Prototype G30 BMW 5 Series test drives impress journalists

5-series | September 6th, 2016 by 17
2018 BMW 5 series prototype 109 750x500

BMW is readying the debut of its upcoming G30 5 Series, which we should see quite soon. Prior to that, though, BMW wanted to make …

BMW is readying the debut of its upcoming G30 5 Series, which we should see quite soon. Prior to that, though, BMW wanted to make sure that its new 5er was as good as it possible could be. To do so, the Bavarians invited a bunch of journalists to Wales to give them a sample of different 5 Series variants, in prototype-guise, to get feedback. This feedback will help BMW keep what works and change what doesn’t.

Judging from the reviews that these different journalistic publications have been giving, the upcoming G30 5 Series should be a massive improvement over the current F10-generation.

2018 BMW 5 series prototype 107 750x458

Built on BMW’s new CLAR architecture (A play on “Cluster Architecture”), the very same one that underpins the 7 Series, the new G30-generation BMW 5 Series will be far lighter than its predecessor. While there is no Carbon Core tech in the new 5 Series, like their is in the 7er, there is an impressive amount of other lightweight materials. Things such as the doors, roof and rear decklid are made from aluminum. The carbon fiber beam on the B-pillar of the 7 Series has been replaced with a magnesium one in the new 5er. All of those lightweight materials lighten the 5 Series by 220 lbs over the previous-gen car, which is an impressive figure.

2018 BMW 5 series prototype 108 750x458
2018 BMW 5-series prototype 2018 BMW 5-series prototype

BMW also completely reconfigured the suspension geometry and materials. The new double-wishbone front suspension is made mostly from aluminum, to reduce unsprung weight, and the newly redesigned multi-link rear suspension has new geometry, mounting points as well as aluminum components. All of this is designed to make the G30 5 Series more comfortable as well as more dynamic. According to the recent drive reviews, it seems to have worked.

2018 BMW 5-series prototype

The new electric rack and pinion power steering is far superior than that of the F10-generation 5 Series. Said steering is claimed to be sharp, accurate and nicely weighted. Although the weighting is still light, lighter than a BMW’s steering should be, it builds weight beautifully through corners and is incredibly precise. It’s far improved and could be the best in class when it debuts. “By any standards, this is first-rate steering, endowing the new BMW with great precision, feel and dependability.” said Autocar. According to Auto Express, “The steering is lovely, with real precision to it, but not too much weight.”

But steering is just one part of the new 5 Series. They way the chassis responds to those steering inputs is even more important. According to these recent reviews, the new G30 chassis is a massive step-up from the current F10 model. Again, Autocar praises the new 5 Series, “There’s a superb feeling of balance and fluidity about the new BMW, too. The consistency and conviction of its actions provide it with great poise and a wonderfully secure feeling when hustled along. You can confidently thread the new 5 Series down a winding back road without any qualms about its ability to soak up lateral forces and keep gripping hard even at very high speeds.”

2018 BMW 5-series prototype

Car and Driver said “As intended, it feels light on its feet and it responds in a distinctly linear manner to steering commands. The steering is tight on center and not disturbed by brake applications.”

Cars equipped with xDrive all-wheel drive are now also available with BMW’s Sport Suspension, which fits non-adjustable dampers and a 10mm lower ride height. So you can get both sporty driving dynamics as well as all-weather traction. In addition to that, and for the first time on a 5 Series, xDrive models are also available with IAS (Integral Active Steering), or rear-wheel steering, which helps aid in handling precision. The new xDrive system is rear-biased anyway, so it still feels rear-driven.

Overall, the new 5 Series seems to be much improved over the car it replaces. It’s lighter, leaner, stronger and more technologically advanced. Its steering is much better, as are its handling dynamics. It’s head and shoulders above the current F10 5 Series and this has been gathered just from some prototype drives. Much of the reason behind these drives were to get feedback and fix what wasn’t liked. For instance, BMW engineers rode shotgun in the cars with laptops connected to them, changing steering response and feel on the fly and asking for feedback. So expect the G30 5 Series to get even better by the time it debuts.

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