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BMW turns up heat with 5 Series price slash

Grunt: The second-quickest BMW 5 Series is the diesel 535d, with a 0-100km/h sprint time just cut by two tenths to 5.5 seconds.

Game on as new four-pot 5 Series reduces entry price of mid-size BMW by $5000

13 Oct 2011

BMW Australia will slice the price of entry to its 5 Series range by more than $5000 next month when the mid-size luxury sedan gets frugal four-cylinder petrol power as part of range-wide update that includes price cuts of up to $14,000.

The all-new turbo-charged 2.0-litre TwinPower engine – which will be employed across a broad range of BMW models, including the Z4, 1 Series, 3 Series and X1 – sweetens the price by helping the 5 Series escape the luxury car tax (LCT) by coming in under the federal government fuel economy threshold of 7.1 litres per 100km.

As previously reported by GoAuto, the 5 Series will get the new engine in two states of tune – 135kW and 180kW – with the former powering a reborn 520i and the latter replacing the 3.0-litre normally aspirated inline six-cylinder engine in the 528i.

Like other engines in the range, both 2.0-litre engine variants will be mated with the latest eight-speed ZF automatic transmission as standard.

The 520i becomes the new entry point to the 5 Series, at $77,900 (plus on-road costs) – $5400 cheaper than the previous price leader and top-selling 5 Series variant, the $83,300 520d, which itself has come in for a price trim, to $80,700.

14 center imageFrom top: BMW TwinPower four-cylinder engine, BMW 5 Series, BMW Z4, BMW 1 Series.

By contrast, the most affordable Mercedes-Benz E class, the 250 CGI Avant, is $93,300, while the cheapest Audi A6 is the $93,900 2.8 FSI quattro.

The BMW 520i is also more than $22,000 cheaper than the previous most affordable petrol model, the $99,900 six-cylinder 528i, which copped an LCT hit because of its combined fuel consumption rating of 8.0L/100km.

The new four-cylinder 528i comes in at $98,200, and although it gives up a full litre of engine capacity to its predecessor, BMW claims the new model is 0.4 seconds faster from zero to 100km/h, at 6.3 seconds.

Fuel economy for the 528i is slashed to 6.7 l/100km, and C02 emissions improve by 22g to 156g/km.

The combined fuel reading for the new 520i is 6.4L/100km, which is superior to the most fuel-efficient petrol-powered rivals in its class, such as the Mercedes-Benz E250 CGI BlueEfficiency (7.2L/100km) and Audi A6 2.8 quattro (8.0L/100km).

The petrol 520i’s CO2 reading of 149g/km is not far outside the Mercedes diesel E-class E250 CDI’s 141g/km.

But these figures come up short of BMW’s own benchmark diesel 520d, that now achieves a laudable 4.7L/100km – down from 5.1L/100km – and improves on its previous class-leading CO2 emissions reading of 139g/km.

The new four-cylinder petrol engines, which will arrive next in the Z4 next month, come as part of a 2012 model-year refresh for the 5 Series, which is engaged in a toe-for-toe battle with fellow German contender, Mercedes E class, for sales leadership in the prestige segment.

So far this year, the Benz leads, 1122 sales to the BMW’s 1042, with both outselling the third-placed Audi A6 by a factor of two to one.

Although BMW is reluctant to publicly commit to sales projections, it clearly expects the new variants to draw more well-heeled motorists to the brand, if only on value alone.

The changes to the 5 Series have been announced in the same week as the Australian launch of the all-new 1 Series hatchback, in which BMW has employed a similar strategy by introducing a smaller, 1.6-litre form of the new TwinPower turbo engine to drive down the price of entry to the BMW range to less than $37,000.

The new 520i gets 17-inch alloy wheels, idle-stop, dynamic driving control, EcoPro economy driving mode, “Business” sat-nav, front and rear park distance control, cruise control with braking function, USB audio interface, Bluetooth, climate control, rain sensing wipers and auto headlights.

The new 528i gains dynamic driving control, EcoPro economy mode, electric seat adjustment, “Professional” navigation system, idle-stop, internet functionality and active safety protection – the latter now standard across all 5 Series models.

Others in the range have also come in for a lift, with engine tweaks, price cuts and specification changes.

Apart from better fuel economy, the 520d gains items such as idle-stop and a price cut of $2600, to $80,700.

Modifications to the 535d’s six-cylinder TwinPower turbo diesel engine deliver a 10kW power boost, to 230kW, while cutting fuel consumption by eight per cent.

This helps to trim the 535d’s 0-100km/h sprint time by 0.2 seconds, to 5.5 seconds.

But the most impressive trimming has been done on the price, which comes down from $134,400 to $120,900 – a crunch of $13,500.

The petrol 535i has been given an even greater haircut, down from $129,600 to $115,600 – a cut of $14,000.

However, BMW says the repositioning of the models offers a $7000 improvement in value, suggesting some features have bitten the dust to help achieve the new price points.

The fuel economy of 535i has been trimmed to 7.7L/100km – a cut of 0.7L/100km thanks to the addition of idle-stop – while the 0-100km/h sprint now happens in 5.9 seconds, compared with 6.1 sec before.

The flagship V8 550i remains at $179,900, but BMW is claiming a $3000 improvement in value due to added features.

While customers will have to wait until next month for the arrival of the new four-cylinder models, the other undated variants are said to be available immediately.

The 5 Series sedan range will be completed next March when the 412kW M5 arrives Down Under.

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