The seventh-generation BMW 5 Series, codenamed G30, rolls out this spring featuring a new user interface, iDrive 6.0, gesture control, remote 3D view, new engines, and voice control.
At the Detroit auto show, we caught up with Johann Kistler, BMW 5 Series project director, where the 2017 BMW 530e iPerformance sedan made its global debut alongside the M550i xDrive Sedan.
Kistler started at BMW as an engineer while he was still living at home and driving a 1979 BMW 323 that he recalls fondly. Since then, he’s driven plenty of Bimmers and has worked on the 6 and 7 Series during his impressive 38 years at the company.
On the show floor, Kistler wore a dark gray suit, blue tie with white dots, light shirt with pin stripes, and black shoes with tan laces. He has blue eyes and can get in your face when he is describing his current obsession, the 5 Series BMW.
Here are his five best highlights of the all-new 5 Series:
1. Not an ultimate self-driving machine.
“We started in 2015 with lane change assistance and so now we did the next step. It’s possible to drive this up to [130 mph] but you have to be connected to it. You can’t just let it [drive itself] — it’s not going to drive you,” said Kistler.
2. The sounds of silence.
“The next one, I will mention is acoustic. Acoustics can be a complex challenge because if you will improve acoustics, you have to look for air, engine, road, wheel acoustics, and so on. It’s really important to look at different parts and different functions to have a higher level of acoustics. Our customers spend a lot of time in the car, so it’s really important to have silence,” he explains.
3. Size matters under the hood.
“The third one of course is the engine — we have all new engines. And also for this grade [4.4-liter twin-turbo] V-8, this is really, really special. Yes, and it makes it fun [0-60 mph in under 4.0 seconds]. If I told you for us the target was to have the most sporty business sedan, for business [customers] it means for us, too,” Kister said about the new M550i xDrive.
4. Better technology to save your ass.
“And I can say that I’m really proud of this. So, it’s not the same level as the 7 Series — it’s more. For example, we have a wrong way assist that is new in the 5 Series. If you’re going down the wrong road, motorway, or the wrong way on a one-way road it, will warn you and alert you,” Kister said.
5. Hello, it’s still an ultimate driving machine.
“We reduced up to [220 pounds], so we have a lot of aluminum and all outer parts that are made out of aluminum. Also some parts from the structure and the suspension — and we did a completely new chassis. The front axis, the rear axis, the suspension, also the steering. So the feeling of the driving experience of the car is my favorite. It is immediate. It’s magnificent,” Kister said.