BMW's chief designer Adrian Van Hooydonk talks through the car's styling
23 November 2009

The new BMW 5-series has just been unveiled, and autocar.co.uk has talked with BMW's chief designer, Adrian Van Hooydonk, about its styling.

To read about the new BMW 5-series's technical details, read: New BMW 5-series - full details

New BMW 5-series picture gallery

What were your goals with the new BMW 5-series design?We tried to give the car a sense of lightness. When we looked at our heritage the cars that have gone before this, such as the 1500 and 1800, looked light and nimble. Obviously there's a lot more safety and technology in today's cars, but this sense of lightness is important, because you have to look at the car and experience what you see when you drive it.

Can you give some examples of this?The forward-leaning kidneys show it. The low horizontal grille also enhances this sportiness. The wheel arches fit with the lines at the rear of the car. Normally they look as though they are stuck on. The light falling onto the wheelarch broadens the car's stance and makes it look more muscular. The integration of the design is an expression of modernity as well.

Will the M5 look even sportier?When we do an M5 we want to make sure that the car looks even more purposeful and more dynamic. And, of course, we will be able to achieve this on this base very easily. The 5-series should be smooth and elegant, a formal, business kind of car. On the autobahn it should mean business in a different way, in the rear view mirror, but it doesn't need to be overly aggressive.An M5 should trump this in a visual way and I know that it will.

Ed Keohane

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Comments
11

23 November 2009

As I said elswhere, I think BMW did a great job on the new 5! But I also want to tip my hat to Autocar for updating their site so rappidly after the unveiling - giving us poor people far away a chance to see and read, up to date information. Thanks guys!

23 November 2009

Very good design, perfection.

I look forward to seeing it in person.

23 November 2009

Very elegant and stylish !

23 November 2009

Better looking than the previous model even though that was the best looking of the Bangle BMWs. To me it looks more like a 3 series not less.

23 November 2009

I don't really consider that a "design" - Someone just took a 7 series and made everything slightly smaller..... - why can't they give a car an individual personality? OK, Bangles designs were controversial but at least they were notable... there was somthing to point out - the new 5 is just a saloon shape... nothing exiting about it at all. Dull and Boring sums up that design. I'd prefer somthing with a bit more personality, Mercedes E-Class (Good Drive, looks smart) Jaguar XF (Stunning) Chrysler 300c (perhaps not the best to drive but has a presence and feel good factor) Why would you choose a 5 series over an XF?

24 November 2009

[quote fhp11]Why would you choose a 5 series over an XF?[/quote]

The two most obvious answers, which you probably won't like, but that doesn't stop them being facts:

1. 90% of 5 series sales in the UK are the 520D, which is incredibly tax-efficient and fuel efficient. The XF has no answer to that.

2. A large proportion of 5 series sales are Touring models. The XF has no answer to that.

More subjectively, some people may choose a new 5 over an XF because they actually want a car that doesn't shout "look at me, look at me". Some people have criticised this car for being on the bland side but a large part of the target market doesn't want something overtly flashy - just a well engineered, well-built, economical, high performing, sweet-handling car.

24 November 2009

Submariner Redux -Spot on with that!

I think BMW seem to be going back to the pre Bangle days, where you had to be an enthusiast to spot the difference between the 3, 5 & 7. While the Bangle designed 5 was unique/different, it did loose some of the core buyers and that was one of the reasons why the current 3 series looks subtle. Flair and individuality are not the qualities normally found in German cars so this design is no surprise, especially as we knew it would be similar to the 5 series GT.

What does baffle me is the interior as if you place the interiors of the new 7, 5 series GT and the new 5 next to each other you would be hard pressed to tell the difference. Nothing wrong with that if you have bought the cheaper 5, but id be slightly miffed if I owned a 7. Than again Audi interiors all look similar, oh and VW.

Overall, I think the design is ok. It doesn’t offend anyone and leaves BMW to do what they do best, which concentrate on engineering efficient machines.

It is interesting that leather is now standard, they wouldn’t of done this if it wasn’t for the XF offering it as standard.

24 November 2009

The designer is right when he mentions 'lightness' - to me the present 5 series looks quite a heavy car, but this one looks so much better.

The interior is really good too, never liked the awkward fascia of the present model.

PMG

24 November 2009

To me it looks a step back towards the design/shape of the well loved E39 model, a move I welcome. However , another increase in size possible making the car too big for another set of garages and parking spaces, I await a figures for the total width and length.

PMG Sussex

24 November 2009

BMW 5-series's design explained:

Take 3 series, put in photocopier, set to 110%, press copy.

Pages

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