For more than 40 years the BMW 5 Series has been the go-to executive saloon for millions of business-type mile-crunchers with an enthusiasm for driving.
The car’s blend of talents has always been highly commendable and rarely matched, offering supreme ride comfort, cutting-edge interiors and, whenever it takes your fancy, exciting and entertaining rear-wheel-drive dynamism.
For this latest 5 Series – the G30 generation – there is no dramatic leap away from familiarity. A record 2.1 million sales of the previous-generation model, along with feedback from its buyers, signaled to BMW that the best course of action to continue its executive saloon’s sales success was to gently tickle the formula rather than rethink it.
Much of the styling and technology has been borrowed or adapted from the flagship limousine, and both models share the same modular platform.
Improvements over the outgoing 5 Series include reduced weight, revised suspension and a tonne of new tech, such as the latest iDrive system, gesture control and semi-autonomous driving features.
These upgrades, and being so closely related to the 7 Series, mean the new 5 Series could, in theory at least, represent the closest thing to limousine luxury you can buy in the executive saloon class.
The G30 5 Series has launched with a choice of two petrol engines – the 530i and 540i – and two diesels – 520d and 530d.
Soon to join the line-up is an entry-level 520i turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol and a 525d oil-burner to bridge the gap between the pair of launch diesels. The car is available in saloon and Touring estate bodystyles, and there’s a full-blooded M5 in development.
But the stoic 5 Series is facing a new threat. It’s no longer just a case of rivalling the quality within its own class (which has plenty of it to offer); now buyers are showing a trend of ditching traditional segments in favour of more fashionable SUVs and compact saloons.
Even with all these upgrades, is it compelling enough to remain in the pantheon of modern machines and keep buyers interested? Let’s find out.