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Future models - BMW - 5 Series

Updated BMW 5 Series surfaces

Five of the best: BMW’s 5 Series gains equipment upgrades and powertrain improvements when it arrives late this year.

Entry-level 518d diesel could kick off BMW 5 Series range if green lit for Oz

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BMW logo20 May 2013

BMW’s 5 Series range could add a cheaper entry-level diesel model when the refreshed mid-sizer arrives in Australia later this year.

While not yet confirmed for Australia, the 518d’s performance drops 30kW and 20Nm compared with the 2.0-litre four cylinder version used in the 520d, and betters that model’s fuel use by 0.2 litres per 100 kilometres with an official European figure of 4.5L/100km.

This just beats Mercedes-Benz’s heavily revised E220 CDI diesel that arrives in Australia in June with claimed fuel use of 4.7L/100km, and sips even less fuel than hybrid offerings including the Lexus GS450h (6.3L/100km) and even BMW’s own green machine, the ActiveHybrid 5 (6.4L/100km).

If the 518d gets an Australian berth, it is likely to undercut the existing entry-level diesel 520d that starts from $81,300 and could even be cheaper than the petrol 520i that kicks off the 5 Series range at $78,500.

The cheapest diesel in the upcoming E-Class range is the E200CDI that retails from $82,400.

BMW Group Australia general manager of corporate communications Lenore Fletcher said it was too early to comment on powertrains and specifications, but said to expect a fourth-quarter on-sale date for the updated 5 Series.

Subtle revisions to the exterior of the sedan and wagon include restyled lower air intakes, while the rear gets an extra crease in the apron and slimmer tail-lights.

BMW hasn’t ignored the 5 Series Gran Turismo, giving the coupe-like cruiser a redesigned rear end and minor changes to the front.

The 2013 5 Series gets Xenon headlights as standard, with adaptive LED headlights an optional extra across the range.

Subtle updates continue in the cabin with the addition of chrome trim and bigger storage compartments and cup holders.

The Gran Turismo also gains an extra 60 litres of boot space, bringing its capacity to 500 litres.

As a part of the first update to the range that originally went on sale in mid-2010, the German car-maker has upped the options list to include a tablet-like entertainment system for rear-seat passengers, a Harmon Kardon sound system and new ambient lighting that swaps between orange and white.

BMW has included the option of a hands-free tailgate that opens or closes with the swing of a foot under the rear bumper, in much the same way as Ford’s recently released Kuga SUV.

Extras that add appeal to business professionals include a dictation function that can write and send texts and emails, and social media and office applications that are accessible via a smartphone or the vehicle’s integrated SIM card.

BMW has made improvements to safety with a night vision system that detects humans and animals as potential road hazards and new glare-free high beam lighting.

An optional ‘Driving Assistant Plus’ package features what appears to be an automated driving system that keeps the car in a single lane in heavy traffic at speeds less than 40km/h.

Active cruise control, collision warning with emergency braking assist and assisted parking will also be available as options as a part of the upgrade.

BMW claims a number of measures have helped reduce fuel use in some variants, including a new coasting mode that disengages the powertrain and a more slippery design for the 520d.

Ms Fletcher said that she was not concerned about the impact that the facelifted E-Class might have on sales when it arrives next month.

“We are conscious of our competitors but we don’t necessarily obsess over our competitors,” she said.

“We are very confident in our product and the line-up we well be bringing out in the fourth quarter will be a fantastic line-up for that segment. We are very confident about our ability to remain very prominent in that segment.”

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