What is it?
The mainstream 5 Series saloon facelift. It gets remodelled lights front and rear, indicators in its door mirrors and a resculpted nose to mirror the 'hooded-eye' look of the 3 Series.
Some versions flaunt modest dashes of extra brightwork, while inside the instruments appear on a digital, reconfigurable screen and there are detail decor improvements. Equipment improves with the standardisation of Business Navigation (about time) Bluetooth connectivity (ditto), a USB port and xenon headlights.
And the infotainment system’s capabilities can be deepened with an i-Drive controller that doubles as a mouse, and facilities for dictating texts and emails. Later this year there’ll be an optional self-parking system requiring no control inputs of any kind, and a traffic jam assistant allowing the 5 Series to steer, accelerate and brake with no intervention from the driver at up to 19mph. Which is probably just as well given that the mouse also allows web surfing.
What's it like?
Mechanically the changes are slight, but useful. All engines are now Euro 6 emission compliant and have improved aerodynamics. There's also an engine-decoupling coast facility to help reduce CO2 emissions, and there’s an-all new, Valvetronic-equipped 4.4-litre twin-scroll turbo 550i V8. More significant to most 5-series buyers, however, will be the introduction of a new entry-level 141bhp 518d, although its 119g/km emissions are the same as the new 520d’s.
The 5’s chassis has also seen a light rethink in the form of retuned dampers for improved comfort and reduced roll, and the electric power steering has been remapped for improved precision.
These dynamic improvements are mildly apparent, although we still consider the optional electronic dampers to be a 5-series essential for a pliant ride. The revised steering is a little more precise, but you’ll need the Sport setting for the most consistent, confidence-building rim resistance — this brings with it firmer suspension and a much livelier transmission. Configuring these settings individually, Audi-style, would be better.