BMW's high tech, high spec new 5-series lighter in all but price
It is the biggest-selling BMW in Ireland, so no wonder there has been such interest in the new 5-series since I published some details online last week.
The new car arrives here in February, but is effectively on sale now.
There has been some talk about its design; some critical, some seeing it as a departure. It's not a radical move, but it is far more coupe-like than the previous one. I got the impression it was 'tidier' inside but it is 2mm taller, 8mm wider and 28mm longer.
Prices (for the 520d SE) start from €52,800 on the road (OTR). As I've said previously, that looks like a big increase on the €45,200 for the current one, but BMW will argue this has a lot more spec and technology.
As well as that, they are making a wider gap between 5-series and 3-series pricing.
The 8spd automatic transmission is now standard, as is the Profession Multimedia Navigation System with its 10.25ins touch widescreen.
'Connected services' will be standard, I'm told, and will include the marque's concierge service and Instant Emergency call.
I like the way they have the dash and instrumentation angled, focused on, and surrounding the driver.
However, they don't have a real match for Audi's outstanding virtual cockpit, which so easily switches information and visuals as you prioritise.
But there are all sorts of driver assistance and accident prevention technologies. LED headlights are standard, with adaptive LEDs optional. All the engines are TwinPower turbos and have been upgraded and tweaked.
And there is a new suspension (new double-wishbone front axle; Dynamic Damper Control and Adaptive Drive optional). I'm looking forward to seeing how that adds to a car that has always been the best driving saloon in its mid-size segment.
And if you need extra grip/traction, you can order all-wheel-drive (xDrive) on all models - the 520d, 530d and 540i from launch. There will be a new plug-in hybrid 530e iPerformance here by the Spring (March production). It will have a 4cyl petrol and claimed emissions of 49g/km, with 252hp of total output. Fuel consumption is a claimed 2.1l/100km. Two other engines will be added soon after the initial launch.
One engine worth looking at will be the 520d SE Efficient Dynamics model (190hp 4cyl diesel). Its claimed fuel consumption is 72.4mpg (102g/km). Meanwhile, the most powerful diesel will be the 530d (265bhp, 620Nm, 4.7l/100km, 124g/km).
They say the new car has noticeably more headroom in the rear, despite the raked roofline. That wasn't our experience for the back middle-seat occupant.
But the driver and front-seat passenger are well looked after.
Boot capacity is now up to 530 litres. It is quite long and the boot sill is lower.
Driver assistance systems include Dynamic Cruise Control (DCC) as standard, while Active Cruise Control (ACC) and Speed Limit Info are optional. Driving Assistant Plus safety package includes the Lane Keeping Assistant, Lane Departure Warning system, Lane Change Warning, along with Driving Assist Plus.
The Surround View and Remote 3D View worked really well in a brief demonstration in Dublin. Great for tight and awkward parking spots.
Up to 100kgs have been shed overall, but body strength and torsional stiffness are increased.
The arrival of a 5-series is always something of a milestone. Seeing it in the flesh in Dublin amid high security was great. But to truly see if, how and where it has really progressed we must await our first drive.