By Mitchell Weitzman
“They’re doing a 5-series event at an F1 track?” Was my first thought of BMW’s Back to the Track event, starring the new G30 coded 5-series, at, yep, the Circuit of the Americas, a full-blown Formula 1 race circuit. This isn’t for a new M5. It could be out of it’s element I thought, why not have this in Palm Springs or Miami? Nope, COTA will suffice.
Now for the real fun. BMW invited out some talent out to show us a good time, in the form of Adam Andretti, yes, one of those Andretti’s, overall Le Mans winner Davy Jones, former F1, INDYCAR, and CART driver Roberto Guerrero, do-it-all open-wheel and sportscar man Shane Donley, and legendary track day instructor and racer Mark Wolocatiuk. Their mission? Drive as hard as possible and as close as possible.
So there I was, on a plane to Austin, Texas to drive the new 5 series. I want the new 5 to be good, of course. As comfortable as it was, I was always underwhelmed by the prior 5er, favoring older models in its stead, finding it somewhat boring with little engagement.
So what has changed? It’s a new chassis featuring lighter metals like aluminum and magnesium (no Carbon Core present here), and the new engine family migrated over from the 330i and 340i. There are several autonomous features as well. One such is a lane assistant that will keep the car in your lane providing micro steering adjustments as it scans for visible lane markings and hooks up to following the car in front. When coupled with adaptive cruise control, which will brake and slow down to a complete stop if the car in front does, and then speed back up to your set speed; It’s the closest to autonomy this side of a Tesla. There’s even a ‘display’ key that looks like an old small phone with a tiny touchscreen. With the right package, you can tell the car to pull into or out of a parking spot while standing beside the car, mostly for showing off to your friends. Gesture controls have been passed down from big brother 7 as well. I don’t see the practical use of them as it means taking your hands off the wheel, but I’m sure your date and her friends will be impressed. My favorite tech comes in the form of a 360-degree camera with many many viewing angles. Honestly, there is no excuse anymore for curbing a wheel here. And of course, none of this is standard.It has simply become a tech lover’s delight. Continue reading New BMW 5-series Review on Road and Track