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The BMW 530 exhibits almost zero turbo lag, and throttle response is natural and immediate both off the line and in higher-speed passing maneuvers. The B46 produces just a smidge more power and less torque than the previous N20 turbo four (248 horsepower at 6500 rpm and 258 lb-ft of torque from 1450 rpm, an increase of 8 ponies and a drop of 2 lb-ft). Still, the new 5-series feels notably quicker, thanks to extensive use of aluminum—including in the trunklid, doors, and suspension parts—combined with other mass-reduction efforts that have yielded a claimed weight loss of 123 pounds for the 530i xDrive version that we drove. Given all that, we have no reason to doubt BMW’s claim that the 530i xDrive can accelerate to 60 mph in 5.8 seconds, if not more quickly.
More important is that the new 5 feels more predictable and easier to maneuver, thanks in part to the redesigned suspension largely made from aluminum, which helps reduce unsprung mass. Also helping matters was our example’s optional $2600 M Sport package with its upsized 19-inch wheels and tires and lowered ride height (along with blackout exterior trim, a sport steering wheel, an aero body kit, and aluminum interior trim). Our car also was equipped with BMW’s latest Integral Active Steering system ($1150), which combines a variable-ratio steering rack with speed-dependent electric assistance and rear-wheel steering. As we noted in our 540i first drive, IAS now has a more linear and natural feeling, a boon to handling predictability.
As the roads dried out, we became less shy with our corner-entry speeds and found lateral-grip levels to be tremendous. When the time came to slow, the strength and pedal feel of the optional M Sport brakes stood out as excellent. Meanwhile, the dynamic dampers provided a supple cushioning of harsh impacts.