Expected to launch in the next few months, the next-generation BMW 5-Series is highly anticipated, especially since the 2009 Audi A6 facelift is now on sale and the 2010 Mercedes-Benz E-Class is starting to hit showrooms.
Since its inception, the 5-Series Sedan and Touring wagon have led its class. They remain crucial vehicles in BMW's lineup and because of that, speculation about their final design has been heating up.
Early next year, the new 5-series Sedan is expected to arrive as a 2011 model. Official announcements have not been made but we've gathered details from the disguised prototypes caught testing in the streets of Munich.
Most modifications are superficial. You'll find that BMW's love of turbocharging has not waned. Already, the 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 from the X6 and new 5-Series GT is believed to appear in a range topping model, while more turbodiesel variants are expected to join the lineup as well.
BMW will also launch two hybrid versions of the new 5-Series: a mild hybrid gasoline-electric version similar to the recently revealed Active Hybrid 7 as well as a diesel-electric version.
Transmission systems will include a six-speed manual and a six-speed Steptronic semi-auto gearbox, however a new eight-speed unit from ZF is also expected to be available. New Efficient Dynamics technologies will be available, such as specially designed aerodynamic wheels and brake-energy regeneration systems.
Performance will also be improved with the extensive use of lightweight materials including carbonfiber and aluminum. The car'sconstruction will be a mix of an aluminum spaceframe for the front section and a traditional steel monocoque for the passenger compartment and rear.
What this does is to ensure a favorable front-to-rear weight distribution and improved handling. Up front will be an independent suspension with MacPherson struts, with a multi-link layout for the rear. High-performance models may include carbon-fiber body panels to take off even more weight.