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New 2023 BMW 5 Series revealed: powertrains, design and technology

The all-new BMW 5 Series executive saloon will go on sale in October with petrol and pure electric options available

The new eighth-generation BMW 5 Series has arrived and has brought along the biggest change in the model’s history so far in the shape of the all-electric i5. The 5 Series saloon is due on sale in the UK this October with Touring estate models expected to arrive in 2024. 

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The 5 Series will continue to be offered with petrol power in mild-hybrid and plug-in hybrid form in addition to the electric i5, but there will be no diesel models. While some recent BMWs have adopted bold new styling, the latest 5 Series is more in-line with the Munich brand’s traditional design themes, as the brand elects to play it safe with what is a crucial model line.

BMW 5 Series design and dimensions

The 5 Series is a huge seller for BMW and like the 3 Series it features much more restrained kidney grilles than those on the latest 7 Series, the i4 and iX that have proven so controversial with BMW fans. There’s also no split headlight treatment like we’ve seen on other large BMW models recently. A dark painted sill and rear bumper hide some of the 5 Series’ mass and to the rear a pair of rather conventional horizontal light clusters. 

The car is also bigger than before, sitting 10cm longer and three centimetres wider than the outgoing model with an extra 20mm allocated to the wheelbase, which should allow a little extra legroom for rear-seat occupants. With a capacity of 520 litres, the boot of the 520i is reduced slightly in size compared with the current car. The i5’s space is reduced further, at 490 litres.

Cabin and infotainment

BMW continues to offer a double-screen layout on the dash. The driver’s display continues to be housed in a 12.3-inch screen but the curved panel now incorporates a larger 14.9-inch infotainment touchscreen towards the centre of the fascia.

There’s also what BMW is calling its Interaction Bar – a slim, backlit control panel that runs across the entire dashboard and merges into the front doors, allowing passengers to adjust the ventilation and seat settings. The centre console has been cleaned up, too, with a small toggle gear selector instead of a traditional stick shifter.

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The interior is completely vegan as standard – even in the entry-level version – with leather-like Veganza used on the seat upholstery and, for the first time in a BMW, a vegan material on the steering wheel. BMW plans to continue offering its Merino leather upholstery as an option, however.

Engines, efficiency and performance

The powertrain lineup will include a single traditional petrol variant in the UK at launch, with no diesel option offered at all. A rear-drive model, it will be badged 520i sDrive, cost from £49,850 and feature a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine, complete with 48-volt mild-hybrid assistance integrated into its eight-speed automatic gearbox. 

With 205bhp and 330Nm of torque, it’ll be good for a 0-62mph time of 7.5 seconds and a top speed of 143mph. BMW is claiming CO2 emissions of between 130g/km and 144g/km, depending on vehicle spec, with combined fuel economy of between 44.1mpg and 49.6mpg.

A plug-in hybrid version will arrive in 2024 and while details on it are scarce, we expect to see a longer pure-electric range than the current 530e’s 37-mile maximum. 

Trim levels and equipment

In terms of trim levels, M Sport kicks off the range; BMW long ago realised that most UK customers upgraded to this trim level anyway, so it’s the default these days. It brings 18-inch alloy wheels, ambient lighting, sports seats, powered folding mirrors, high-beam assist and automatic air-conditioning. Other standard equipment includes a heated driver’s seat, adaptive LED headlights, a Harman Kardon stereo and a wireless smartphone charging tray.

Additional dark trim elements feature on the M Sport Pro, plus an illuminated front grille, ‘Shadowline’ headlights, upgraded audio, red painted brake calipers, M Sport seat belts, a rear spoiler and larger alloys. 

There’s also the Comfort Pack (heated steering wheel, auto tailgate and comfort access), Comfort Pack Plus (ventilated front seats, heated front and rear seats, four-zone air- conditioning), the Tech Pack (Parking Assistant Plus, gesture control and an interior camera) and Tech Pack Plus (Driving Assistant Pro and Parking Assistant Pro) available on the options list. For those who want to add individual features, the limited range of items available includes adaptive suspension, sun blinds, a Bowers & Wilkins audio system and sun-protection glass.

BMW has already confirmed that it plans to add the usual Touring estate model to the range – including pure-electric i5 Touring versions. Both these and 5 Series plug-in hybrid powertrains are set to arrive in 2024.

Now check out our list of the best executive cars...

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Senior news reporter

A keen petrol-head, Alastair Crooks has a degree in journalism and worked as a car salesman for a variety of manufacturers before joining Auto Express in Spring 2019 as a Content Editor. Now, as our senior news reporter, his daily duties involve tracking down the latest news and writing reviews.

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