While BMW's next 5 Series won't appear until early next decade, technical details are leaking out. Codenamed F10, the 2011 5 Series will feature engines based on the new turbo range. (Note: The present-generation car is pictured). There's a 3.0-liter twin-turbo inline-six in the 540i, a 4.4-liter twin-turbo V-8 in the 550i, and a twin-turbo clean diesel. Even the M5 will switch from the ultra-high-revving V-10 to a turbo V-8, we hear. Hybrids will likely be available as both full dual-mode and mild types, depending on how they're received in the upcoming X6 and 7 Series hybrids.
The 5's wheelbase will grow a couple of inches, but the aim is to maintain current mass through the use of smaller, turbocharged engines and extensive aluminum in the body's exterior panels, such as closing panels, fenders, and roof.
Control-arm front suspensions will replace the MacPherson struts. Options include the Integral Steering package just introduced on the 7, which adds electronically controlled rear steering to the familiar active front steering. Adaptive damping also will be available. Optional drivers' aids will include follow-to-stop adaptive cruise control, sideview cameras, head-up display, and night vision with pedestrian recognition.
BMW now talks of a "backbone" rather than a platform. The term refers to the firewall, suspension, and floor, in various wheelbases. The F10, and the next 6 Series, will share its backbone with the 2009 7 Series and the 2010 Progressive Activity Sedan. For a preview of the switchgear, instruments, iDrive, and seats of a 2010 PAS, 2011 5 Series, or 2013 6 Series, look at a 2009 7 Series.
Versatile as this backbone is, it has limits. It was deemed too small for the CS four-door coupe concept, which is why production was shelved for excessive cost and reaching, in these hard times, for too few potential buyers.
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