Five wagon hitting for six

The X5 is well-established as a BMW best seller, but the local distributor is nonetheless going back to old form with an impending Five Series variant soon landing here.

TWO highly specified and all-wheel-drive turbocharged six-cylinder versions, one petrol and the other diesel, will comprise the Five Series wagon line here.

As first reported by MotoringNetwork in February, BMW New Zealand has determined to bring in the Touring wagon version of the all-new car, whose sedan format arrived in March, because it senses opportunity from a buyer set who want to steer away from heading into a sports utility but still want xDrive.

Today it announced that it has settled on taking the 530d, which will sell for $139,900, and the 540i, which is going to cost $148,900. The first has a 195kW/620Nm diesel and other a 250kW/450Nm petrol, mills also available in the sedan line. Those booted equivalents cost $6000 less than the wagons.

There’s a high degree of specification sharing, with the 530d Touring having with a Sport Line package as standard. This provides 19-inch light alloy wheels and sports front seats.  Additional specification also includes Adaptive LED headlight technology with BMW Selective Beam anti-dazzle system, an upgraded Harman/Kardon surround sound audio system, BMW Head-Up Display, wireless charging for mobile phones and the innovative BMW gesture control system.

The 540i comes with M Sport package as standard. This means exterior styling enhancements from BMW M, Dynamic Damper Control, 20-inch light alloy wheels, sun protection glazing and enhanced braking with an M Sport brake package. On top of all that the 530d provisions, it also has a Comfort Package which includes heated seats for front and rear, heated steering wheel, and the multi-adjustable comfort front seats.

The Touring’s introduction is actually a return to old form. The type was dropped from the inventory after the model change before last – though the format continued to avail nonetheless, as a special-order item.

At 4943mm long, 1868mm wide and 1498mm tall, the new wagon is 36mm longer, 8mm wider and 10mm taller than before and also has equivalent interior space to the X5.

Boot capacity has grown 10 litres, to 570 litres, with the new 40/20/40 split-fold rear seat in the upright position. With the seat folded, cargo room grows to 1700 litres – 30 litres more than before.

As before, the Touring retains the old-style flip-up rear hatch window to save having to open the whole hatch to access smaller items.

That rear seat folding mechanism can be released with a press of a button in the boot, while the hatch gets electric closing as standard, with a hands-free version an option.

The derivative also benefits from the extensive weight-saving measures meted the sedan, with BMW claiming it is 100kg lighter than the outgoing generation but can carry an extra 120kg of cargo, thanks to a new rear air suspension system that becomes standard across the range.

The Touring has the same comprehensive suite of driver safety aids as the sedan. Collision warning, autonomous city braking with pedestrian detection, lane keeping, active side collision protection, evasion aid and lane keeping assist at up to 210kmh all provision. So too remote control parking using the BMW key.

The latest iDrive gets a touch controller and connects with a 10.25-inch touchscreen, it has a head-up display and LED headlights and daytime driving lights have automatic high-beam switching.

Interestingly, the model might find itself in a segment without a direct rival, as most other marques in the big wagon game are now preferring to tailor their offers with in high-riding crossover format.

That won’t include category sales champ Mercedes-Benz, however. It has decided not to sell the E-Class All-Terrain, an elevated estate tailored to take on Audi’s A6 Allroad and the Volvo V90 Cross Country.

Though the model is being taken by Australia, so is easily available, Mercedes’ Auckland office says it doesn’t think it needs the car here when it already has achieved significant sales inroads with its GLE off-roader and GLC crossover.