BMW is treading down a more technical path, introducing even on its core vehicles carbon fiber construction, downsized engines and advanced interface systems. The strategy hasn’t worked so well for the latest 7-Series, whose sales pale in comparison to those of the S-Class, but there’s a good chance it will hit home with the more technology focused and less conservative buyers typical of its 3- and 5-Series.
Eventually, we expect the range to be expanded with a 530e iPerformance plug-in hybrid model and M550i and M5 performance-oriented models. The latter should stick with the outgoing M5’s twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V-8, albeit with output dialed up to 600 hp or more. The quickest for now is the 540i with all-wheel drive. It will sprint from 0-60 mph in 4.7 seconds. Top speed on all models is 130 mph, though as an option BMW will lift this to 155 mph.
Another new feature is an electronic anti-roll system, which replaces the previous model’s hydraulic setup. The anti-roll bars are now actuated by means of electric “swivel” motors. The new system is said to be quicker and more precise, as well as lighter and more frugal in its energy consumption. On top of this, there is a driving modes selector that adjusts various dynamic settings like the steering, suspension damping and transmission shifting program.
The standard front seats are 16-way (20-way seats with massage function are available) electrically adjustable, including adjustable side bolsters for optimum lateral support. Other enhancements include decorative stitching for the optional Dakota leather trim and quilting for the optional Nappa leather trim. This treatment is also available on the rear seats which feature a 40:20:40 split. The trunk has a volume of 18.7 cubic feet and has an available motion-opening feature.
Finally, it’s worth mentioning some of the new electronic driving aids being offered. One of the more advanced features is called the Active Driving Assistant. This can take evasive action in the case of an emergency.