Sometime in the fourth quarter of 2020, BMW South Africa will launch the new facelift updated 5 Series model. The 5 Series has been one of the success stories of the BMW brand, having gone on sale in Europe in 1972. The current model has so far sold 600 000 units globally and looks set to end its run in 2023 with over 1 million sales.

So where are the changes? Well the front grille is definitely new. It is wider and taller, while the LED headlights have taken a new shape also. BMW is giving buyers the option of Matrix lights as well as Laser lights. At the rear the car features new L-shaped 3D lights and trapezoidal exhaust tailpipes. Alloy wheels will be available from 18 to 20-inches, while added list of exterior colours goes into the menu.

The interior is included in the updates, and now sees features such as the standard 26cm Control Display (there is an optional 31cm version), a new sports steering wheel, new M multifunction seats and others. Connectivity has been improved with the new BMW Operating System 7 which helps one access features like cloud-based BMW Maps, extended functions for the Intelligent Personal Assistant, standard smartphone integration with Android Auto and Apple Carplay, wireless WiFi and a host of others.

The big news on the Mzansi front is the confirmation of the M550i xDrive, a first for this country. Previously only rear-wheel-drive (RWD) versions of the 550i were sold here; BMW SA said it was because this was a hot climate country that did not need AWD sedans, but I always thought the 550i performance would be too close to the M5’s, thus cannibalising sales. The new M550i itself is no slouch, producing 390kW and 750Nm of torque, achieving a claimed 0 – 100km/h sprint time of 3.8 seconds.

Other models confirmed for our market are the 520d, 530i and of course big daddy M5 Competition. All 4 and 6-cylinder engines will be using the new 48V mild hybrid technology which gives the cars 8kW extra and increases response times. The 520d is powered by the 2.0-litre turbo diesel engine with 140kW and 400Nm. The 530i produces 185kW and 350Nm of torque.

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