BMW has already “in works” the next instalment of their successful executive saloon. Several test mules have been spotted, pointing that a production ready 5 Series is to be released in the next three or four years. The current BMW 5 Series is around for more than 4 years, meaning that it is well in its middle age, and needing a successor around the year 2010. The next generation 5-Series will grow in overall length, by extending the wheelbase nearly 3 inches and widening the track, so will be bigger then the actual one.
It is expected that the next generation executive BMW will grow in pretty much every direction, including wheelbase and wheel-track. In order to keep up, the wheels will follow the same trend, and standard equipment will feature 17” rims. Sports versions (like the M5), are expected to use 20” wheels or bigger.
The new proportions will head the 5 Series into a sportier look, with a coupe feel in it. A glimpse of that has already been shown by BMW, with their latest concept, the CS.
Technologically, the future 5 Series will be as surprising and uncompromising as ever. The only difference will be that, in the overall tendency of the market, there will be an increased attention to the ecological and fuel consumption issues. Performance will be even better than before, helped by those components that give the BMW name, the power units. Starting from a 2.5 litre straight 6 with 220 bhp, the petrol engine range will extend up to the brand new 410 bhp V8 biturbo. Four diesel engines will also be made available, ranging between 2.0 and 3.0 litres, with single and biturbo systems and offering over 300 bhp.
The diesel engines should get urea injection – as Mercedes is pioneering – to cut nitrogen oxide emissions. A stop/start system and upshift indicator for six-speed manual versions will help reduce fuel consumption, and the engines should be biofuel- and synfuel-compatible. Brake energy-regeneration, in combination with adaptive alternator control, should also save up to 10 percent more fuel too. Also in the works is a more powerful version of the M5’s 5.0-liter V10. The 5-series will have a top speed electronically limited to 155 mph.
The classic six-speed manual gearbox is joined by a traditional, torque-converter automatic that shifts 50 percent quicker and also can skip gears. BMW’s unloved SMG sequential manual found in today’s M5 bites the dust, but two new auto/manual hybrids are planned. One is a faster-shifting evolution of the current SMG. The other is a dual-clutch automatic.
Due to the wider track and lower height the all new styling of the new 5-Series will make it look almost like a coupe, but the lines will be soften. More exotic body materials help make the standard car a bit lighter than its predecessor—but there are plenty of new optional add-ons to cancel out the weight savings. Among them are active rear-suspension kinematics, xDrive all-wheel drive with active torque split, stability-enhancing active yaw control, and the next-generation electronic damper control system.
The images are computer generated and aim to offer you an impression on how the final product might look like, based on the latest information available.
First generation 5-series: E12 - 1972-1981
The E12 5 series was introduced in 1972. It was available as 4 door sedan. There were two models available: the 520 and 520i. Both models had a M10 four cylinder engine. The 520 had 115 HP and the 520i 130 HP. In 1973 the 525 cameavailable. It had a six cylinder engine with 145 HP. A year later the 518 was introduced. This model had a four cylinder with just 90 HP. In that same year the 530i came available. It had a six cylinder engine.
In 1975 a 528 six cylinder came available. It had 165 HP. In 1976 the 5 series received a small facelift. The grille now looked the same as the one on the E21 3 series and the rear lights where bigger now. The 520 and 520i four cylinder where replaced by a 520i six cylinder wich had 122 HP. The 528 was replaced with a 528i wich had electronic fuel injection and 184 HP. The 530i went out of production. In 1981 a new 5 series was introduced and the old E12 went out of production.
Second generation 5-series: E28 - 1982-1988
The BMW E28 was the second BMW 5 Series and stylistically, was an evolution of the E12. The new vehicle was similar to the popular E12 but was lower, had more engine choices, and minor styling updates. The most obvious change was to the car’s rear third where the fenders and trunk lid stood high rather than drooping as in the E12. But the nose was also thoroughly changed with a new hood that didn’t wrap over into the fenders (as it did on the E12) and a more aerodynamic grille.
In performance, the most notable E28 models were the M5 and the M535i. The 535i has a 12 valve 218hp six cylinder engine, while the M5 has a 24 valve twin cam 286hp engine. The M5 also has modified suspension and brakes.
The US market featured the "eta" engine. The 2.7 liter eta engine was designed to use less fuel, while still offering good performance. These models were designated 528e. This is the same engine used in the 3 series E30 325e.
Third generation 5-series: E34 - 1989-1996
The third-generation 5 Series, designated E34 within BMW, was truly an all-new vehicle. The 1989 5 rode on a longer 108.7-inch wheelbase, had an all-new structure with an all-new suspension, was significantly roomier than before and was a leap forward in sophistication, refinement, performance and overall comfort. As good as the E12 and E28 5 Series cars were, it was the E34 that propelled the line to the forefront of critics’ minds.
The E34 arrived in America powered by slight variations of familiar drivetrains. The 525i used a 2.5-liter version of BMW’s small SOHC straight six making 168 hp, while the 535i used a 3.5-liter version of the big SOHC six rated at 204 hp. While Europe got a new E34-based M5, it wasn’t initially offered in America. A driver-side airbag became standard on all 1990 BMWs, but otherwise changes to the 5 Series were minimal. Automatic Stability Control (ASC) was added to the 535i’s options list during the year, however.
The M5 returned to America during the 1991 model year with its 3.6-liter, DOHC, 24-valve Motorsport six now whacking out a full 310 hp. Available only with a five-speed manual transmission, the M5 was again a sensation despite the fact that it wore a set of the ugliest 17-inch wheels ever made.
Fourth generation 5-series: E39 - 1996-2003
The E39 was BMW’s successor to the E34 five series. The car was introduced in 1996 but was out almost a year later in the USA and mainland Europe. Produced from 1997-2003, the E39 5 Series is one of the most successful and lauded model series in BMW’s history. The awards the E39 has won over its seven-year run include four AutoWeek "America’s Best" awards, seven Edmunds.com "Most Wanted" awards, six Car and Driver 10Best awards, and a total of twelve Automobile Magazine All-Star awards. In its last full calendar year of sales, the 5 Series set an all-time sales record of nearly 41,000 units in the U.S.
The E39 is more streamlined than the E34. The E39 is only slightly heavier than the E34 due to aluminum suspension components. The E39 was introduced as a four door coupe, with the touring model appearing a year later. Unlike the E34, there is no four wheel drive model.
In Europe there were no longer any four-cylinder 5 Series cars offered, while in America the 5 Series offerings dwindled to just the six-cylinder 528i and the V8-powered 540i sedan for 1997. With 190 hp on tap and five gears aboard either its manual or automatic transmissions, the 528i was a solid performing machine despite its position as the entry-level 5. The 540i, on the other hand, now had a full 282 hp that was lashed either to five-speed automatic or six-speed manual transmissions after a displacement bump to 4.4 liters (a change not reflected in the car’s name). The six-speed included a "Sport" package of an aggressive suspension and oversize wheels and tires to produce something nearly M5ish in nature.
Fifth generation 5-series: E60/61 - 2004-present
The BMW E60 is the current BMW 5 Series. Its design and many of its advanced features initially received mixed reviews. The E60 represents a huge leap in technological advance over previous models. It is now regarded as one of BMWs finest and most innovative models.
Active Seat continuous passive motion available on the 7-Series is introduced as an option on the 5 Series for driver and front passenger seats. It is available in both sedan and wagon versions.
The basic lineup of the new 5 Series is unchanged from before, though the wagons won’t be along until the 2005 model year. There’s still a 525i and 530i with BMW’s familiar straight sixes aboard, and the new 545i uses the same 4.4-liter engine as the 540i did, but recognizes the displacement in its name — and then some. The 2.5-liter six is still rated at 184 hp, the 3.0-liter six makes 225 horses and the revised 4.4-liter V8 now makes a stunning 325 hp. New six-speed manual and automatic transmissions are offered with each engine with manual "Steptronic" shifting on the automatic and the exotic "Sequential Manual Gearbox" (SMG) available with the manual transmission.
For over 60 years the E-Class and its predecessors have been the “heart” of Mercedes-Benz, representing basic brand values like safety, comfort, innovation, economy and quality. Since 1946 Mercedes-Benz has delivered some ten million luxury sedans to customers all over the world.
29 model variants are available - 16 Saloons and 13 Estates. As such, Mercedes-Benz is offering the largest, most varied model range in this market segment. With outputs ranging from 100 kW/136 hp to 378 kW/ 514 hp, the new generation E-Class outpaces the previous model range (90 kW/122 hp to 350 kW/476 hp) and its competitors.
Six of the ten engines available for the new-generation E-Class are either new or have been enhanced. The four-cylinder-diesel engines for the E 200 CDI and E 220 CDI in particular have been optimized down to the last detail in order to further improve output, torque and smooth running characteristics.
The gasoline engines for the E-Class were also enhanced, and the engineers at Mercedes focused particularly on the four- and eight-cylinder drive systems. At the top of the E-Class’ engine range will be the all-new 5.5-liter V8 from the S Class, with an output of 388 hp. The model lineup will be expanded by the E 63 AMG, whose 514 hp engine makes it the most powerful E-Class ever built. Agility and driving pleasure will be greatly enhanced not only by the new and improved engines, but also by the DIRECT CONTROL package with more responsive steering and a retuned chassis.
Audi set a new benchmark in the luxury performance segment when it introduced the Audi A6 to North America. A scant one year later, the successful V8 and V6 variants are being joined by an A6 3.2 sedan with Audi’s revolutionary multitronic (CVT) transmission and FrontTrak front wheel drive. In all of its forms, the latest generation of the Audi A6 combines superior driving dynamics and sophisticated technology with exceptional comfort and equipement.
Powerful engines with up to eight cylinders and 335 horsepower, the most advanced transmission technologies, and a choice between quattro permanent all-wheel drive or FrontTrak front wheel drive make Audi’s current A6 range its most comprehensive ever. Thanks to the cutting-edge suspension combined with high body rigidity, this power and performance opens up a new dimension in driving dynamics.
Eight potent and cultivated engines power the A6 – five petrol units and three TDIs, the diesel versions being equipped with particulate filters. The power output of the engines ranges from 103 kW/140 bhp to 257 kW/350 bhp. In addition to front-wheel drive, most versions are available with quattro permanent four-wheel drive incorporating the self-locking centre differential; this is standard on the 4.2 FSI and 3.0 TDI. Three modern technologies transmit power to the wheels – a manual six-speed gearbox, a tiptronic transmission, likewise with six speeds, and the continuously variable multitronic.