2008 BMW 5-Series
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BMW pumps more power and accessories into its 5 Series for 2008, replacing the 525i and 530i with the 528i and 535i. The 550i rounds out the 5 Series lineup. Even though the U.S. doesn’t get the torque-happy, fuel-efficient diesel versions European buyers enjoy, we do receive the 300-horsepower, twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter from the 335i. A six-speed manual transmission is standard in all 5 Series, and a six-speed automatic is available at no cost. In June, a six-speed automatic with paddle shifters will be available in the Sport Package for the 535i and 550i. The 528i and 535i will be offered as wagons as well as rear-wheel-drive sedans; all-wheel drive versions of the 528 and 535 sedans and the 535 wagon are also available.
When introduced as a 2004 model, the 5 Series received mixed reviews for its somewhat unconventional styling. There aren’t any major exterior changes for 2008, just minor touch ups to the front, rear and side skirts. Most notable is a new horizontal separator that spans the lower grille, with fog lights at each end. The upper kidney-shaped grilles now sit flush with their surroundings. LED turn signals are new to the front and rear of the 5 Series and feature clear glass housings instead of amber-colored capsules. 550i models have an optional Aero Package that looks almost as aggressive as the high-performance M5’s exterior. A gaping front air dam, bulging side skirts and a sporty rear bumper push the 550i’s looks as far as they can go before entering M5 territory (and price).
A new MP3 adaptor allows drivers to control their player using steering-wheel controls.
Under the Hood
The 528i’s revised inline-six-cylinder engine produces 230 hp, up from 215. The 550i retains its 360-hp, 4.8-liter V-8. In the 535i, the 3 Series’ twin-turbocharged engine adds 45 hp and 80 pounds-feet of torque over the 530i.
Electronic stability control, antilock brakes, and front and side airbags are standard; rear side airbags are optional. BMW’s lane-departure-warning feature sends a vibration through the steering wheel to alert drivers if their vehicle veers from a lane of traffic when the turn signal isn’t used. An interior-mounted camera on the windshield monitors lane markings.
More convincingly than any other car in its class, the BMW 5 Series combines supreme style and presence with sporting power and performance. And now the design, driving experience and superior comfort offered by the 5 Series reach a new standard of perfection. Highly attractive refinements to the exterior and significant, visible and tangible enhancement of style and sophistication in the interior accentuate the sporting, elegant character of the BMW 5 Series Sedan and Sports Wagon. The premium ambience within the car’s interior is borne out by sophisticated materials, attractive colors and re-designed interior elements and controls.
Power units more muscular than before and with exceptional all-round efficiency raise the line-up of engines in the 5 Series to a higher standard. Benefiting from this kind of power, the BMW 5 Series is entering a new dimension of Efficient Dynamics attributable to a wide range of enhancements on and around the engine for maximum fuel economy and minimum emissions. A particular highlight is BMW’s innovative High Precision Injection direct fuel injection technology featured on the twin turbo straight-six power unit in the 535i models. Other new drivetrain developments are the updated, quick and precise six-speed automatic transmission as well as BMW’s unique optional Automatic Sports Transmission with shift paddles.
Two engine variants on the new BMW 5 Series are available with BMW xDrive permanent and variable all-wheel-drive technology. In this intelligent all-wheel-drive system, optimized control and management electronics ensure spontaneous and precise response to changes in driving conditions.
The new BMW 5 Series also offers a wide range of innovations in driver assistance and comfort features. As an example, it is the only car in its segment available with Active Steering, BMW Night Vision, Head-Up Display and, new for 2008, Lane Departure Warning and Active Cruise Control featuring a Stop & Go function.
The standard iDrive control system, newly provided with six programmable memory keys, as well as an available navigation system with voice recognition, enhance the long-distance touring comfort of the BMW 5 Series.
Exterior design: sporting character with new elegance.
New highlights in design and ongoing refinement ensure even greater harmony of sporting character and sophisticated elegance in the BMW 5 Series Sedan and Sports Wagon. The headlights in their characteristic look, for example, now come with new clear glass technology, transparent glass panels covering the direction indicators, and chrome surrounds highlighting the technically sophisticated character of the round headlights.
The surrounds on the BMW double kidney grille, in turn, are now flush with the surfaces on the front air dam, and the air intake sweeping up at the side along the same dynamic line as the headlight contours also contributes to the smooth, harmonious and friendly look of the front end. And last but not least, the horizontal trim bar in the middle highlights the wide track of the car and its muscular stance on the road.
An additional light contour along the side-sills gives the body of both the Sedan and Sports Wagon a sleeker, more stretched look from the side. The rear end, in turn, is dominated by horizontal lines highlighting the look of superior power. Like the headlights at the front, the rear lights also come in a new, sophisticated clear-glass look and now feature LED direction indicators. And last but certainly not least, the trim bar around the rear number plate is now defined more smoothly and precisely on the Sedan.
Refined and sophisticated style within the interior.
Enhanced control comfort, new design and particularly sophisticated materials give the interior of the new BMW 5 Series a new standard of quality the driver and passengers will see and feel at first sight. Pearl Gloss Chrome, the very pleasant rubber finish on the controls for smooth and easy handling, comfortable padding on the door armrests and panels as well as on the center console all contribute to the style and class of the interior. At the same time, additional storage options give the new BMW 5 Series an enhanced standard of practical function.
The most striking feature is the twin-tone finish on the door panels: black door trim bars at the top and the lower panel section in the interior color, together with elegantly sweeping bars, take up and continue the look and materials used on the dashboard. The buttons for window lifts and mirror adjustment have been integrated in the armrest, just as the handles for closing the doors have been optimized in their ergonomic design. The door pockets, integrated more effectively than before in the door panels, provide greater storage capacity for enhanced convenience on the road.
In its appealing look and ideal ergonomics, the new electrical gear selector lever for the automatic transmission merges perfectly into the stylish interior. Control of the iDrive vehicle management system has also been enhanced. Apart from enhanced menu guidance and refined graphics, the new programmable memory keys ensure more intuitive control and operation. These keys allow the driver and front passenger to access important functions quickly, smoothly and easily: A single button press will activate, for example, a specific destination, a frequently dialed telephone number, or a preferred radio station saved in advance.
Power units: opening up a new dimension of Efficient Dynamics.
Depending on the specific engine involved, the various models in the new BMW 5 Series come with a range of technologies and features serving to minimize fuel consumption and emissions. For example, one such technology is Brake Energy Regeneration, which concentrates the generation of electricity for the on-board network on the car’s overrun and brake phases.
Operating on-demand, the electrical coolant pump in the new BMW 5 Series 6-cylinder engines consumes significantly less power than a conventional pump and helps the engine reach its normal operating temperature earlier. The Varioserv steering assistance pump, varying the curve ring as a function of pressure and volume flow, avoids the usual increase in drive losses as a function of higher engine speeds. And when the driver and passengers do not require the air conditioning, the a/c compressor is disconnected to reduce drag forces to a minimum.
New 6-cylinder engines for a perfect combination of muscle and refinement
Two 6-cylinder versions will be available in the US. The powerful 535i models feature BMW’s newest inline six-cylinder engine with twin turbochargers and an intercooler for 300 incredibly flexible horsepower, thanks to high precision direct fuel injection with piezo injectors. The 528i variants feature a 230-hp 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine with Valvetronic technology and aluminum/magnesium construction.
The 535i models are powered by the world’s first inline six-cylinder with Twin Turbo and High Precision Direct Injection technology and an all-aluminum crankcase. Rated at 300 hp at 5,800 rpm and 300 lb-ft of torque at 1,400 – 5,000 rpm, this 3.0-liter engine offers cutting-edge performance thanks to the theories behind BMW’s Efficient Dynamics.
Using high-tech materials allows the engine to be a lightweight performer, which helps BMW achieve near 50/50 weight distribution on this and all of its vehicles. Low inertia turbocharger internals and high precision direct fuel injection makes turbo lag nearly non-existent as peak torque starts at a mere 1,400 rpm. High precision direct injection is also ideal for lean burn operation. In the lean burn mode, various intercepting layers of the fuel and air form within the combustion chamber. The fuel/air mixture is therefore particularly rich and ignitable only in the direct vicinity of the spark plug and once ignited, the flame travels to the leaner layers further from the spark plug for a clean, smooth and consistent combustion process. Redline is still an impressive 7,000 rpm and compression ratio is 10.2:1. Typical of a BMW engine are incredible smoothness, fast-revving response and refined power at all engine speeds.
The 528i models are equipped with a 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine that delivers 230 smooth horsepower at a peak of 6,500rpm and 200 lb-ft of torque at 2,750 rpm. Featuring BMW’s innovative Valvetronic engine system, which eliminates the conventional throttle body for throttle control, efficiency and power are available over a broader range for silky-smooth operation. The magnesium/aluminum block is a perfect example of BMW Efficient Dynamics where lightweight technology is at work and where efficiency can be felt at the accelerator pedal.
The 550i’s V-8
The 550i’s predecessor was widely acclaimed by most who drove or tested the 545i, not merely for its strong, fuel-efficient power, but also for its highly pleasing sound. Car and Driver (May ’04) summed it up as “among the friendliest, most enthusiastic engines in existence.“ With 4.8 liters, the 550i’s V-8 delivers even more brilliant performance. Peak power is 360 hp; peak torque is 360 lb-ft.
To further enhance performance, the optional 550i Sport Package newly includes an Aero Kit, modified-calibration Sport suspension, 19” wheels and performance tires, and a short shift lever, in addition to Multi-Contour seats with lumbar support, sport steering wheel, sport exhaust system, and Active Roll Stabilization.
Optional: six-speed automatic transmission and automatic sports mode.
As an option and, indeed, as a highly interesting alternative to the standard six-speed manual gearbox, all model variants in the BMW 5 Series are available with a six-speed automatic transmission as a no-extra-cost option.
Apart from the direct connection to the engine, this transmission stands out in particular through its upgraded hydraulics, innovative torque converter and even more powerful management software, ensuring a more spontaneous response to even the slightest movement of the gas pedal and an extremely fast and efficient gearchange. On the road, this means reaction times now some 40 per cent faster than on former automatic transmission models, with the actual gearchange time being almost halved. Shifting back a gear is now just as fast, too, thanks to the direct gear path finder.
The automatic transmission is controlled by an electronic gear selector lever following the usual gearshift pattern. The new gear selector lever moves back to its initial position once the gear selected is in mesh, with the transmission itself masterminded not in a mechanical process, but rather via electrical signals.
As an additional alternative, the optional six-speed Sport Automatic Transmission will be available in the BMW 550i and 535i equipped with the optional Sport Package. This new transmission offers the high standard of motoring comfort so typical of the latest generation of automatic transmissions and at the same time allows the driver to shift gears in even more sporting style in the manual mode, the driver choosing gears sequentially either by means of the gear selector lever introduced exclusively for this special transmission or by means of gearshift paddles on the steering wheel. The Sport Automatic will be available beginning with June 2007 production.
Active Steering for unique driving comfort.
Standard in the BMW 5 Series, Servotronic serves to vary the degree of steering assistance as a function of road speed. At the same time, the BMW 5 Series has optionally available Active Steering, varying the steering angle in accordance with vehicle speed: with the same movement of the steering wheel, the front wheels will move further to the left and right at low speeds than at high speeds. This allows the driver to maneuver the car with less effort and force on the steering when parking, while at high speeds it is easier to remain precisely on track.
Even more precise: BMW xDrive all-wheel-drive system for the 5 Series.
BMW’s intelligent xDrive all-wheel-drive system, available as an alternative
to standard rear-wheel drive, offers a particular experience in superior traction. Permanent and variable distribution of power provided by xDrive gives the BMW 528xi and 535xi Sedans and 535xi Sports Wagon supreme driving characteristics on a variety of terrain and driving conditions. Distributing the power of the engine via an electronically controlled multiple-plate clutch variably to all four wheels, xDrive significantly enhances the dynamic driving qualities of the Sedan and Sports Wagon. And to ensure even more precise control of the drivetrain, the DSC and xDrive computer units are now networked with one another in a new, innovative concept.
Cruise Control with braking function.
Standard on all 2008 BMW 5 Series models is Cruise Control, complete with a special braking function. Contrary to conventional cruise control, this intelligent new system is able to control the road speed of the car not just via the drag force generated by the engine and by shifting down on models with automatic transmission, but also by activating the brakes, thus keeping the car at a consistent speed when, say, driving downhill for a long distance. And using the Curve Speed Limiter, the system is also able to reduce road speed in bends whenever required for reasons of driving dynamics.
Active Cruise Control complete with Stop & Go.
Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go offers the driver greater support and ease of motoring. This innovative system, available as an option on automatic transmission versions of the new BMW 5 Series, comes with automatic distance control enabling the driver to cruise along smoothly and conveniently on highways or country roads. The system keeps a consistent following distance from the vehicle ahead even in stop-and-go traffic at very low speeds and applying the brakes where necessary until the car reaches a standstill.
The system uses radar sensors of the latest generation with an enlarged area of vision, offering the driver a choice of four distance settings. Once the distance the driver has chosen to the vehicle ahead is no longer maintained, the system will intervene, building up brake pressure to control the car accordingly. Then, once the road ahead is free again, Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go will accelerate the car to the set speed.
This sophisticated control system is also able to reduce speed automatically to a standstill as a function of traffic conditions. In this case, Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go slows the car to a standstill and holds it in position. The maximum brake force applied by Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go is 4 meters/sec2. Should the driver be required to intervene because the vehicle ahead is being decelerated very hard, the driver is warned to intervene by visual and acoustic signals.
In stop-and-go traffic, the system helps the driver by automatically maintaining the appropriate distance from the vehicle ahead, relieving the driver constantly having to apply the brakes in slow and unsmooth traffic. However, the driver still retains his responsibility, since after, for example, a short stop of more than three seconds, he is required to briefly press down the accelerator pedal or press the Resume button in order to re-accelerate the car. And even when Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go is activated, the driver is able to control the speed of his car at any time simply by giving gas or applying the brakes. Depressing the brake pedal while driving deactivates the system.
Keeping reliably on course: Lane Departure Warning.
To enhance driver awareness, the new BMW 5 Series is available with a newly developed and unique assistance system helping to keep the car on course in the lane chosen by the driver. Referred to as “Lane Departure Warning”, this innovative system identifies any deviations from the correct course of the car and, if the turn signal has not been used, gives the driver a discreet but tangible vibrating signal in the steering wheel itself. The Lane Departure Warning system consists of a camera fitted near the interior mirror on the windscreen, a control unit serving to compare data, and a signaling device.
Head-Up Display and driver support in poor weather with limited visibility.
The BMW 5 Series is the only car in its segment available with a Head-Up Display. Activating this function, the driver has the benefit of receiving information and data particularly relevant for motoring directly in front of his eyes on the windscreen. As an example, the current speed of the car or navigation data is in the direct line of vision with maximum convenience at all times.
In combination with the available xenon headlights, the new BMW 5 Series comes with a daytime running light function (selectable via Vehicle memory System) using the corona rings in the dual round headlights. The headlights include Adaptive Headlight technology, illuminating the road ahead following the curves taken by the driver. In this case, the headlights swivel in accordance with the position of the steering wheel, the yaw rate of the car, and its road speed. In addition, the Cornering Light function adjusts the direction of the headlights when turning corners at less than 25 mph.
Unique in this segment, BMW Night Vision is based on a thermal imaging camera able to detect people, animals and objects, on and next to the road, up to a distance of almost 1,000 feet, transmitting a clear, high-contrast image to the Control Display.
Unique and premium equipment.
Offering a wide range of safety and comfort features, the new BMW 5 Series makes every trip an experience in pleasure. To supplement the wide range of standard equipment, the 5 Series is available with a wide choice of high-tech audio, navigation, Bluetooth and telematic functions.
New for 2008 is an optional iPod/USB Adapter that will accommodate an iPod as well as other MP3 players, and will also allow the vehicle to be equipped with a CD changer at the same time. With this option, the driver will have full control of iPod functions and menus via the steering wheel audio controls. Other available features include HD Radio, now with multicasting reception capability, SIRIUS satellite radio, and a Navigation system that now includes Real Time Traffic Information.