Mike Stevens | Mar 12, 2009

At first glance, the news that the next BMW 5 Series will feature an all-steel chassis instead of a part-aluminium construction – such as in the current model – seems like a step backwards.

And perhaps technologically it is. It won't be lost though. There's no doubt that BMW will have learned a lot about aluminium construction technologies that we will see again in future models.

bmw_5-series_aluminium-front-end Above: The aluminium front-end of the current BMW 5 Series.

Specifically it is the cost and complexity of manufacture for the current model’s aluminium space-frame front end – attached to the otherwise steel body – that BMW has found too great to bear.

Originally devised to provide improved weight distribution and cut weight, the process proved to be too costly. According to a BMW insider, it was “an expensive solution and troubling to perfect in large-scale production".

For the same reasons, BMW dropped the same approach to the new 7 Series.

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