Tony O'Kane | Aug 2, 2010

BMW HAS lifted the lid on the upcoming 2011 5 Series Touring, which is due to arrive in Australian showrooms in October this year.

An entirely-new replacement for the current 5 Series Touring, the 2011 5 Series Touring will be available in both diesel and petrol guise.

With the current 5 Series wagon range comprised of only the petrol-powered 530i, BMW hopes the addition of an oil-burning powerplant will broaden the appeal of its mid-sized wagon.

Styling

The 5 Series Touring grafts an attractive (and commodious) wagon rump onto the restyled nose of the new 5 Series sedan.

Compared to the outgoing model, the new 5 Series Touring appears more muscular, more sculpted and more athletic. Subtle rear wheelarch flares prevent the car’s flanks from looking too slabby, and a strong character line runs from the front wheelarches to the taillights.

A panoramic glass sunroof will be available as an option, and the 5 Series Touring’s overall shape should prove to be less polarizing than that of the segment-splitting 5 Series GT.

Functionally, the new wagon loses nothing to the car it replaces. The boot aperture is both wide and tall, and the two-part tailgate features power-actuated separately-opening glass (handy for loading small items, like shopping bags).

In an effort to reduce kerb mass and lower fuel consumption, the body of the new 5 Series Touring will incorporate more exotic materials. The doors, bonnet and front fenders are all made out of aluminium, while suspension links are also cast alloy.

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

Interior

From the B-pillar forward, the 5 Series Touring shares its cabin fit-out with its sedan stablemate.

Due to the changed roofline and longer wheelbase of the wagon, the rear doorcards are different. The rear seat is also unique to the Touring, with the backrest featuring up to 11 degrees of tilt adjustability.

With the rear seats up and the cargo cover in place, up to 560 litres of luggage can be carried in the boot space. The 40:20:40 split rear seats can be folded down via two boot-mounted levers, liberating up to 1670 litres of cargo capacity.

Equipment

Like the sedan, the 5 Series Touring will be equipped with a wide array of entertainment, driver assistance and safety systems.

Full specifications for Australian-market cars will be revealed later this year, but a full suite of driver assistance systems will be available, marketed under BMW’s ConnectedDrive brand.

These systems include a pedestrian-detecting night vision camera, active cruise control, collision detection system, lane departure warning, a blind spot monitoring system, automatic highbeams, a heads-up display, Surround View cameras and parking sensors.

Add to that the stability control, traction control, ABS, EBD and brake assist active safety systems offered by the 5 Series sedan (as well as its comprehensive suite of airbags).

Mechanical

Two powertrains have been confirmed for the local-market 5 Series Touring by BMW Australia.

The turbocharged 3.0 litre inline-six of the 535i will replace the current naturally-aspirated six cylinder used by the 530i Touring, and will produce a stout 225kW – 25kW more than the 530i.

The extra power developed by the TwinPower turbocharged six will propel the 535i Touring from zero to100km/h in a brisk 6.1 seconds, appreciably faster than the current 530i’s 0-100 sprint time of 6.9 seconds.

A diesel engine will also be offered in the 5 Series Touring for the first time in Australia, with the 520d Touring to be positioned as a fuel-efficient alternative to the high-powered 535i Touring.

Powered by a 135kW four-cylinder turbodiesel engine, the 520d is capable of consuming as little as 5.3 l/100km on the combined cycle, emitting 139g/km of carbon dioxide in the process.

An eight-speed automatic transmission is the standard transmission for both the 520d and 535i, and helps improve efficiency even further by allowing a greater spread of ratios. With a tiptronic mode as standard, the new transmission offers performance benefits for both cars too.

BMW’s EfficientDynamics technology will also be applied to the new wagon range, with both models featuring regenerative braking, on-demand engine ancillaries and electro-mechanical power steering. Active aerodynamic features help reduce drag too, and thus fuel consumption.

Both the 520d and 535i will feature self-levelling air suspension on the rear axle as standard, while front suspension will be the same double-wishbone setup used by the 5 Series sedan. Adjustable dampers and active steering will be optional.

Pricing

BMW 520d Touring - $92,800
BMW 535i Touring - $138,900

Note: prices are Manufacturer's List Price. Included are LCT and GST, while charges, stamp duty, statutory charges and on-road charges are excluded.

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