BMW’s current 5-Series has been around since the 2011 model year and was given a mid-cycle update for 2014. Now we have a new set of spy shots of a prototype for the next-generation 5-Series, this time testing at the Nürburgring. At present, we're expecting the new car on the market sometime in 2016, as a 2017 model.
Following the launch of the carbon fiber-bodied i3 and i8, BMW is set to revolutionize the way it builds cars once again, starting with a new modular platform dubbed 35up that will debut in the next-generation 7-Series due out soon. Now that development work on the new 7-Series is complete, attention turns to the next 35up-based model, the new 5-Series—the platform will eventually make its way into virtually all BMWs sized from the 3-Series up.
The 35up platform is one of BMW’s key strategies for meeting tougher fuel economy standards as well as increased demand for fuel-efficient vehicles. Using construction techniques learned from developing the i3 and i8 electrified vehicles, the 35up platform will incorporate some lightweight materials such as aluminum and carbon fiber-reinforced plastic in addition to conventional steel—demonstrated in the construction of the new 7-Series shown here.
2016 BMW 7-Series multi-material constructionEnlarge Photo
Thanks to its lightweight underpinnings, expect the new 5-Series to weigh around 220 pounds less than the current model, which means the lightest versions could end up tipping the scales at less than 3,300 pounds. The car’s size and proportions appear similar to the current model, as the spy shots confirm, which means an overall length of about 16 feet and width of just over six feet.
As for the styling, it appears designers are planning an evolution of the current model’s themes but with more sculpted surfaces and elements borrowed from the recent BMW Future Luxury concept. Responsible for the new look is a team led by the design chief for the BMW brand, Karim Habib.
In addition to the new 5-Series sedan, expect to see new versions of the 5-Series Touring wagon as well as the related 5-Series Gran Turismo. These additional variants should appear six to 12 months after the sedan.
As for engines, expect four-, six- and eight-cylinder options to remain, all with direct-injection and turbocharging technologies. A high-performance M5 and fuel-efficient plug-in hybrid model are also planned.