The New BMW 5 Series Touring | Part Seven (2004)

Active Steering: The perfect synthesis of agility in bends, directional stability, and superior comfort

BMW’s unique Active Steering complete with its integrated Servotronic function offers a similar enhancement of driving pleasure, agility, safety, and comfort all in all. Equipped with this special feature, the 5 Series Touring has exactly the right steering transmission and, accordingly, the right level of steering forces at all speeds. With conventional steering, the ratio between the steering wheel itself and the position of the front wheels remains consistently the same regardless of road speed. Active Steering, on the other hand, varies the steering transmission ratio as a function of speed, the transmission ratio becoming far more direct at low speed, while then becoming somewhat more indirect at higher speed than with conventional steering.

On the road, this makes the 5 Series Touring as nimble as a go-kart thanks to its more direct steering: Never before has the driver of a 5 Series Touring been able to take, say, a slalom course as smoothly and quickly, with steering effort being reduced to a minimum.

At high speeds, on the other hand, the 5 Series Touring runs smoothly straight ahead like on rails thanks to the more indirect transmission ratio.

A further advantage is the extra safety offered by BMW Active Steering: On winding roads the driver hardly has to intervene at the wheel, keeping his hands virtually always in the ideal position. This ensures direct access at all times to the multifunction buttons or SMG paddles on the steering wheel. And yet a further point is that Active Steering is automatically able to correct any oversteer by means of countersteering, thus supplementing the car’s DSC Dynamic Stability Control smoothly, comfortably, and without the driver even noticing.

A further point is the considerable improvement of motoring comfort: With Active Steering you now have to turn the steering wheel just twice instead of three times as on a conventional car in order to move the wheels completely from right to left and vice versa. Manoeuvring, therefore, really becomes child’s play.

Driving on the motorway is also more relaxed than ever before. With the system increasing the steering angle at higher speeds, any small, unwanted movements of the steering wheel – for example when driving over a bump – will hardly have any effect on the car’s directional stability. In practice, this means that the driver is able to “dose” the steering more precisely in fast bends on the motorway, the car as such remaining smoother and resting even more solidly on the road. The risk of possibly over-reacting by tearing at the steering – for example with an obstacle suddenly looming up ahead – is reduced accordingly.

Introducing Active Steering, therefore, BMW has become the first car maker in the world to offer an optimum synthesis of agility in bends, directional stability, superior comfort, and outstanding safety on the road.

Runflat technology and the Tyre Defect Indicator: Superior safety with both a sudden and a slow loss of pressure

A further safety feature is the optional fitment of runflat tyres on the 5 Series Touring, which come together with nearly all light-alloy wheels available as optional equipment. Running on these tyres, the 5 Series Touring is able to continue for at least 150 kilometres or somewhat over 90 miles at a maximum speed of 80 km/h or 50 mph, even with the tyres completely flat. As a result, the driver is no longer required in the event of a puncture to change the wheel immediately, possibly in the dark, under rainy conditions, or even at a dangerous spot on the road.

A Tyre Defect Indicator permanently monitoring tyre pressure while driving and warning the driver of a loss in pressure through both an optical and an acoustic signal is standard, finally, on all BMW 5 Series Tourings.

Published 4 April 2004 Melanie Carter

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