If there’s one thing that German automakers do better than the rest of the world is refreshing their current line-up. While some car companies slap on new lights and bumpers and call it a day, the Germans introduce nearly a whole new car. Nearly, because the design is still primarily based on the current model. And, the 2021 BMW G30 5 Series is no exception to the rule.
On the outside, BMW has given the 5 Series a nip and tuck, with a more edgy and angular design over its predecessor. At first glance, BMW seemed to have taken design cues from fellow German rivals Audi with the sculpted and aggressive front fascia. Following the unsavoury trend of massive grilles, the 5 Series follows suit with a larger kidney grille than before, both in height and width. The lower front end has had a sporty upgrade as well with more substantial and more aggressively styled air intakes.
The headlights have become slimmer to complement the angular theme of the front end. The standard LED headlights comes with U-shaped daytime running lights. At the same time, the Visibility Pack upgrades lighting to either Adaptive Matrix LED headlights or the very latest BMW Laserlights with High-beam Assistant.
You can tell these upgraded lighting systems apart from the standard LED with the L-shaped daytime running light. If you’re feeling fancy, customers can opt for the ‘BMW Individual Light Shadow Line’ for a sportier front fascia.
The LED taillights, on the other hand, form a C-shaped pattern and keep with the overall theme of the exterior design being slimmer and more contoured than its previous iteration. The rear bumpers have also been reshaped to accommodate a redesigned diffuser and twin trapezoidal tailpipes that really channel fumes from the engine.
The popular M Sport package features new 19- and 20-inch M Sport alloy wheels and the M aerodynamics package. A new M Sport Edition version will be available from launch in a limited worldwide production run of 1,000 units. Its exclusive specification includes the M Sport package, model-specific 20-inch Air Performance Wheels fitted to run-flat tyres, M red brake callipers and a choice of two exclusive exterior paints including Donington Grey and Tanzanite Blue.
As far as interiors go, BMW pretty much left the cabin untouched. Although nothing is wrong with the functional Teutonic interior, BMW has done some hardware enhancements by increasing the size of the central infotainment screen from 10.25 inches to 12.3 inches. Bigger is always better, right?
The BMW Live Cockpit Professional now operates on their latest Operating System 7.0, which comes with a whole host of digital upgrades. Key amongst other systems include BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant, which functions by learning the individual driver’s preferences to maximise in-car functionality for optimal creature comfort and convenience.
In terms of connectivity, BMW’s long criticised Smartphone Integration is now compatible with Apple CarPlay and finally, Android Auto as standard. Making its debut in the 5 Series, the Remote Software Upgrade function allows BMW to update the vehicles software functions over the air via a smartphone connected or using its built-in SIM card.
The key highlights of the G30 facelift 5 Series are far from all show and no go. In true German fashion, BMW has revamped the entire range of powertrain options for the 5 Series to include mild-hybrid and plug-in hybrid technology.
First introduced in the 2019 520D and 520D xDrive, BMW has gone ahead and introduced their mild-hybrid system to all their four- and six-cylinder engines. On the basis of improving comfort, performance and fuel economy, BMW has fitted a powerful 48V starter-generator and a second battery that stores electrical energy harvested from the onboard regenerative braking system.
Generating an additional 8 kW/11hp of power, the 48V starter-generator not only powers the electrical systems on the vehicle but also provides a boost of energy for off-the-line accelerations and overtaking. The generator also assists in lightening the engine load when Auto Start-Stop and coasting functions are engaged.
The facelift 5 Series also introduces plug-in hybrid with the latest fourth-generation battery technology to the four-cylinder BMW 530e sDrive/xDrive Saloon and the six-cylinder BMW 545e xDrive. For all you wagon lovers, BMW has taken the initiative to make the latest generation of BMW eDrive technology available on the BMW 530e Touring, for the first time ever.
Electrification is all well and good, but BMW didn’t stop there. The Bavarians have gone the extra mile and tweaked their internal combustion engines to be more efficient and more powerful than before. The new high-pressure direct injection system for the petrol engines grant more efficiency. The diesel engines will benefit from the two-stage turbocharging that will give better throttle response and sharper power delivery.
The 5 Series range comes with three choices of petrol-powered and two options of diesel-powered engines, all ranging from 184hp to 340hp. Given the current line-up in Malaysia, we can expect the 184hp 520i and the 530e Hybrid with 292hp sometime in the future. The granddaddy of the 5 Series range (excluding the M5 of course) is the M550i xDrive Saloon, with a 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 churning out 530hp. All variants are mated to an eight-speed Steptronic transmission. At the same time, BMW’s xDrive Intelligent AWD is available on the 520d, 530d, 530e, 540i, 545e and M550i models.
Being the ultimate driving machine isn’t all about raw power. BMW has taken liberties in the chassis department as well, with the 5 Series designed to marry the perfect blend between comfort and driving dynamics. M Sport, Adaptive M and Adaptive M Professional suspensions with active roll-stabilisation are all part of the extensive options list when it comes to chassis customisation. Red M brake callipers are also available with the M Sport Pro pack.
The facelifted G30 5 Series now also incorporates an extensive list of driving aids to take the strain out of long journeys and bolster its already comprehensive safety suite. The Driving Assistant Professional pack includes an updated Steering and Lane Control Assistant and introduces Active Navigation. This system uses navigation data to predict upcoming lane changes, and the command can be carried out using the Lane Change Assistant.
Parking Assistant, first introduced in the G20 3 Series, will now be available as standard throughout the 5 Series range. Reversing Assistant is included, which takes control of the steering while reversing for distances of up to 50 metres. Parking Assistant Plus, on the other hand, adds a Drive Recorder option, which uses the cars onboard cameras to record video footage from around the vehicle. In the event of a collision, the system will automatically record and save video footage 20 seconds before and after impact. No need for bulky after-market dash cams here.
The BMW 5 Series has always been the benchmark of premium luxury motor vehicles, blending effortless comfort and driving pleasure. The old man’s drivers car if you may. But recent efforts by Mercedes-Benz in their latest iterations of the E-Class have closed the gap, providing similar driving dynamics. And then surpasses the 5 Series in terms of comfort and technology.
With the two titans of German automobile prowess trading blows, no clear winner has emerged. But what can be said is that this newly facelifted G30 5 Series has undoubtedly got the right stuff to retain its crown.