All photos in this piece are courtesy of the incredible Matthew Kanniah. Go give him a follow on Instagram.
I had the most incredible opportunity to test drive the new BMW 5 Series at the media launch last week. Two days of zooming around George and its gorgeous surroundings in a best of a vehicle was pretty epic. The car is something special. My favourite was the 530d which roared when you put the accelerator down while still purring round corners and really handling the road well. I’m not the biggest fan of Sedans usually and I don’t like sitting close the road. My preference has always been for SUV type vehicles that have a bit of air between them and the floor.
Saying that though – I really enjoyed driving what BMW is terming their “business athlete”.
The 5 series has a rather iconic history. I grew up in the south of Joburg and was well aware that the “matchbox” was the best spinning choice if that was your fancy. But the 5 Series has evolved into something far more sophisticated and rather glorious to drive.
Some of my favourite additions to the vehicle included the new technology elements incorporated, so I’m going to highlight my three favourites in this post.
I know. You’re confused. But the key of the BMW 5 Series is all sorts of rad. The key works as a remote as part of the BMW ConnectedDrive offering. There is a park assist feature which allows you to direct your car into a parking spot without actually being in the vehicle. You basically have a remote control. Great if your garage is super tiny as is the case in Cape Town and many other urbanised areas. This is also great if alley docking isn’t your strong point. The key also allows you to turn on the heating and airconditioning remotely before embarking on a journey. Once you’re in the vehicle the key connects to the iDrive connected display which incorporates gesture control (you can turn the music up by simply turning your finger in a very Harry Potter-esique type move) and swipe away unwanted calls. I walked in front of a car being driven by the remote into a parking bay and its sensors immediately picked me up and stopped. So no driving over your ex via the key. Sorry ladies.
BMW Connected has been drastically upgraded and will be introduced in the new BMW 5 Series. You’ll be able to plan routes, estimate arrival times and keep track all via your smartphone – which then transfers this information to the vehicle once you’re inside. The app also gives you something called Remote 3D View so you can call up 3D views of the area around your car on your smartphone at any time (fancy). The app is interesting but ConnectedDrive in the vehicle even more so. You can adopt certain speed restrictions, the car assists with distance-keeping, accelerating, braking and lane control. There is a definite move to autonomous driving here and I approve.
I know. A bit of a weird one. But hear me out. On the road the BMW 5 Series sounds rather delightful. When you put your foot down it does roar and people take note. But inside the vehicle, you barely hear it. A lot of thought has gone in to the design of the interior and added technology is to thank for the silent calmness that greats you on climbing in. The headliner has built-in soundproofing. There are sound absorbers incorporated into the liner – specifically near your head. You barely hear the engine at work and I rather liked this. The car seems rather spacious as well. While the seats arent technically racing bucket ones, they wrap snuggly around you and really feel rather comfortable.
As an optional extra you can get a Bowers & Wilkins sound system. You can go so far as to precision tune acoustics depending on how many people are in the car. You can also adjust the sound to match the music genre. We left the sound system on the preset settings and it was fantastic. Crisp and clear.
You’re going to be dropping close to a bar on this baby so it makes sense that all the bells and whistles in the new BMW 5 Series are shiny, sparkly and ting to the perfect tune. It is a remarkable vehicle and beautifully engineered. I might be spoilt to drive anything else for awhile.