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Geneva show: BMW goes Touring again

Light on: BMW’s latest 5 Series Touring wagon has shed 100kg under the same weight-saving program as the new 5 Series sedan.

BMW previews bigger gen-five 5 Series Touring ahead of mid-year European launch

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BMW logo1 Feb 2017

BMW’S larger-but-lighter luxury load-lugger, the fifth-generation 5 Series Touring, has been revealed ahead of its global debut at the Geneva motor show next month.

Based on the all-new 5 Series sedan that makes its Australian showroom entrance within weeks, the latest five-door wagon is 100kg lighter than the outgoing generation but can carry an extra 120kg of cargo, thanks to a new rear air suspension system that becomes standard across the range.

The new Touring is scheduled to go on sale in Europe in June, but BMW Australia is yet to say if the new model will make it to this market as a replacement for the superseded model that is sold in two variants – the $93,300 (plus on-road costs) 520d and $123,900 535i.

Product communications manager Adam Davis told GoAuto that BMW Australia was definitely interested in the new Touring, but that a decision to import it had yet to be made.

Rival Mercedes-Benz has confirmed the All-Terrain version of its E-Class Estate wagon for Australia, but is yet to determine if the conventional rear-wheel-drive wagon will be offered in new-generation guise.

For Europe, the Touring will be launched with a choice of four powertrains – two petrol and two diesel – lifted from the sedan.

The petrol line-up opens with the 185kW/350Nm 2.0-litre four cylinder for the 530i, and moves up to a 250kW/450Nm 3.0-litre six-cylinder for the 540i. The 535i has been dropped.

Diesel engines are the 2.0-litre 140kW/400Nm four cylinder for the 520d and 3.0-litre 195kW/620Nm six cylinder for the 330d.

Most models will come with BMW’s ubiquitous eight-speed automatic transmission, with the European 520d also offered in six-speed manual form.

Fuel efficiency has been improved by up to 11 per cent, thanks to the 5 Series weight loss program that BMW says also contributes to improved agility. A wider track at the front and back also helps handling.

The 540i Touring comes standard with all-wheel-drive xDrive, while the 530d will be produced in a choice of rear-wheel drive or xDrive, for Europe at least.

So far, BMW is tight-lipped on whether the Touring will get a version with the promised plug-in hybrid powertrain from the sedan, or if it is planning a high-performance variant with technology from the upcoming twin-turbo V8 M5 flagship.

At 4943mm long, 1868mm wide and 1498mm tall, the new wagon is 36mm longer, 8mm wider and 10mm taller than before.

A marginally longer (by 7mm) 2975mm wheelbase is said to have contributed to a significant increase in cabin space, with more head and shoulder room in all seating positions.

The back seat is said to deliver greater passenger comfort thanks to re-designed backrest contours, greater seat depth and more knee room.

Boot capacity has grown 10 litres, to 570L, with the new 40/20/40 split-fold rear seat in the upright position. With the seat folded, cargo room grows to 1700 litres – 30 litres more than before.

That rear seat folding mechanism can be released with a press of a button in the boot, while the hatch gets electric closing as standard, with a hands-free version an option.

As before, the Touring retains the old-style flip-up rear hatch window to save having to open the whole hatch to access smaller items.

A comprehensive suite of driver safety aids has made the jump from the latest sedan, including collision warning, autonomous city braking with pedestrian detection, lane keeping, active side collision protection, evasion aid and lane keeping assist at up to 210km/h.

BMW’s hazard warning system via a link from other BMW vehicles is also included, as is remote control parking using the BMW key.

Connectivity has been improved with the inclusion of features such as rear-time traffic reports, on-street parking information and calendar, email and contact detail via Microsoft Exchange.

The latest iDrive gets a touch controller and connects with a 10.25-inch touchscreen. The head-up display is beamed on to a 70 per cent larger projection surface.

LED headlights and daytime driving lights have automatic high-beam switching, but the more sophisticated variable light distribute with anti-dazzle high beam is optional.

Smartphones get inductive charging and a WiFi hotspot for up to 10 devices.

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