After seeing the official photos of the new BMW 5 Series, many of us have agreed that the interior of the new 5 Series is indeed a step forward for BMW. Sharing lots of design elements with the 7 Series, the 5 Series interior design moves up a notch and closes the gap between BMW and Audi or Mercedes, when it comes to cabin design.
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The F10 5 Series interior is wider, more spacious and appealing than the E60 models. It has design status of the F01 7 Series, but with the sporty nature that we’ve not seen in a 5-Series since the E39. Where the E60 may have lost some people with its more bland and plasticy nature, this new 5-Series looks to be much more upscale, especially with the wood.
The front seats seem very sporty, but with support enough for comfort, too. But, the back seats truly deserve the attention here; BMW says to have increased rear knee room by .5 inches.
The new 5-Series has a rear seat entertainment system just as the current 7-Series, but this one seems to be operated with a control instead of a dial as you see on the 7er. Also, the rear climate control can be independently operated by the rear passengers.
As for iDrive, you can see the knob more off to the right of the driver, it’s the same updated knob and buttons that you see on the current 2010 BMWs. You can also get just the standard iDrive with a standard 7-inch 800×480 resolution screen, or the actual navigation system with a 10.2-inch 1280×480 resolution screen.
The steering wheel features shift paddles for the models equipped with the 8-speed automatic transmission.
The entire cluster is in a high-resolution Black Panel display, in which four classic circular instruments are most prominent; other driving-relevant displays and readouts – including Navigation if present, vehicle-monitoring functions, upcoming service requirements and other information – also appear here in their various (and function-related) graphic forms. Climate-control settings and controls are located in a second Black Panel display in the center console stack.
The choices of colors and materials further enhance the impression of personal luxury and the interior’s interplay of lines and surfaces. For the dash’s finely grained upper section, there are two colors depending upon the chosen interior color. Dakota leather is standard on the 550i, and available in six color schemes of which three are new; BMW’s luxurious Nappa leather is optional, and available in three color schemes.
Dark Burl Ash wood trim interior trim is standard, appearing in sweeping expanses on the dash, doors and front center console; Ash Anthracite (gray tone) and another distinctive wood called Fineline Matte are optional.
The center console comes in two variants: On cars with a manual gearbox the console is split into two sections, the black surface surrounding the gearshift lever and the buttons on the optional Driving Dynamics Control oriented towards the driver. A key holder has been placed between the gearshift lever and the climate control.
If the exterior design still draws some criticism from BMW community, the interior aspect seems to satisfy even the most demanding BMW owners.