BMW improves on popular 5 Series sedan

China slashes tariffs on imported cars
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The new BMW 5 Series sedan made its world debut Monday at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

The midsize sedan has been a key part of BMW’s sedan lineup, and the company hopes to improve upon its success with the 2017 version.

The company released information about the car in October, but Monday was the first time that the public got a up-close look at it.

The new version loses a bit of the 2016 model’s bulbous, rounded styling in favor of sharper creases in the sheet metal and wider headlights that connect to BMW’s signature double grille.

Inside, the car has an updated interface for controlling things like entertainment, navigation, communication and driving dynamics on a 10.25-inch wide screen at the top of the dashboard.

Tired of pushing buttons? Some models will be available with a gesture monitoring system that responds to the wave of a hand. Other functions are also voice activated.

Keeping your eyes on the road is also easier with a colorful heads-up display projected on the windshield with information about navigation and speed. The heads-up system is about 75 percent larger than the same feature on last year’s model.

The new car paves the way for fully autonomous driving in the near future. The 2017 model will be available with systems that can drive the car down a highway or move along through stop-and-go traffic with minimal input from the driver.

One thing missing from the car is weight. With the greater use of aluminum and magnesium, the car sheds up to 137 pounds in some trim levels.

There are two standard engines available. The 530i comes with a 2-liter inline four-cylinder turbocharged engine that generates 248 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque.

The 540i has a 3-liter inline six-cylinder engine good for 335 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque.

Later this spring, BMW will also launch the top-of-the-line M550i xDrive, which comes with a 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8. The engine cranks out 456 horsepower and 480 pound-feet of torque.

The 530i and 540i go on sale in the United States on Feb. 11. Prices range from about $52,000 (including destination fees) for the 530i all the way up to nearly $60,000 (including destination fees) for the 540i xDrive. The sticker price for the 550i xDrive will be announced closer to its launch.