BMW’s seventh-generation 5 Series will boast impressive new technology when it hits UK showrooms in February 2017.

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The renowned executive car has fallen behind its rivals recently with the Jaguar XF and Mercedes E-Class setting new benchmarks. However, the 5 Series will benefit from innovations made with its big brother – the 7 Series – such as its new lightweight chassis and futuristic self-driving systems.

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On the surface, BMW’s designers have applied a light touch when updating the 5 Series’ look. It is instantly recognisable, but new sleeker LED headlights and more detailed lines deliver a subtle refresh with the prominent shoulder line stretching back to tail lights and removal of the bonnet shut line. Buyers will be able to choose from 21 exterior paint finishes and 17 to 20-inch alloy wheels.

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The new 5 Series sits on the same chassis as the 7 Series but without the carbon fibre core. Nonetheless, this makes it 70kg lighter while greater use of aluminium on the body, as well as lighter brakes and alloys shave another 30kg from its curb weight.

The new chassis means it is slightly larger than its predecessor, with the overall length stretched by 36mm. Less dramatic dimension changes include 7mm added to the wheelbase and it is 6mm wider and 2mm taller too. There’s also 530 litres of boot space now, ten more than before.

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What of this fancy self-driving thing then? Like the 7 Series before it, the 5 Series will come with sensors, cameras and radars that allow it to drive by itself on motorways up to 130mph. Only the brave need apply, it seems.

A new parking assist locates empty spots and a remote parking system can park the car without anyone at the wheel too.

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Following the recent arrival of plug-in hybrid versions of the 3 Series and 2 Series Active Tourer, a plug-in 5 Series will be available for the first time and the 530e boasts numbers that will make the eyes of company drivers widen.

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By partnering an electric motor to a two-litre four cylinder petrol engine, the car returns 141.2mpg while emitting just 46g/km of CO2. Its 249bhp output means it should be able to shift too.

For performance-minded drivers, the 540i will be the nippiest option from launch with its 335bhp six-pot turbo engine. No figures are available yet but it might be worth waiting for the M550i xDrive anyway. With a 455bhp 4.4-litre V8 engine, it can clear 0-62mph in four second flat, which is a third of a second quicker than current 552bhp M5.

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Prices are expected to start from £33,000 when it goes on sale early 2017.

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