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The new BMW 5 Series is the same but better

Is the new Five better than before? We took a drive to find out.

alexgoy.jpg
Alex Goy
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Meet the new BMW 5 Series!

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It's ever so slightly bigger than the old one...

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...but it's up to 137 pounds lighter, depending on which model you go for.

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It's rather more aggressive than the old one...

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...though the old one was a yawn on wheels if you didn't go for the M Sport package.

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It's like BMW's design team has taken the 7 Series and shrunk it down.

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There's a cool line that runs from the back of the car, to the front, and loops under itself again. Pretty on the eye, but a nightmare to engineer.

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The new 5 is more aerodynamic than ever.

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So it'll go further on less gas.

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We drove the 540i, which packs a 3.0-liter turbocharged I6 with 340 hp and 332 pound-feet of torque.

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0-62mph takes just 5.1 seconds for the rear-wheel drive model.

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Spec XDrive all-wheel drive and that number falls to 4.8.

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A new M5 is due to be revealed in 2017. Considering the upcoming M550 will hit 62 mph in 4 seconds dead, it'll probably be pretty rapid.

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There's an eight-speed automatic gearbox as standard.

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It's slick, smooth and pretty good.

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You can change your own gears if you want to -- just use the paddles behind the steering wheel.

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Which, incidentally, is not a very pretty thing.

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It's lovely to hold, but doesn't look all that good.

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The steering itself is pretty good!

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It, like the throttle response, gearbox severity and so on, changes depending on which mode the car is set to.

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Comfort will make it soft, Sport and Sport Plus will made it more direct and so on.

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For "spirited" driving, Sport is the way to go...

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...but even though the car is quite fast, it doesn't feel it in a straight line.

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It makes up for that by having sublime handling.

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And really good brakes.

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You'll realise you're going at a fair lick because the speedo will throw numbers at you like they're going out of fashion. That's always fun.

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BMW has upped the tech in its new car.

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Its iDrive system now comes with a touchscreen, which works very well.

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The interface itself now works with tiles, rather than the old ring... thing.

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Each tile does something different -- nav, music and so on -- and the layout is customizable so you can have your own take on things.

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You can also have gesture control, like the 7 Series.

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And, just like the 7, it's clunky and slow.

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But hey, you can show off to your mates and make them feel inferior. If that's your bag.

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The car can find you a parking space if you want it to as well.

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It'll use historical data, guesswork and, presumbaly, magic to get you the best space it can.

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The new 5 Series can also talk to other 5 Series' to find out what the traffic's like, and how the weather is. Which is... pretty cool.

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Also sounds like the opening for a fully autonomous future, no?

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It's semi-autonomous at the press of a button too.

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It'll steer, brake and accelerate for you should you want it to.

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The new dash is more evolution than revolution.

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But hey, if it ain't broke.

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Like the new 5 Series? It's not bad at all, not by any stretch.

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