The new 5-series will go on sale in March 2009, and is expected to draw heavily on the current model for its styling, resulting in an evolutionary design. A larger grille treatment and greater use of LEDs to give its lighting a more hi-tech and distinguished look. The BMW is set to grow by 10mm to around 4849mm long, mostly through a stretch in the wheelbase.In order to prevent weight gain and reduce emissions, BMW will use a developed version of the current model’s aluminium spaceframe front end mated to a steel rear.The big news under the bonnet is the appearance of a new range-topping 4.4-litre V8 turbo with direct injection. It uses a similar twin-turbo system to BMW’s existing turbocharged 3.0-litre six for more than 400bhp.BMW and Mercedes-Benz want to ensure that the 5-series and E-class remain at the forefront of safety. Added to the long list of features already found in today’s models will be blind-spot recognition and automatic lane-change detection systems.Supporting such systems will be electrics capable of linking the systems in one network for faster reactions and a more reliable operation. BMW already has this with its FlexRay arrangement, as used on the X5.The Efficient Dynamics technology already fitted to the 5-series will be a fundamental part of producing better economy and emissions, and the new model will also be available as a hybrid. Expect BMW to rival Mercedes' target of 47mpg and 150g/km.