Forget about the “Ultimate Driving Machine” slogan as the 2024 BMW 5 Series Sedan will be the “Ultimate Self-Driving Machine.” All jokes aside, the G60 will usher in an evolution of the Highway Assistant, the company’s level 2 self-driving system. We were given the privilege to hop behind the wheel of a fully electric i5 prototype in the M60 xDrive guise to test a neat feature – changing lanes by simply turning your head.
Automated Lane Change
Giving BMW owners one more reason not to use the turn signal stalk, the eighth-generation 5er has a camera facing the driver to track their eye movement and automatically change lanes. How does that work? When the hands-off Highway Assistant is engaged, the driver simply looks into the left or right mirror, and the car will do all the hard work by activating the turn signal and merging into the desired lane.
Of course, the maneuver will only be possible if it’s completely safe to change lanes. To that end, the driver gets a visual (and audio) prompt in the digital instrument cluster about when the hands-free lane change procedure can be done. If you prefer to have some control, the driver can still manually turn on the turn signal.
Compared to other BMWs, the new 5 Series also does a better job at automatically changing lanes as it prepares to exit the highway. It’s smart enough to perform as many as nine lane changes, which might seem like overkill, but its functionality should prove to be useful on the widest Interstates in the US. The navigation system knows when an exit is coming and initiates the procedure three miles (nearly five kilometers) ahead. At 200 meters (656 feet) before leaving the highway, the driver is asked to put their hands on the steering wheel.
This upgraded hands-free Highway Assistant will be offered initially in the United States and Germany, not just on the 5 Series / i5 but also on the 7 Series / i7. It’s also going to be added to some of the higher-end X models later.