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With it’s world premiere at the Geneva Auto Show just a few weeks ago, BMW unveiled the new 2011 5 Series in front of a U.S. audience for the first time today at the New York Auto Show. And the model on display was non-other than the range-topping (for now) 550i. With styling cues from both the new 7 Series and current 3 Series, it looks more stately than the outgoing model and we’d confidently say it’s also far better looking.

The 550i model boasts a twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 with 400-hp and 450 ft-lbs of torque, enabling it to hit 60 mph in just 5 seconds. As for the 535i, it gets BMW’s excellent twin-turbo 3.0-liter inline-six motor for 300-hp and 300 ft-lbs of torque. Both models will be available with either a standard six-speed manual or an 8-speed automatic. A “Sport Automatic” 8-speed will also be optional. BMW is expected to deliver a 528i later on, which will debut with a 240-hp inline-six.

In terms of improvements to handling, the new 5 Series gets a completely new front suspension that uses a multi-link setup as opposed to a strut setup. This system is also found on the new 7 Series, which is no coincidence, as both the new 5 and 7 Series share the same platform. Along with the electric power steering system, the new 5 Series gets the Integral Active Steering setup as found on the 5 Series GT, which turns turns the rear wheels. In low speed situations, the rear wheels turn in the opposite direction of the front wheels for better maneuverability, while at speed the rear wheels turn in the same direction to deliver better cornering and stability. And to further improve performance, there’s an electronic limited slip differential, which comes into play once DSC (stability control) is completely shut off.

Real driving enthusiasts will opt for the Sport Package with Adaptive Drive. This package includes Driving Dynamics Control (same as on the 7 Series and Z4), which lets the driver choose from Comfort, Normal, Sport and Sport+ driving settings, which control the throttle response, transmission shift points, power steering assistance level and traction control. It also includes Dynamic Damping Control, which constantly changes the car’s shock settings and includes a 10mm lower ride height. Finally, the sport package includes Active Roll Stabilization, with hydraulic stabilizer bars that actually firm up when body lean is detected.

For the rest of the stroy click here New York 2010: 2011 BMW 5 Series North American Premiere on AutoGuide.com
 
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