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The Mercury Cars Guide : February 13th 2010
12--- Classifieds 62 300 400 • carsguide.com.au Saturday, February 13, 2010 Assured elegance well received VISIONARY: A designers knockout competition arrived at the styling of the BMW 5 Series.n 'We are actually getting the car ahead of the United States and just weeks after it launches in Europe' IT may have taken the better part of a decade but BMW's new 5 Series is poised to put the exclamation mark at the end of what has become known as ''the Bangle Years''. While the sixth generation of one of the company's core products cer- tainly started life under the pen of controversial designer Chris Bangle -- and retains many of the core cues that are unmistakably part of Bangle's less eccentric design language -- it has been refined and defined by a new generation of visionaries, primarily exterior designer Jacek Frohlich, across the seven years it took to bring the F10 5 Series to fruition. ''When the final design process started more than four years ago we had a series of ideas and statements that the car had to embody,'' Frohlich said at the international launch of the 5 Series in Portugal this week. ''The phrases included assured elegance, tailor-made proportions and assertive modernity . . . all things the design team had to express in the styling of the car.'' In a ruthless process of last-man- standing, 20 exterior and a similar number of interior designers pres- ented their interpretations of a mod- ern 5 Series to senior management in elimination competitions every three months. In the end it was Frohlich and interior designer Oliver Heilmer who stood victorious. The result is a car with what has already proved to be the best received BMW styling in more than a decade. ''When we cliniced this car the results were amazing,'' Jorg Kemmin- er, head of control for large and medium models, said. ''It received the best reaction of any BMW for the last decade.'' Styling aside, the new generation 5 Series will bring new more efficient engines, greater safety technology and better value to Australian buyers when the car launches here in June. ''We are actually getting the car ahead of the United States and just weeks after it launches in Europe,'' BMW Australia's Toni Andreevski said. ''We will launch with three petrol engines initially and follow that within about three months with the diesel 520d.'' Initially the June 3 launch choice for Australian buyers will start with the naturally aspirated 190kW inline- six 528i ($99,900), move on to the 535i ($128,900) featuring the new 225kW twin-scroll turbo in-line six and top out at the 300kW V8 550i ($178,900). The only confirmed diesel for the Australian market is the 2-litre four- cylinder 520d, which has yet to be priced for its expected launch in Sep- tember. The manual 520d -- not confirmed for Australia -- will intro- duce stop/start technology to BMW. The entry-level 3-litre 528i offers power gains of 30kW and 60Nm over the superceded 2.5-litre 525i and will also pick up a swag of equipment including heads-up display -- standard issue on all new 5 Series models -- 18-inch alloys, front and rear park assistance, bi-Xenon headlights, brake energy regeneration and an active bonnet to improve pedestrian safety. At the heart of the new 535i is the company's revised turbo strategy for its six-cylinder cars, which sees an end to the twin turbocharging philos- ophy in favour of a twin-scroll single turbocharger which matches the twin turbo's 225kW and 400Nm output but does so while sipping 7 per cent less fuel. At the top of the power scale, at least until the arrival of the new M5 around the middle of next year, the 550i shares BMW's new TwinPower turbo philosophy putting out 300kW and 600Nm --- that's a 30kW and 110Nm boost over the previous model. On the road there is plenty to like about the new 5 Series, a not entirely surprising thing considering it shares as much as 70 per cent of its componentry with the recently re- leased 7 Series. Inside the cabin, the design, while still recognisable as a luxury environ- ment, has been subtly altered to move the focus back to the driver. At the launch drive the only Australia-bound engine available was the 535i, but what a fine thing it is. The power delivery, while not quite as sharp at the bottom end as the twin-turbo unit currently in the 1 and 3 Series, is creamy smooth and coupled to the eight-speed gearbox is willing to find urge over a huge span of the rev range. And it is as quiet and refined as it is strong. The ride quality on the test-drive cars -- and it is difficult to image a more thorough testing environment than Portugal's mix of rutted minor roads and hotmix highways -- was enhanced in no small part by the Dynamic Driving Control and Dynamic Damper Control programs. The former will be standard across the range for Australia while the latter is standard on the 535i and 550i and available as a $2650 option on the 528i. While the DDC varies steering, throttle, gear-change points and trac- tion control settings across a driver- selected range of normal, sport and sport-plus options it is the damper control that lifts the car's comfort levels beyond the ordinary. The elec- tronics continuously vary both com- pression and rebound settings with such rapidity that when a front wheel strikes a pothole the damping will have been adjusted to counter it by the time the rear wheels strike the same road imperfection. The new electric power steering on the 5 Series has a pleasing amount of feedback and feel with a meaty weighting that has not been a feature of the model for some time. It also has to be said that the latest generation of the run-flat tyre technology so favoured by BMW has reached a standard where the vast majority of drivers will not easily notice any shortcomings. Ride and road noise are excellent and while a wet Estoril racetrack still found shortcomings with grip under more enthusiastic driving, perform- ance at everyday road pace was more than acceptable. Optional are Parking Assistant ($1600), which uses sonar to identify a suitably-sized parking space and then reverses the car into the park while the driver modulates the throttle. Surround View ($1300) uses four external cameras to provide a virtual birds-eye view around the car to assist with maneuvring through tight spaces. KEVIN HEPWORTH O N S T - NS O All prices include GST. Vehicles for illustration purposes only. Ask for full warranty conditions. Price does not include 3% State Government Stamp Duty and $23.90 transfer of registration applies. No fee is charged for delivery. HOBART nr Bat r t Harrington St 6237 1199 · Air conditioning · Power windows · Twin airbags · CD player · Remote central locking and more . . . · Smooth · Spacious · Automatic · All electrics · Folding seats · Huge storage · 3.8 motor · Effortless power · Many other features · Great economy from a 1.8lt engine · Manual · Air cond · Remote central locking · CD & 4 speaker stereo · Elec mirrors · Dual airbags · Auto/Tiptronic · Cruise control · 3.8lt engine · Air cond. · Power windows · ABS/EBD · 4 airbags · Trip computer · 2.4lt engine · Auto/tiptronic · 4 airbags · Air cond. · Cruise · Roomy interior · ABS · Leather steering wheel · All electrics · Remote c/locking · Auto · All electrics · Air conditioning · 105kW 2.0lt engine · ABS/EBD · MP3/CD · Speed sensitive locks ·4.0l6cyl · Auto tiptronic trans · Cruise · Airbags · ABS · Rear parking sensors · Warranty · 1.6lt 5 speed manual · All electrics · ABS, dual airbags · Leather trim steering wheel · MFSW/MP3/CD player · Remote central locking · Air conditioning Full history available. Still under new car warranty (to late 2011) Luxury 8 seater Series II. Possibly the finest of Australia's 6 cylinder breed Enjoy the higher seating position for which the Tiida is famous Discover why Hyundai is near the top of all the quality surveys New technology abounds in a sleek and desirable new shape. Stronger and safer than other small cars From only $11,990 From only $23,990 from only $12,990 From only $13,990 380 SX also available from $16,490 From only $14,990 From only $13,990 Just $16,700 From only $10,990 AUTO STILL UNDER NEW CAR WARRANTY UNTIL 2011 STILL UNDER NEW CAR WARRANTY STILL UNDER NEW CAR WARRANTY UNTIL 2011 STILL UNDER NEW CAR WARRANTY UNTIL 2011 07 Hyundai Getz 5 door Grand Carnival 07 Nissan Tiida Hatch 06 Mitsubishi 380 07 Hyundai Sonata 06 Hyundai SX Elantra XT Falcon MKII Wagon BFII 06 Hyundai Accent GL 2002846-6
February 6th 2010
February 20th 2010