BMW's updated 5 Series range, reported here last week, is now on sale in Australia. The revised line-up sees the introduction of the new entry-level 520i, an engine swap for the 528i and a more powerful and more frugal 535d diesel.
The Bavarian luxury brand has also added a range of new features and, thanks to lower fuel consumption figures, it all comes at a sharper price point.
For 2012, the 5 Series petrol line-up gets a new entry variant in the form of the 520i. Marking the debut of BMW's new four-cylinder 2.0 litre turbocharged petrol engine, the 520i offers 135kW at 5000rpm and 270Nm of torque between 1250rpm and 4000rpm.
Paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission, BMW says the 520i will hit 100km/h from standing in eight seconds.
With fuel consumption figures listed at just 6.4 l/100km, buyers looking at the 5 Series' petrol options will fly under the 7.1 l/100km Luxury Car Tax threshold and benefit from a new $77,900 entry point - well below the 528i's previous starting price of $99,900.
Standard features for the 520i include 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic stop/start function, dynamic driving control, ECO-PRO mode, the 'business' navigation package, front and rear park distance control, cruise control with braking function, USB and Bluetooth connectivity, automatic climate control, anti-dazzle interior mirrors, automatic wipers and headlights, and a through-loading system.
Formerly the entry-level model in the 5 Series' petrol range, the 528i has done away with its six-cylinder engine in favour of BMW's turbocharged N20 four-cylinder engine.
Compared to the outgoing six-cylinder engine, power is down from 190kW from to 180kW, but torque climbs from 310 to 350Nm.
Before now, the only Australian model also offering this engine was the lifestyle-focused Z4 sDrive28i.
While the Z4 enjoys a 0-100km/h time of 5.7 seconds, the larger 528i gets there in 6.3 seconds - still a hair quicker than the six-cylinder's 6.7 seconds.
Fuel consumption is the big winner here however, dropping from 8.0 l/100km for the current engine, to 6.7 litres when fitted with BMW's 8-speed steptronic automatic transmission.
The fuel economy figures of the new 528i see it slip below the 7.1 l/100km LCT threshold, giving it a reduced new starting price of $98,200.
Standard equipment for the 528i has improved for 2012, gaining dynamic driving control, ECO PRO mode, electric seat adjustment, the 'professional' navigation system, automatic start/stop function, internet functionality and active protection.
2012 535d Diesel and 535i Petrol
Modifications to the six-cylinder turbodiesel driving the 535d has boosted power by 10kW to 230kW, while fuel consumption has fallen by eight percent to 5.6 l/100km. The 0-100km/h run is now slightly quicker at 5.5 seconds (previously 5.7).
Similarly, the 535i benefits from fuel economy figures improved by 0.7 l/100km, and the 0-100km/h sprint is listed at 5.9 seconds - down from 6.1 seconds.
Both 535 variants have had their prices sharpened for 2012, the diesel falling from $134,400 to $120,900 and the petrol from $129,601 to $115,600.
Benefiting from the range-wide (except 550i) addition of BMW's automatic start/stop system, the entry-level 520d boasts fuel consumption figures of 4.7 l/100km, down from 5.2 l/100km.
The 520d's price has also fallen, from $83,301 to a new 5 Series starting price of $80,700.
The sub-M5 range-topping 550i remains unchanged mechanically, with its price staying at $179,900 for 2012 - although BMW says it has added a further $3000 worth of additional equipment.
BMW's new Active Protection package has also been made standard equipment across the 5 Series line-up, including the 550i.
The system provides electromechanical belt tensioning, closing the windows and sunroof. The front-passenger backrest is also automatically moved to a crash-optimised position.
The BMW 5 Series range refresh is effective immediately with the first all new BMW 520i and 528i Sedans arriving in Australian showrooms in November 2011.
(Pictured at top of article: 2011 BMW 535d M Sport)
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