BMW’s latest – and fifth generation – 5 Series Touring is about to launch on the UK market and comes with a number of technological and design enhancements, including fuel efficiency gains of up to 11% on the last generation. It follows the recently launched new 5 Series saloon.

The latest 5 Series Touring may look rather like the outgoing model, but BMW has also shaved up to 100kg off the weight and made the car slightly larger for improved cabin and luggage space.

The BMW 5 Series Touring comes with a choice of three petrol and three diesel engines from BMW Group’s latest generation of modular power units, while the BMW xDrive intelligent all-wheel-drive system will be fitted in two models. BMW says that xDrive is extremely popular in the UK market, with its changeable, and frequently wet, weather conditions (around 40% of 3 Series Touring cars sold in Britain are fitted with the system) .

BMW says the 3.0-litre straight-six diesel fitted to the 530d Touring has a combined fuel consumption is 56.4mpg for the rear-wheel drive model and 51.3mpg for the all-wheel drive version, with CO2 emissions of 131g/km and 144g/km respectively – an improvement of up to 11 per cent in fuel consumption and emissions over the previous generation. Diesel engines come with SCR system as standard and the eight-speed automatic gearbox is also fitted as standard on all models.

BMW says that the 5 Series range is on track for a record-breaking year in the British market.

Like the 5 Series saloon, the Touring comes with a range of driver assistance features and connectivity enhancements, including autonomous emergency braking. Standard equipment for the new 5 Series Touring includes Collision Warning and Pedestrian Warning with City Braking function, but also Cruise Control with Braking function.

The optional Active Cruise Control (ACC) with Stop & Go function can be used at speeds from zero to 130mph. This can brake the vehicle to a standstill and allow it to move off again automatically after a pause of up to 30 seconds. The result, it is claimed, is much less stressful driving, particularly on motorways.

In the area of connectivity, the new 5 Series Touring uses a ‘flexible Open Mobility Cloud platform’, that means BMW Connected links the user’s car with their various digital touchpoints, such as an Apple iPhone, watch or Android smartphone and smartwatch. In this way, the personal mobility assistant integrates seamlessly into the driver’s digital lifestyle, BMW says. It identifies mobility-related information, such as appointments and addresses contained in calendar entries, and uses this to calculate the route. Real-Time Traffic Information is used to determine the ideal departure time, notification of which is sent to the driver’s smartphone. When it is time to set off, the car’s navigation system – which is likewise linked up with the Open Mobility Cloud – is able to access the calculated route.

BMW also claims it is the first vehicle manufacturer to offer a secure server connection for exchanging and editing emails, calendar entries and contact details using the Microsoft Exchange function built into the vehicle. This makes it possible for addresses from appointments to be imported straight into the navigation system and for telephone numbers to be dialled using the linked mobile phone. Apple CarPlay can also be used in the new BMW 5 Series Touring. BMW is the first car manufacturer to integrate this service into its control system fully wirelessly, it says.

The new 5 Series Touring is 36mm longer than the outgoing model (at 4,943mm), eight millimetres wider (1,868mm) and 10mm taller (1,498mm). The wheelbase has been extended by seven millimetres to 2,975m and BMW says the bigger dimensions have added to interior space in terms of rear legroom, rear shoulder room and added luggage capacity.

Weight savings

BMS says the new 5 Series Touring’s body uses a multi-material mix to combine weight reductions with significant improvements in torsional rigidity and passive safety. Under the BMW EfficientLightweight banner, the proportion of high-tensile steel and aluminium has been increased. Further weight savings have been achieved through the use of innovative design and manufacturing processes. Lightweight design measures have been applied in every area of the car. The bonnet, front side panels, doors, roof and tailgate are now all aluminium. Replacing steel with aluminium has made the tailgate alone around 4.5kg lighter than on the outgoing model.

The aluminium engine cross-member and rear side members bring further weight savings of 5kg and 11kg respectively, while the cast magnesium instrument panel support is around 2kg lighter than a corresponding steel component. A further 3kg was saved by the integration of the electric parking brake into the rear brake callipers and 6kg shaved off by the use of a new, lighter rear differential.

Weight savings with the brakes and wheels have reduced unsprung mass by around 9kg, notably enhancing agility, BMW says.

Touring developed for Europe

The BMW 5 Series Touring has been developed specifically for the European market  where most sales will be achieved (96% have been sold in Europe since the 5 Series Touring fourth generation was introduced in 2010, totalling some 327,313 units). Premium sports wagons work for the established German premium brands in Europe, but are a tough sell elsewhere. The car will rival cars like the Mercedes E-Class Estate and Volvo V90. Around 50% of all 5 Series Touring sales are in Germany alone, but the UK takes around a tenth (approximately 37,000 units of the fourth generation since 2010 – 11% of the total).

In the UK market, BMW reckons that it will reach around 5,000 sales of the 5 Series Touring this year, which compares with 15,000 5 Series saloons.

By way of perspective, global 5 Series range sales for BMW in 2016 totalled 331,410 units, 16.5% of the BMW brand’s car sales total. The table below illustrates just how far BMW has moved into niches since the days of being overwhelmingly a ‘3, 5 and 7 Series’ brand. However, the 3 and 5 Series remain the biggest model ranges, with the Touring variants helping to fill out the volumes, appeal stretching to customers who want a degree of practical utility, but not in an SUV package. For all the industry talk of how hot SUV segments are around the world, it’s interesting to note that the premium sport wagon niche continues to thrive in Europe.