Escape in BMW’s New 5-Series

Watch BMW’s new high-action film "The Escape" to get a good look at its 2017 5-Series.

BMW has just peeled the wrapper off its latest, seventh-generation 5-Series. If you’re curious to see what it looks like in action, just hit your computer keyboard.

Type-in “BMW Films New 5-Series” and you’ll be treated to 13 minutes of some of the best car action since Steve McQueen thrashed that Mustang around San Francisco in Bullitt.

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You might remember that 15 years ago, BMW broke new ground with a series of cool films showcasing its cars. Called The Hire, Brit actor Clive Owen was the driver and each film was crafted by a different Hollywood director and featured some very A-list talent.

Still my favorite is the Guy Ritchie-directed Star with a primadonna Madonna being hurled around the back seat of a tire-smoking BMW M5. The end shot is just priceless.

This latest film, called The Escape which debuted Sunday, is Owen again hammering a 5-Series, this time the all-new 2017 5-Series, fleeing the bad guys with Dakota Fanning in the back seat. As to the storyline, it’s kinda complicated. Just sit back and enjoy the Fast and Furious-style action.

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What it shows is this hard-driven new 5-Series from every possible angle escaping the machine-gun-toting bad guys. And mighty handsome the car looks too.

That said, like me you’ll probably be hard-pressed to distinguish this newcomer from its predecessor. Just like Clive Owen from 15 years ago, it’s hardly changed at all.

Yes, the kidney grille has thicker chrome edging for added bling, and like the latest 3-Series, the headlights are stretched inwards to touch the grille. At the rear they’ve gone to rectangular tail lights. Apart from those changes, visually that’s pretty much it.

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Pity because the body is entirely new, featuring a lot of aluminum, magnesium and high-strength steel which shaves close to 140 pounds off the overall weight. And that’s despite the car growing by 1.2 inches in length.

At least there are some mechanical changes. Under the hood there are two fancy new engines – a turbocharged in-line four and turbo six-cylinder – that pack more power than before yet offer better fuel efficiency.

There’s a new 2.0-liter 248-horse turbo four-cylinder for the new entry 530i model. The new 540i features a twin-turbo 3.0-liter in-line six that cranks out a meaty 335-hp.

Right now there’s no word about V8, diesel or hybrid-powered new 5-Series versions, though I’m sure they’re waiting in the wings. From launch however, there’ll be an MSport package, which we show here, featuring more aggressive front-end styling and cool new 19-inch alloys.

Also under the skin is plenty of new technology and connectivity, most of it similar to that used in the flagship 7-Series. Like the parking-assist tech that lets you park the car – parallel or perpendicular – using the oversized Display Key.

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This new 5-Series is scheduled to hit showrooms mid-February. No word on pricing yet, but I don’t expect stickers to stray too far from the current $51,195 for today’s 528i, and $56,845 for the 535i. Or the $2,300 BMW charges for the xDrive all-wheel-drive option.

There’s no doubt this new “5” will be wonderfully-driving sports sedan. But I have to say I am disappointed that the new styling is so evolutionary.

With 5-Series sales flatter than Texas as more buyers opt for the high-riding versatility of BMW’s X5 and X3 SUVs, I doubt offering a more-of-the-same 5-Series will bring them back to the sedan fold. That’s a shame.

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