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In this ongoing series, Boston.com talks with automotive authorities about why you should consider driving — or avoiding — a specific model.
2017 BMW 5-Series sedan
In February, BMW will begin selling the seventh generation of its iconic 5-Series sport sedan, a perennial top seller for the brand since debuting in 1972. Redesigned for the 2017 model, the updated 5-Series gets a choice of two new engines, BMW’s latest iDrive infotainment system, and several advanced safety and semi-autonomous driving functions.
The iDrive 6.0 system includes an improved interface that allows users to manage functions using a 10.25-inch touch screen, a touchpad, and voice or gesture control—motion-based technology that’s currently only in the brand’s flagship 7-Series executive sedan. Gesture control lets the driver take phone calls, adjust audio volume, and scroll through menus by pointing, swiping, or other movements.
The new 5-Series, which sheds 137 pounds from its last iteration thanks to magnesium, aluminum, and high-strength steel, employs three drive modes to determine the optimal suspension for different terrain. Inside, the midsize sport sedan is engineered for comfort. An available massage function uses 20 air chambers to customize eight different programs. The trunk has been expanded to accommodate four golf bags.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety hasn’t evaluated the 2017 BMW 5-Series for crashworthiness yet, but the national nonprofit has only named two current BMW models – the X1 crossover and 2-Series coupe – a Top Safety Pick. So far, no models in the brand’s portfolio have earned the group’s highest Top Safety Pick+ designation.
Pricing and fuel economy estimates for the 2017 BMW 5-Series have not yet been announced.
What the experts are saying
It already has a lot of demand
“You really have such an emotional and visceral reaction to it. Everyone who has a 5-Series is addicted to it; they’re absolutely beautiful. The new one has received such incredible buzz, and there is so much pent-up demand for that car. The design is not a radical departure, but the lines are very aggressive and sporty. A lot of people in their 30s are coming in and asking for it. It’s great to have that passion and youth in the brand.” –Melissa Steffy, general manager at Herb Chambers BMW and MINI
It hasn’t yet been tested against stricter safety requirements
“BMW lags behind some of its competitors in having vehicles on the IIHS Top Safety Pick list. BMW has two Top Safety Pick models, the X1 and 2 series. But no BMW models made the top-tier Top Safety Pick+ list, which now includes a requirement for good or acceptable headlights. For 2017, vehicles have to earn good ratings in all five crash tests, and have an advanced- or superior-rated front crash prevention system—at least optional—to earn either Top Safety Pick award.” –Russ Rader, senior vice president of communications at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
The design plays it safe
“The new 5-Series is still exciting and very premium looking, but not unexpected in any way. All of their vehicles are very similar to what they’ve done before. As a car designer, of course I would love to see them being more experimental with their sedans. It is unfortunate that they’re not giving their bread and butter vehicles the same consideration as their SUVs and [battery-powered] i-series.” –Tim Huntzinger, professor in the Graduate Transportation Design Department at the renowned Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California
For more information on the 2017 BMW 5-Series sedan, visit a BMW dealership near you.