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Updated BMW 5 Series arrives with a fresh look and electrification

Class leader gets a refreshed exterior, updated technology and electrified powertrains

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It’s mid-life update time for the BMW 5 Series, which gets a refreshed exterior, updated technology and electrified powertrains.

The saloon model will be available with three plug-in hybrid powertrains, with a 530e and 545e offered with all-wheel drive and an option of rear-wheel drive on the 530e. Estate models (called Touring in BMW-speak) will have the 530e options available from November.

All four- and six-cylinder models that are not plug-in hybrids will get a mild-hybrid powertrain. This uses a 48-volt starter generator to take the load off the engine and improve both acceleration and fuel consumption.

The exterior design hasn’t undergone a drastic change, which is not surprising given that the current model only arrived in the UK in early 2017. Notable changes include a larger, lower front grille, slimmer full-LED headlights, reshaped rear lights and redesigned rear bumper.

Inside, the central infotainment display has increased in size from 10 to 12 inches and receives BMW’s latest generation operating system.

Safety-wise, there’s nothing new to report with this update. The BMW 5 Series received a five-star safety rating from Euro NCAP when it was tested three years ago, and that rating remains valid today.

The best gets better

The BMW 5 Series is the highest-rated car in its class, and one of the top-rated cars that we have analysed with The Car Expert’s unique Expert Rating system. Based on reviews from 21 of the top UK motoring websites, the 5 Series currently holds an Expert Rating of 88%. This update looks set to help keep it at the top of the executive saloon class.
Stuart Masson, Editor

There are three trim levels: SE, M Sport and M Sport Edition. Saloon models, meanwhile, get an M Performance M550i xDrive option for the first time. Standard on the SE is a choice of 17-inch to 19-inch alloy wheels, leather upholstery and heated front seats. New equipment for this trim includes folding mirrors, parking assistant and DAB radio.

M Sport gets new alloy wheel designs in 18-inch to 20-inch sizes, an M body kit, M leather steering wheel, front sports seats and a distinctive instrument panel. M Sport suspension is standard except on 530e variants.

The M Sport Edition builds on this with Tanzanite Blue or an exclusive Donington Grey paint, 20-inch alloy wheels, adaptive LED headlights, and red M brake callipers. Saloon versions get a rear spoiler and multifunction seats, too.

The M550i xDrive Saloon sits separately from all other models in the 5 Series hierarchy, boasting a 4.4-litre turbocharged V8 engine, exclusive 20-inch alloy wheels, grey exterior detailing, a Harman/Kardon surround sound system, M sport differential and adaptive M suspension.

The range will be launched in July with prices for the saloon start at £37,480 for the 520i in SE trim, while the Touring starts at £39,730 in the same specification. The M550i xDrive starts at £67,595.

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Darren Cassey
Darren Cassey
Articles by Darren Cassey are provided for The Car Expert by PA Media (formerly the Press Association). They include test drives of the latest new cars and features on various aspects of automotive life.