???

    Possibly the most coherent answer might be, It depends. It depends upon the relative expertise among BMW observers. That’s what makes this discussion potentially interesting. Think about it.

    -Casual BMW observers don’t know the reference, or don’t care.
    -Serious BMW observers not only know the reference, but also know there’s sufficient evidence in support.
    -Expert BMW observers believe/know/see/think what the serious observers don’t.

    Yes. Yes, the F01 & F10 look much alike. Maybe too much. Yet, that conclusion can only be reached when the subjects are viewed independently. When viewed together, as the pictures above show, there are several distinct differences that are indicative of each car’s place in the BMW family. The F01 more formal & elegant. The F10 more aggressive & sportier, and closer to the 3 Series, as it should be.

    On a deeper level, the F01 & F10 are of the new generation…the *evolutionary* generation. Of course(!), they are going to look more alike than the E65 & E60, which were of the past *revolutionary* generation. “eine Wurst, drei Größe”? No, not necessarily. How soon people forget!

    As was previewed back in ’07, every member of the current generation, again the *evolutionary* generation, will share the design language of the Concept CS. The last generation, the *revolutionary* one, had TWO themes…as represented by the Z9 & X Coupe. Ignoring that fact could deceive oneself into thinking they’re currently eating the same sausage.

    “eine Wurst, drei Größe” is for people living in the past, who can’t somehow fully come to terms of what’s going on right now. They might want to consider what Bangle had said about the then upcoming (now current) generation of bimmers: “Evolution has evolved.”

    Over the past two generations we’ve witnessed brilliance, whether we realized it or not…

  13. BMfan says:

    Nobody should tell me the 6-series is th e coupe of the 7-series cos I can’t stop imagining the 7-series without the rear-door. The 7coupe will not only look great but sell like hot cake. Afterall even the RR Phantom has a coupe version.

  14. Babken says:

    Both the 5 Series and the 7 Series are GREAT.

  15. Zack Brak says:

    This is exactly why Chris Bangle left BMW.

    He wanted each BMW series to have its own personality and design characteristics, but BMW decided to go a different route and make each model nearly identical.

    • bob says:

      Actually, these cars, the F01, F10 et al. are also Bangle cars. Therefore, it doesn’t make sense for him to leave over cars that he personally develped & directed the designs of.

      Look at the timing of his departure.

  16. John says:

    I’m glad to read an article about the growing car sizes. Where I live parking is generally a nightmare and rental garages are not big enough to get the cars in, I currently have a 3 series coupe and trying to rent a space to fit it in is impossible. I’d like my next car to have the luxury of a bmw 5 in the size of a 1 series, but this is never going to happen.

  17. X5SoB says:

    I have for some time now maintained that BMW has been listening too closely to the press’ bitching and complaining about Bangle’s designs, and has made a corporate decision to backpedal to the “sausage of different lengths” philosophy. That’s too bad, as the public voted favorably with their wallets. The new designs are good, just not all that groundbreaking.

    • bob says:

      This is incorrect as well.

      BMW does listen. They just listen to what people really want, not what they say they want. Big difference. Just ask GM and Chrysler.

      As for BMW altering their strategy because of foolish comments by the media is just plain silly. The auto manufacturing is a extremely capital-intensive industry with commensurately long leadtimes.

      For example, some least-common-denominator types believe that the E60 was “toned down” due to the uproar over the E65. Well, here’s the reality. How would BMW be able to know to tone down the E60 because of the E65, when the E60 was formally approved BEFORE anyone outside of BMW knew what the E65 would look like?! And, furthermore, if BMW did in fact have a crystal ball back then, they would’ve also known that the E65 would become the most successful 7 Series ever — possibly prompting them to ‘tone up’ the E60.

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