BMW’s upcoming G30-generation 5 Series is causing quite a stir as fans hope for an improvement over the lukewarm F10-generation. Based on BMW’s new CLAR (Cluster Architecture) modular platform, the same one the underpins the 7 Series, the new 5 Series is lighter, stiffer and more dynamic than the model it replaces. Or at least it should be. So how does it actually fare on the road? Top Gear was lucky enough to find out.
The folks for TG were able to drive two variants of the new 5 Series — the 530d xDrive and 540i sDrive — so they’re the only ones that we can report on. And from what we’ve heard, the news is good.
The engines we already know are good but it’s nice to know that they fit the new 5 Series well. The 530d packs a 3.0 liter turbocharged I6 diesel engine that makes 265 hp and a healthy 457 lb-ft of torque. It’s more than enough to motivate the new 5 Series and it does so with ease. But it’s the 3.0 liter turbocharged I6 petrol engine, BMW’s new B58 engine, that you really want. With 340 hp and silky-smooth power delivery, the 540i is great fun to drive and has more than enough power to kick its tail out.
How do they drive, though? Apparently the driving experience has more to do with how its spec’d. The 530d xDrive, with its traditional suspension setup, 18″ wheels and all-wheel drive, was calm and luxurious. It was more of a smooth and effortless luxury car than sport sedan. More 7 Series than 3 Series.
However, the 540i was just rear-wheel drive, had adaptive suspension and four-wheel steering, meaning it was far more dynamic and enjoyable to drive. Its steering was just a touch sharper and its handling more fun. The 540i felt more like a bigger, grown up 3 Series than 7 Series. So its handling really depends on how you spec the car.
Across the range, though, the 5 Series is a very competent and impressive car. Its technology is heavily borrowed from the 7 Series, so it’s superbly luxurious on the inside and its ride is better than the outgoing car’s. It also has good steering, with sharp inputs and nice weighting. Here’s to hoping its steering is significantly heavier than the ultra-light 7 Series.
The only real complaint from Top Gear is that this new 5er lacks the sort of “fizz” that cars like the E39 5 Series had. To be fair, though, so did the E60 and F10 generations. So this isn’t much of a surprised.
Overall, though, according to Top Gear, it seems as if the new 5 Series is a big step up from the previously generation. It looks better, drives better and is both more luxurious as well as more dynamic. From the sounds of things, it seems as if this new G30-generation 5 Series is exactly as a 5 Series should be — equal parts luxury and performance all wrapping in a good looking and technologically-advanced package.