So many positives including safety and dynamic handling... Read on.
Wayne Gerdes - CleanMPG
- Jan. 22, 2010
2010 BMW 5-Series – Adaptive Xenon Headlights are the best available. Its completely inadequate engine and drivetrain however should make us all lower our heads in shame
Although the new BMW 5 Series Sedan may be the epitome of modern design in the world of premium midsize sedans, its 4.4L 400 HP engine allows a 0 to 60 capability of 5 seconds and an absolutely unconscionable 150 + mph top end. This level of performance makes it completely inadequate for American public roads. In fact, the only thing that kind of power is good for is the track... which 99% of these vehicles will never see.
While the powertrain performance details are not worth covering given it will surely be a FSP when its final fuel consumption figures are released, the few fuel saving enhancements and a multitude of safety aspects are very news worthy.
Regenerative Braking and a Smart Alternator
Following BMW’s European EfficientDynamics theme, the new US 5 Series will be the first US BMW to receive the regenerative braking system. This system manages when the alternator actually needs to charge the 12V battery vs. a permanently engaged alternator as most vehicles in the US currently experience.
A car’s alternator runs continuously and thus is always charging the vehicle’s 12V battery. In the new 5 Series, it charges only when the vehicle is decelerating or braking; otherwise, it freewheels and draws virtually no power from the engine. An electronically controlled clutch, similar to that used with the air-conditioning compressor, is used to engage and disengage the alternator.
Accommodating the less-frequent charging is a special, more powerful vehicle battery that can satisfy the vehicle’s high electrical demands without access to continuous charging. The AGM based Pb-Acid battery uses a technology called “glass mat,” in which its internal plates are separated with saturated absorbent glass-boron silicate rather than the usual liquid electrolyte. This construction sharply reduces the battery’s conversion of charging energy to heat, and can provide the necessary electrical power for longer periods between charges.
The new BMW 5 Series Sedan is the first car in its segment to feature EPS (Electric Power Steering). This steering system enhances both the precision and comfort of the steering process while also ensuring the typical handling of a BMW. Contrary to conventional mechanical/hydraulic systems, steering assistance is provided in this case by an electric motor activated only when assistance is necessary or desired by the driver. The consumption of energy is reduced to zero when driving in a straight line or when taking a corner with a steady steering angle.
Precise, smooth and harmonious set-up of the steering with the feedback typical of BMW ensures maximum steering accuracy at all times. In the Sport + mode of Driving Dynamics Control and with DSC switched off, the degree of steering forces is slightly increased in accordance a more performance oriented driving feel.
EPS serves to control steering feedback from the system with particular precision. At the same time EPS comes as standard on the new BMW 5 Series Sedan with Servotronic gearing steering assistance to the speed of the car. When parking and steering at low speeds, for example, the driver hardly has to make any effort, while at higher speeds power assistance is intentionally reduced for optimum contact to the road and in the interest of well-balanced directional stability.
A further point is that EPS eliminates bumps coming from the steering and any other adverse vibrations very effectively. And by evaluating dynamic driving signals in an appropriate process, EPS gives the driver authentic steering feedback particularly under very dynamic driving conditions.
Integrated Active Rear Wheel Steering
Available as a stand-alone option on the new 5 Series Sedan, Integral Active Steering builds on BMW’s original Active Steering system which debuted on the previous-generation 5 Series. The new Integral Active Steering adds precise measures of rear-wheel steering to enhance safety, comfort, and agility.
At the front wheels, Integral Active Steering electronically varies the steering ratio (the number of degrees the steering wheel must be turned to achieve a 1Ί steering angle at the front wheels) on the basis of vehicle speed and other driving conditions. This reduces the steering-wheel movements required for parking maneuvers, U-turns and sharp corners.
Also with Integral Active Steering, the rear wheels are steered up to a maximum of 2.5 degrees via a servo motor acting on the track rods. At low speeds, they are steered oppositely to the front wheels, reducing the turning circle by approximately 1.6 feet. At speeds above 35mph, the rear wheels steer in the same direction as the fronts, enhancing stability. Additionally, the rear-seat passenger comfort is improved thanks to reduced lateral forces in highway lane-change conditions.
Advanced Active Cruise Control
Active Cruise Control with Stop-and-Go is available. In addition to the speed-maintaining, acceleration and deceleration functions of the standard cruise control, ACC can adjust the BMW driver’s speed according to traffic conditions via radar sensors at the front of the vehicle. The Stop-and-Go function can bring the vehicle to a complete stop if traffic calls for it. After a stop of more than 3 seconds, the driver must step on the accelerator or select Resume to accelerate back to the set speed or whatever speed the radar sensors allow.
When equipped with Active Cruise Control, the new BMW 5 Series Sedan has a subsystem called Collision Warning which can apply the brakes. Collision Warning with its brake activation function triggers an alarm in two stages. The pre-warning is an optical message presented as a red car symbol in the instrument cluster and, when fitted, also in the Head-Up Display, warns the driver of the closing rate to the vehicle in front. As soon as this symbol appears, the Brake Standby function on DSC Dynamic Stability Control is activated. This ensures rapid build-up of full brake pressure in an emergency.
The second stage in the collision warning process is activated in the event of an imminent collision. When the driver is required to intervene very quickly, the system sends out an acute warning – in this case not only an optical, but also an acoustic message. It also initiates the braking process required, slowing down the car with stopping power of up to 3 meters/sec2 for a maximum of 1.2 seconds. Brake Standby function is again activated, preparing maximum brake system pressure to achieve the shortest stopping distance possible.
Active Blind Spot Detection
Optional Active Blind Spot Detection in the new BMW 5 Series warns the driver of potentially critical situations when passing. Using two radar sensors at the rear end of the car, the system monitors traffic conditions on the adjacent lanes, covering an area extending from the blind angle on the next lane almost 200 feet to the rear. A triangular yellow light symbol integrated in the housing of the driver’s exterior mirror shows the driver that a vehicle is in the critical range, thus improving situational awareness.
Should the driver tap the direction indicator indicating that he or she is about to change lanes, the LED signal in the light will warn the driver by flashing on and off. The driver will also be warned by discreet but unmistakable vibration of the steering wheel.
Lane Departure Warning
Employing a camera near the interior rearview mirror, Lane Departure Warning monitors road lane markings. When switched on, anytime the vehicle begins to move across a lane marking without the turn signals activated, this system vibrates the steering wheel. If the driver does activate the signals, LDW does not react. Lane Departure Warning detects unintended departure from the appropriate lane at a speed of at least 43 mph. This system is made up of a camera fitted near the interior mirror on the windscreen, a control unit for comparing data, and a signal generator making the steering wheel vibrate as in the case of a Active Blind Spot Detection.
The camera incorporated in the Lane Departure Warning system monitors the road markings on at least one side of the car, a control unit calculating the position of the vehicle in relation to such road markings. The camera is able to look ahead about 165 feet and is able to respond appropriately in bends or on narrow lanes. The system even works in the dark once the headlights have been switched on, making it helpful under everyday driving conditions.
BMW’s “Best in Class” Bi-Xenon Adaptive headlamps
Standard on the new BMW 5 Series Sedan is the latest generation of Xenon Adaptive Headlights. Xenon Adaptive Headlights illuminate the road ahead clearly and brightly under all conditions, following curves and winding routes. In the process the headlights turn in the same direction as the steering wheel, following the steering, the yaw rate and the speed of the car.
The optional Automatic High-Beam feature in the new BMW 5 Series offers additional safety when driving at night. Taking current driving conditions into account, this system switches the high beam on and off automatically as required, consistently giving the driver optimum visibility and at the same time relieving him of the chore to constantly monitor the high beam in the case of oncoming traffic.
Processing images generated by a camera integrated in the interior mirror, the Automatic High-Beam feature recognizes vehicles driving ahead in the same direction up to a distance of approximately 400 meters or 440 yards and oncoming vehicles up to a distance of about 1,000 meters or 1,100 yards. A further feature is that the high-beam is switched off automatically as soon as the surrounding light reaches a certain level of intensity and is therefore bright enough.
Adaptive Brake light
To avoid collisions from behind, the new BMW 5 Series Sedan, like other models from BMW, feature special Adaptive Brake Lights introduced by BMW as the world’s first manufacturer to offer such a feature. When applying the brakes particularly hard and when ABS is activated, drivers following from behind are alerted by the larger brake lights.
BMW is the world’s first car maker to offer a night vision system able to detect individuals along side or on the road directly ahead. The available second generation BMW Night Vision sets new standards in accident avoidance when driving at night. The main feature is a thermal imaging camera fitted at the front end of the car. This camera provides a video image in real time presenting people, animals and other heat-emitting objects in high resolution in the central Control Display, even when they are outside of the headlight beam.
This presentation on the screen is supplemented by the automatic detection of persons on or next to the road. To provide this function, the video data is analyzed by a control unit using intelligent algorithms to find pedestrians and cyclists potentially on collision course with the car.
Once the system detects a possible risk, the driver is warned by the Control Display and the optional Head-Up Display. This warning is restricted to pedestrians and cyclists who, on account of the speed, steering angle and yaw rate involved, are on a calculated collision course with the vehicle.
Active Head Restraints
All seating positions are equipped with 3-point safety belts; all have force limiters, the front ones also adding automatic tensioners plus pre-tensioning during emergency braking. For protection against head and neck injuries in a rear-end impact, the front seats include active head restraints, which deploy up to 2.36 in. forward and 1.57 in. upward as required – all between the time the rear impact begins and when the occupants’ heads would be thrown rearward.
2010 BMW 5-Series
Beautiful in so many ways...
All of this technology mated to an engine and drivetrain that would best be described as perpetuating our dependence because its owner simply can.
Someday, vehicles like the 5-Series will be offered with BMW’s European 2.0L SuperDiesel or designed as a 30 + mile AER PHEV designed in such a manner that its completely inadequate and wasteful 4.4L supplies power only after a large number of fuel free miles have been driven. One can only hope given all the positives the new 5-Series has to offer in so many other areas.