BMW's new 5 Series sedan quite simply resets
the benchmark in dynamic mid-size sports luxury motoring.
Its predecessor held critics in its thrall and the new E60 5
Series is set to repeat that achievement, though at a far higher
level thanks to even greater dynamic refinement.
With its unrivalled roll call of advanced technology, including
world-first Active Steering and Dynamic Drive, BMW's engineers
provide 5 Series owners with even more dynamic control and driving
pleasure at a level never previously experienced.
A world first, Active Steering provides extremely direct
responsive steering at low and medium speeds and more indirect
response at high speed, providing a more relaxing freeway cruise.
At city speeds, enhanced agility thanks to more direct steering
ratio helps the driver to slice decisively through traffic or ease
into cramped parking spaces requiring as few as 1.7 turns to
travel from lock-to-lock.
At medium speeds too, the direct response means the car reacts
more adroitly, providing greater feedback and putting the driver
in dynamic control, Active Steering helping to shrink the car
around the driver.
Greater steering precision, and on winding roads, a more go-kart
style response provides greater driver satisfaction.
The system provides active counter-steering during sudden
high-speed lane change manoeuvres to dampen yaw effects that may
destabilise the car, and thus aid its return to the intended
The variation in steering lock is provided via a mechanical
planetary gearbox on the steering column, activated by an electric
motor controlled by a computer fed by a phalanx of sensors.
Another feature in the BMW is Head-up Display. This projects vital
driver information such as road speed or navigation instructions,
cruise and speed control information as well as messages from the
on board systems monitor straight onto the windscreen, without
affecting visibility or requiring the driver to alter his focus or
shift his view to take in important data.
This innovative system helps reduce driver fatigue over long
Active Cruise Control
BMW introduces Active Cruise Control as an option for E60 5 Series
buyers, providing a superior level of relaxed high-speed driving.
Through the use of a radar sensor, the 5 Series sedan can maintain
a pre-set, fixed, following distance from the vehicle ahead,
making driving in convoy less tiring.
On the open road the ACC acts like a conventional cruise control,
maintaining a fixed speed, but when it detects a vehicle
travelling ahead in the same lane, the system adopts a
pre-determined safe following distance by matching the speed of
the front vehicle, unless the driver manually over-rides the
system to overtake.
If the vehicle ahead slows, the 5 Series' brakes are gently
activated to maintain the safe following distance.
In an emergency, the ACC can trigger the brakes quickly should
another vehicle intrude into the minimum distance safety zone, or
if the vehicle in front slows suddenly.
Active Cruise Control Stop & Go
An additional function mated to Active Cruise Control, Stop & Go
performs a similar function at low speed in dense traffic, helping
to remove the opportunity for rear-end collisions.
A second set of radar sensors monitor vehicles up to 20 m ahead in
traffic and can slow the car to a standstill, by activating the
brakes and reducing engine output.
The driver presets a following distance and can intervene to brake
or accelerate at anytime.
Just as Active Cruise Control supplements driver input, Stop & Go
similarly does not take control from the driver, rather it
endeavours to make driving less tiring and tiresome in heavy
Active Cruise Control Stop & Go is part of the BMW Connected Drive
philosophy, developing driver assistance systems to support the
driver by combining human skills with the technical systems to
give the driver optimum convenience at the wheel.
The dynamism, agility and supreme sportiness of the new BMW 5
Series' aluminium chassis is enhanced still further via a
selection of control systems designed with driving enjoyment and
safety in mind.
Dynamic Drive aims to provide perfect balance in every bend, by
eliminating body roll by building counter-forces in the front and
rear anti roll bars without compromising the performance of the
spring or damper at each corner.
Dynamic Traction Control allows greater discretion before
intervening to limit slip or wheelspin if the driver is enjoying
himself on a winding road. A component of the standard Dynamic
Stability control system that reduces engine output and can apply
individual wheel brakes to help maintain control, switchable DTC
also provides a higher triggering threshold when driving on loose
surfaces such as gravel, sand or snow.
iDrive with extended Voice Recognition System
BMW's innovative in-car control philosophy has been matched to the
needs of the 5 Series driver. A simplified iDrive system complete
with colour coding and new main menu button provide even easier
access to the many hundreds of settings and function controls
available through the innovative iDrive system, offered for the
first time on the 5 Series.
iDrive provides control over communication, navigation,
entertainment and climate settings. The iDrive controller sits on
the centre console behind the gear selector.
A new extended Voice Recognition System allows a greater number of
the iDrive functions to be activated by voice commands. A
text-to-speech feature allows e-mails to be read out as well as
short messages and telephone dialling lists.
The driver can also instruct the Navigation system as to the
desired destination address by voice command and the system then
plots the most suitable course.
Technology on a higher plane
Automatic climate control air conditioning is standard on all new
5 Series sedans, providing individual climatic zones for four
quadrants of the cabin.
A misting sensor detects the windscreen fogging up and
automatically deploys the demist function.
The front centre under armrest stowage bin can be heated or cooled
depending on the driver's requirements while interior lighting
systems can be adjusted to suit the mood.
Also standard is a multifunction steering wheel that includes
programmable buttons for frequently activated functions.
Front seats of all new 5 Series models come with electric
adjustment while comfort seats with active headrests and backrest
adjustment are optional on some models.
Optional Active Seat ventilation and seat heating provides
The unique combination of optimum acceleration and good fuel
economy, not to mention superior handling response is achieved via
a scrupulous attention to weight saving that results in the entire
front structure and exterior panels of the new 5 Series being
constructed from high-strength, light-weight aluminium.
The E60 is 60 kg lighter at the front than the E39. Factor in the
all aluminium front suspension that provides an ideal 50/50 weight
distribution front to rear, wider track and longer wheelbase, and
the benefits to handling, ride and overall vehicle balance become
Aluminium wheels and brake callipers play their part in reducing
unsprung weight, too.
Joining aluminium and steel together at the front firewall
requires a special hybrid joint comprising isolating adhesives and
specially coated punched rivets. A special adhesive is also
applied to steel-to-steel welding to provide a stronger join as
well as superior sealing and vibration damping.
As many as 1,000 robots deliver up to 4000 welds to join the 500
individual parts that make up the four versions of the 5 Series
body shell (left and right-hand drive, with or without sun roof).
There are more than five metres of seam welding, more than 60
metres of adhesive and 600 punched rivets used in the creation of
the shell that weighs less than 350 kg.
A total surface area of 92 square metres of body shell is painted
with 15 kg of dip paint, primer and water-based topcoat for a
layer only 0.1mm thick across the entire body.