Secrets of the BMW 5 Series

BMW Group Driving Dynamics Director Jos van As says it was owners of the old BMW 5 Series that led direction for the new one.

‘Feedback from owners of the old car was that handling impressed but the ride was too hard.’

This is why the F10 BMW 5 Series rides better than before. You notice it right away at low speed: van As admits they’ve used ‘quite moderate spring rates,’ giving the cushier, plusher feel.

‘Double axle front suspension also helps. We have more grip, so there’s more freedom to tune ride and handling. We have more possibilities to tune the dampers.’

There’s more: ‘Don’t forget, we’re now in the 4th generation of runflat tyre – the old car used 2nd generation. This is a huge jump. We have been able to optimise the tyre wall stiffness – this is a crucial point regarding how absorbent the ride is.

Ride on some more, too: ‘With the new car we have been able to choose a new tyre size, keeping inflation pressures on the healthy side. If you have a smaller wheel, you have a smaller air volume, therefore need higher pressures.’

This belies the theory that large wheels automatically mean worse ride: here’s an example of big rims improving ride – from the top man himself. Apparent right away, the more I drove it, the more the ride clicked. Then it dawned on me, so I had to ask: van As, have you had the Rolls-Royce boys (who are tuning a version of this platform that’s also derived from the 7 Series) working on this?

‘Rolls Royce use the same group of people: yes, some of my guys on the 5 Series also work on the Rolls-Royce. They learn from each other.

‘Some of the similarities are no coincidence…’

There you have it, then! The BMW 5 Series that rides ‘like’ a Rolls-Royce…

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