The BMW 5 Series can’t afford to let its arch-nemesis, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, draw all the attention these days. While the latter enters the 2021 model year with a heavily redesigned, fifth-generation model, the former strikes back with key updates to its seventh generation.
First, designers slightly enlarged the front grille and made the vertical slats more pronounced. They also incorporated slimmer headlights featuring two L-shaped daytime driving light elements on each side, while the rear is decorated with black-contoured, L-shaped taillights in tridimensional lenses, plus new trapezoidal exhaust tips.
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The car’s length has been stretched by three centimetres giving it a more sweeping profile. For extra style, the M Sport Package adds redesigned front and rear bumpers, larger front air intakes with mesh inserts and a revised rear diffuser panel.
Inside, sport seats up front and 40/20/40-split seats in the rear come standard and are wrapped in Dakota leather (optionally Nappa leather). The centre touchscreen has grown from 10.25 inches to 12.3 inches, the same size as the digital instrument cluster. The iDrive 7 infotainment system is compatible with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
What’s more, navigation has been improved with a new digital cloud-based feature called BMW Maps. The benefits are faster route calculations and dynamic recalculation based on precise real-time traffic data. Meanwhile, the latest version of BMW’s Intelligent Personal Assistant allows drivers to interact with the car in a more natural way (it’s activated by a spoken prompt, such as “Hey BMW”).
The 2021 BMW 5 Series lineup will consist of four trim levels, all with standard AWD. They are the 248-horsepower 530i xDrive, the 288-horsepower 530e xDrive (plug-in hybrid), the 335-horsepower 540i xDrive and the mighty 523-horsepower M550i xDrive. BMW has not provided details about the high-performance M5 yet.
The six-cylinder 540i xDrive gets a new 48V mild hybrid system allowing the car to recuperate energy to power accessories, reduce the burden on the gasoline engine and improve fuel economy. The system also delivers an electric boost effect that can instantly put an extra 11 horsepower on tap for more dynamic power delivery.
For its part, the 530e xDrive receives a new XtraBoost feature that offers an additional 40 horsepower for up to 10 seconds when the throttle is depressed to the kickdown position in Sport mode. It has a 12-kWh battery resulting in a zero-emission range of about 30 kilometres.
The engines in the other 5 Series models carry on unchanged. However, BMW has optimized the eight-speed automatic transmission for improved response, smoothness and efficiency.
The new 2021 BMW 5 Series will enter production in July and deliveries for global markets will start later in the summer. Further information and pricing for Canada will be announced in the coming weeks.