Preview: 2011 BMW 5-Series

August 20, 2009

The 2010 BMW 5-Series GT world debut is just weeks away, at the Frankfurt auto show. Now, according to BMW and to new details confirmed by BMWBlog, the new sedan version of the mid-size 5er family will add an interesting twist or two, when it joins the family next year.

The new 5-Series Sedan is expected to arrive Stateside early next year as a 2011 model, though the automotive media will get a spin in the new car late this year.

Most of the planned changes for the 2011 5-Series are skin-deep. Under new sheetmetal, BMW will expand the use of its 4.4-liter twin-turbo V-8, introduced in the X6 and this year in the new 5-Series GT. A slightly smaller cabin might be expected, as the 5-Series relaxes its roofline a little.

More important, a 5-Series hybrid will join the lineup, sharing the lithium-ion hybrid components from the new BMW 7-Series Hybrid arriving on stage in a few weeks at the Frankfurt auto show, and to U.S. showrooms late this year. To go with it, a diesel-hybrid version is suggested for European markets, while a conventional diesel may make its way to the U.S., too.

Top versions will share the new eight-speed automatic found in the 12-cylinder 7-Series, while six- and seven-speed automatics will be used across the lineup, too. A six-speed manual will be offered on European versions, and all-wheel drive is expected to return to the lineup at some point, along with a true wagon for those not attracted to the fastback 5-Series GT.

New fuel-saving steps will be installed in the 5er; specially designed aerodynamic wheels and brake-energy regeneration systems are to be twinned with a body structure built from more lightweight materials, including carbon-fiber and aluminum. (The cabin will be steel, while the rest of the car will be built on aluminum subframes.) Better weight distribution will be augmented by improved handling from a lighter-weight strut/independent suspension. You can bet on the return of the M5--and count on it wearing more carbon-fiber panels to boost performance even more.

There's more to come from Frankfurt. Stay tuned.

MORE: 2009 Frankfurt Auto Show

[BMWBlog via MotorAuthority]

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