New BMW 5-Series wins NZ Car of the Year title

New BMW 5-Series wins NZ Car of the Year title

The latest iteration of BMW’s 5-series saloon has followed in the footsteps of two of its predecessors in being judged New Zealand’s Car of the Year by the country’s leading motoring writers and commentators.

Launched here some six months ago, the new model is the sixth generation of the 5-series line, and the first since the mid-1990s E39 model to scoop New Zealand’s highest new car automotive honour.

In reaching their decision to award the new 5-series the country’s Car of the Year accolade, members of the New Zealand Motoring Writers’ Guild assessed a number of variants in the range, which includes fuel-efficient turbo-diesel models as well as higher performance petrol-powered machines

In addition to performance and handling, the facets under consideration included suitability for the task for which the 5-series is designed, its level of home comforts, quality of finish, safety accoutrements, visual appeal, value for money, ease of operation, and economy.

“Coming after an immediate predecessor that attracted controversy on several fronts — notably for its bold styling and complex drive interface — the new F10 variant represents a welcome return to 5-series form by BMW,” said Guild president John Oxley.

As well as being prettier on the outside and more user friendly on the inside, the new machine features a superbly finished cabin and an outstanding choice of engines, all of which rely on a highly advanced eight-speed automatic transmission to deliver power to the rear wheels.

Thanks to an increase in wheelbase, the 5-series boasts more interior space than ever before. Its safety credentials are impeccable, with the maximum 5-star rating awarded in the stringent European NCAP crash testing.

Along with its strong engines and excellent chassis, a number of advanced electronic dynamic control systems ensure it is every bit as good to drive as the best of its predecessors.

“It is this ability to combine passenger and driver appeal in a single vehicle that has always marked the 5-series out as a special car,” said Oxley. “Back in 1988, this was what led the third-generation of the 5-series to become the inaugural winner of New Zealand’s Car of the Year crown. Eight years later, its successor followed suit and now, after a further 14 years, the 5-series has become the first car to win the title for a third time.”

“It has often been noted that the 5-series’ balance between the needs of passengers and its driver is particularly appreciated in New Zealand, because this country lacks the extensive high-speed motorway networks on which larger luxury cars such as the 7-series excel.”

“This is a point that the NZ Car of the Year is uniquely able to take account of, because it embodies the opinions of professionals in their field from across the country, each of whom has assessed the car on roads in their own region. The car that comes out winner must excel from many different perspectives, and in a range of Kiwi-specific conditions.”

The 5-series was one of 10 finalists for this New Zealand Car of the Year award, which is open to new models launched in New Zealand during the 12 months prior to 1 November 2010. The others, in alphabetical order, were the Audi A5, Hyundai ix35, Jaguar XJ, Kia Sportage, Peugeot 3008, Peugeot RCZ, Porsche Cayenne, Skoda Yeti and Suzuki Kizashi.

Recent past winners of the title, which is now in its 23nd year, have been the Ford Fiesta (2009), Ford Falcon (2008), Mazda 2 (2007) and Porsche Cayman (2006).

In recognition of the 5-Series’ title win BMW New Zealand will be awarded the Peter Greenslade Trophy, named after the now deceased motoring editor of The Press in Christchurch, who was one of the instigators of the Car of the Year award.

Click here to read a full Car and SUV road test of the new BMW 5-Series.

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