Is the new 2017 BMW 5 Series a hit or miss?

Well by now you’ve all seen it. The new 2017 BMW 5 Series, that is. It’s hard to believe the current F10 generation 5-series has been on sale since 2010. Yes, it’s old. It’s a very familiar shape on the road, having been a smashing sales success for the Roundel. However, to keep up with the times, BMW has ended the life of the F10 for the new G30 edition.

As you might recall from my drive of a 528i in Florida, it’s bit of a mixed bag in how I regard the outgoing 5 Series. I find it’s shape incredibly unexciting, and lacks emotion and further excitement while driving, but it is very comfortable, gets great gas mileage when easing on it, has great power and one of the best transmissions available. Overall it’s a good car, but not exactly a BMW in my opinion. But then, what do I know; I’m just an Internet nitpicker.

2017 BMW 5 Series Rear

So, for the new 2017 BMW 5 Series to be any good it would have to address my issues with it’s immediate predecessor. As far as looks go at least, it is a definite improvement. Taking the appearance of a shrunken 7 Series, it exudes a satisfying shape of elegance and class. But I still wish it had more drama to the shape. Optioning the M-sport package sure spices things up with the larger, almost gaping front air intakes to show it means business. The M5, with the surely obligatory wide fender flares and haunches will be a real looker given the base car’s form. I’m not too sure about the hockey stick running along the bottom of the doors though. It’s directly taken from the 7 and I didn’t like it there either. BMW indubitably could have come up with a more interesting design cue for that area.

The real question though, is how will it drive? If the direction the new 7 went is any indication, I don’t think it will win me over in this category. The new 7 is wonderfully compliant and smooth. With the seat massages optioned and rear-seating package, it is, to be frank, a very nice place to be. The 7, though, does drive with a sense of disconnection, isolating the driver and his/her entourage from the outside environment. It’s not my exact ideal driving characteristics, far from it to be precise, but it is slated as a genuine luxury car. It’s a car that puts on, as Will Ferrell would say, its big-boy pants, every day; not a racing suit. This is what the 7 is supposed to be, not a sports car, so I can’t dislike it for that reason.

However, if the 5 were to achieve this same style, I would be disappointed. The 5 series has always been, historically at least, a driver’s car, just of a larger dimension. Each time I’ve had a chance behind the wheel of an E60 era 535i, with it’s twin turbo six, it’s a joy compared to the outgoing model. The steering has brilliant weighting and feedback with a firecracker of an engine. V8 guise gets even better, and has aged remarkably well when wearing the M-sport uniform, especially the M5. This is the car I would like the new 5 to be more like, but seeing its emphasis on technology, it likely will continue in BMW’s current trend of further disengaging the driver. Though, compared to the last Mercedes Benz E350 I drove, a current 528i feels like a track star. It could be disconnected as per BMW standards, but will very likely be the driver’s pick still of the current range of offerings by rival marques.

The engines on offer seem to be the same that appear in the also new-for-2017 330i and 340i, and will receive the same bumps in model name. The entry-level four-cylinder 5 will be called the 530i and the six-cylinder variant the 540i. You know, they have to seem like they’re improving in some regard. Bigger number, better car, right?

Autonomous driving capabilities seem to be pushing further to full robotics each few months, and BMW has instilled the G30 with some self-driving prowess of its own. No, it’s not a Tesla in what it can do, but remember, people usually buy BMW’s because of how they drive, not how they, er, drive you. A new version of iDrive also appears imminent, even if iDrive 5.0 only was released a year ago. It looks to continue the trend of BMW having the easiest and most intuitive infotainment system on market. In terms of features of the technological kind, the new ‘5 has got it made.

Perhaps my biggest wish of the new 2017 BMW 5 Series? That it includes a backup camera as standard equipment. I mean, come on, how is a backup camera not included as standard on a $50k+ car? That is perhaps my number one “what were they thinking moment?” on the outgoing car. Wonder how many people bought 5’s thinking it standard only to be surprised when going into reverse.

There you have it, my thoughts on the incoming 5-series. I’m sure it will be another BMW sales success, but will it be a success as a BMW is the real question. We will just wait and see!

Amazon’s Alexa now speaks to your BMW

Amazon Alexa brings BMW Connected into your home.
“With the availability of BMW Connected as an Alexa skill in USA, customers will for the first time be able to manage their personal mobility agenda and operate vehicle from their homes. The integration between Alexa and BMW Connected is underlining BMW’s promise to constantly integrate BMW Connected into new touch-points and to expand its digital services,” says Dieter May, Senior Vice President Digital Services and Business Models at BMW Group.

The first version of BMW Connected, available in the U.S. since March 2016, focused primarily on journey management and remote services. Now, BMW Connected is literally coming home. With the availability of BMW Connected as an Alexa skill on all Alexa-enabled devices, such as the Amazon Echo and Echo Dot, it is now possible to use voice commands to check the vehicle’s battery charge and fuel level, for example, as well as lock the vehicle remotely. The BMW Connected Alexa skill allows users to learn about their next scheduled trip, find out what time to leave, and send the destination to their BMW.

“We’re excited to work with BMW to bring their Alexa skill to customers,” said Rob Pulciani, Director, Amazon Alexa. “Never before have BMW and Alexa users been able to control their connected cars using hands-free voice control from their home — and now with the BMW Alexa skill, customers can use Alexa voice technology to lock their car doors, check their fuel level, and more without lifting a finger. We can’t wait for customers to try it out.”

The skill works by using the activation word “Alexa,” followed by the invocation name “BMW,” which allows users to access the relevant functions, e.g. “Alexa, ask BMW when I should leave for my next appointment.” The vision of BMW Connected integrated with Alexa was first revealed earlier this year at CES 2016 in Las Vegas. The vision has now become a reality, and we expect to continue to release more innovative Alexa updates in the coming months. Today, users in the U.S. can access BMW Connected through enabling the Alexa skill and linking their BMW Connected account in the Amazon Alexa app.

The All-New 2017 BMW 5 Series

The formula for success continues with the 7th generation of the most successful premium sedan, the all-new BMW 5 Series.  Over 7.6 million BMW 5 Series have been sold worldwide since 1972 and since 1975 over 1 million units in the U.S. alone. The 2017 BMW 5 Series has been entirely newly developed allowing for a significant weight loss of up to 137 lbs with the use of magnesium, aluminum and high-strength steel. Thanks to the available state of the art chassis systems including Integral Active Steering now in conjunction with xDrive (BMW’s intelligent all-wheel drive system), Driver and Parking Assistance Systems and Adaptive Mode including Dynamic Damper Control, the all-new BMW 5 Series once more defines the athletic and executive design of a true sport sedan. Featuring a new user interface (iDrive 6.0), Gesture Control, the latest generation of Head-Up Display, Remote 3D View and an improved Voice Control with natural voice input, the 2017 BMW 5 Series marks a new era of personalized connectivity. The BMW 5 Series is the most innovative BMW 5 Series to date, combining unique driving dynamics using Remote Control Parking and Advanced Driver Assistance Systems clearing the way towards semi-automated driving.

Continue reading The All-New 2017 BMW 5 Series

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