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At last, BMW’s 5 Series wagon slips into Oz

Wagons ho: BMW's new 5 Series Touring finally adds a diesel variant that is set to dominate sales.

BMW finally goes Touring with new diesel 5 Series wagon

28 Jan 2011

BMW Australia is expecting diesel power to dominate sales of its new fourth-generation 5 Series Touring that has been eased on to the Australian market since November.

The entry-level 520d Touring – the first diesel-powered 5 Series wagon ever offered in this country – is expected to also drive a big increase in incremental sales of the latest wagon, thanks to its relatively affordable $92,800 starting price and high fuel efficiency.

That price undercuts rival Mercedes-Benz’s $105,500 E250 CDI Avant diesel wagon by $12,700, while also coming in at $46,100 cheaper than BMW’s alternative petrol-powered 535i Touring flagship, at $138,900.

BMW has waited until now to make a song and dance about the wagon version of its mid-sized 5 Series luxury car, as just a trickle of the vehicles have made to Australian shores to date.

Revealed at Germany’s Leipzig motor show back in April last year, with pricing for Australia announced in August, the new wagon was originally expected to be pushed into the spotlight in Australia in the fourth quarter of 2010.

But with BMW registering strong European sales of the latest luggage-lugger, Australia was on rations until the end of 2010.

BMW sold just 300 of the previous models in Australia in five years, compared with 7000 5 Series sedans, with the Bavarian car-maker’s new generation of sexier ‘X’ SUVs – especially the X5 – drawing buyers wanting wagon practicality.

Now, the company expects the stylish Touring to claw back volume, courtesy of buyers wanting a more car-like driving experience and efficiency.

BMW Australia head of corporate communications Piers Scott told GoAuto that the Touring would appeal to a “very particular customer”.

However, he said the advent of diesel and a much lower entry level price than previously would attract a larger audience.

Mr Scott said the percentage of diesel sales in a given model tended to increase as the model aged, but the Touring would start with a high diesel content high and grow higher.

14 center imageTop and middle: BMW 5-Series Touring. Bottom: 5-Series sedan interior.

As GoAuto has already reported, the 5 Series Touring is available in just two specifications – the diesel four-cylinder 520d and TwinPower turbo petrol six-cylinder 535i.

The 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel is identical to the powerplant of the 520d sedan, producing 135kW of power at 4000rpm and peak torque of 380Nm between 1750rpm and 2750rpm.

Fuel consumption is rated at a low 5.3L/100km on the combined cycle, while CO2 emissions are just 139g/km.

ZF’s eight-speed automatic transmission is standard, while a sports-shift version is an option.

The diesel Touring sprints to 100km/h in 8.3 seconds – 0.2 seconds slower than the slightly lighter sedan.

But if performance is the key criteria, buyers can step up to the 3.5-litre turbo-charged petrol-powered 535i Touring, with the same straight-six blown engine as the 5 Series Gran TurismoWith a maximum output of 225kW at 5800rpm and peak torque of 400Nm from 1200rpm to 5000rpm, the engine drives the rear wheels through the sports version of the eight-speed automatic transmission, with steering-wheel paddle shifts.

The extra power lops more than two seconds from the 0-100km/h drag, hitting the highway speed in 6.1 seconds – the same timeframe as the 535i sedan.

Fuel consumption is said to be 8.5L/100km, while CO2 emissions are rated at 197g/km.

The price of both Touring models are at a premium over the equivalent sedan versions – around $9500 more – but BMW says both vehicles boast an array of extra features exclusive to the wagon.

In the 520d Touring, the gear includes aluminium roof rails, adjustable rear seat tilt, a cargo net, automated tailgate opener, auto parking and a rear-view camera.

The 535i Touring gets those features and built-in rear passenger window shades.

The 5 Series Touring is based on a cut-down version of the 7 Series platform, affording the longest wheelbase in its class – 2968mm – and an overall length of 4907mm.

The wagons share the sedan’s all-aluminium double-wishbone front suspension and Integral V rear axle, but the Touring self-levelling air rear suspension to cope with the heavier loads.

This compensates for changes in loads, providing a constant vehicle height under all driving and load conditions.

Befitting its sports bent, the 535i Touring is also fitted standard with BMW's Dynamic Driving Control with three modes – Normal, Sport and Sport+.

The 520d Touring adds BMW’s Dynamic Driving Control when the buyer ticks the box for the optional sports automatic transmission, Integral Active Steering or Dynamic Damper Control. The latter gets electronically controlled continuously variable damping.

That is just one of a number of electronic aids that can be added to both Touring models for extra levels of driving control, safety or comfort.

The 520d Touring is shod with 17-inch alloy wheels, while the 535i goes one size bigger with 18-inch alloys.

If they aren’t sufficiently fancy, yet another box can be ticked to the full M Sport Package – 18-inch double spoke alloy wheels, aerodynamic body kit, sports seats, M leather steering wheel and interior trim highlights, and a lowered sports suspension (which can be deleted as a no-cost option).

Luggage capacity ranges from 560 litres with the rear seats in normal position to 1670 litres with the seats fully folded. However, the seats can split in a variety of ways and also be adjusted increases luggage capacity by 30 litres.

The tailgate’s window can be opened separately to load smaller items, while the window and hatch can both be operated from the remote control.

That key fob also provides keyless start/stop, activating a start button when the fob is in the driver’s pocket or handbag.

The dash layout is identical to that of the sedan. Dakota leather interior upholstery is standard in a choice of six colours, while Nappa leather is optional in black or a mix of ‘oyster’ and black.

The 5 Series Touring is available in black, white or a choice of 11 other metallic exterior colours (non-cost option for 535i).

Standard equipment on both models includes dual-zone climate control, power operated windows and heated exterior mirrors, electric front seat adjustment (four-way for the 520d and full adjustment with lumbar support and driver seat memory for the 535i), front and rear foglights, automatic headlights and windscreen wipers, Bluetooth connectivity, iDrive controller with eight favourites buttons, BMW Navigation Business system with 7-inch display screen and auxiliary and USB inputs for connecting an external personal audio player such as an iPod.

The 535i Touring adds adaptive bi-xenon headlights with high-beam assist, sun blinds for the rear side windows, comfort access system, and an upgraded 205-Watt audio system with 12 speakers.

It also receives a sports leather steering wheel, ambient lighting and two-zone air-conditioning.

A massive list of options can be added, sending the price skyrocketing.

2011 BMW 5 SeriesTouringpricing:
520d Touring (a)$92,800
535i Touring (a)$138,900

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