Last year was BMW’s best-ever for 5-Series sales – but that doesn’t mean the firm is resting on its laurels. It has given the all-conquering executive model a new engine range and a host of clever hi-tech updates.
However, the controversial styling hasn’t been toned down by the makeover, so despite fresh bumpers, a tweaked grille and new LED rear light clusters, the revised car is hard to distinguish from its predecessor. It’s the same story inside, where improved trim materials and a new centre console design are the main additions.
The 530i we tried comes with the 3.0-litre six-cylinder petrol engine which now boasts direct injection. That helps to boost power by 14bhp to 272bhp, while fuel economy has also been improved by 12 per cent.
The latter gain is aided by the new Brake Energy Regeneration system, fitted as standard to all six and eight-cylinder variants of the updated car. It uses the energy produced during brak-ing to help recharge the battery, so that the alternator – which ordinarily increases fuel consumption – doesn’t have to work all of the time. The result of this is an excellent economy figure of 37.6mpg on the combined cycle.
With quicker responses, the smooth-revving unit offers impressive performance and huge refinement. It’s a good match for the tweaked automatic gearbox fitted to our test car, which features new software to provide faster, smoother shifts.
As you would expect, the on-board gadget count is high, too. New additions to the options list include BMW’s Lane Change Warning system – which vibrates the steering wheel to alert the driver that they are drifting from their lane – and Active Cruise Control, which also works in stop-start traffic.
The firm has even updated its confusing iDrive system to include eight programmable buttons, so that drivers can personalise the set-up.
Prices have only increased slightly to keep pace with the changes, so the sole bit of good news for executive rivals is that the fresh 5-Series doesn’t arrive until the end of March.