To gain economies of scale, the new-generation BMW 5 Series is built on the same basic platform that sits beneath the 7 Series, 5 Series GT and 6 Series. BMW calls it a backbone strategy. The most obvious result of this is that the 5 Series is now larger than ever; although the wheelbase is shortened by 100mm compared with the 7 Series and 5 GT, at 2968mm it is among the longest in its class.
The shared foundations also mean the 5 Series comes packed with technology. Or at least, it does if your pockets are deep enough. Four-wheel steering, adjustable dampers and active anti-roll bars are all available on the options list.
So what is the basic 5 Series? For starters, it uses a conventional monocoque construction instead of the hybrid construction of the previous model, while the body is a mix of steel and aluminium (bonnet, front wings and doors). The front suspension uses double wishbones and the rear a multi-link arrangement; both use steel springs and lots of aluminium components.
The new 5 Series Touring is bigger than its predecessor, too. The estate’s 2968mm wheelbase is 82mm longer and the overall length grew by 64mm to 4907mm. Visually, despite creases in the bodywork and a sloping roofline that’s designed to make the 5 Series Touring look sleek, its significant dimensions are obvious from every angle – albeit not in an unattractive way.