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2011 BMW 5-series (photos)

BMW gave the new 5-series sedan an online debut, releasing specs and photos on its press site. The car gets a whole new platform along with new body styling, a high-end powerplant, and many driver aid features.

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Wayne Cunningham

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The BMW 5-series sedan gets a significant update for the 2011 model year, featuring an entirely new platform shared with the 7-series. For the U.S. naming designations remain the same, with the 528i, 535i, and 550i, but the 550 gets a new engine, a twin turbo 4.4-liter V-8, similar to the engine in the 750i.
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Styling changes include a more curved roofline and shorter overhangs front and rear. BMW brags that the 5-series is the longest in its class. Head- and tail-light treatments give the 5-series a uniquely BMW look at night.
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The 2011 5-series gets the latest version of iDrive, standard on all models. An 8 speed automatic transmission comes standard on the 550i, but optional on the 535i and 528i. BMW's dynamic driving system is also available, which puts the car's engine, steering, and suspension in sport mode at the push of a button.
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Buttons embedded on the steering wheel control various driver aid technologies, such as adaptive cruise and lane departure warning. BMW also incorporates blind spot warning in the new 5-series.
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A surround view camera system lets you see objects to the rear and sides of the car, making parking in tight spaces safer. There is also an automatic parallel parking system, which detects whether a space is long enough for the 5-series, then operates the steering wheel as the driver handles brake and gas.
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BMW makes its night vision system available on the 5-series, which includes a pedestrian identification feature.

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