Revealed: 2011 BMW 5-Series Touring

Completing the new 5-Series lineup, BMW has officially taken the wraps off the 2011 5-Series Touring. Although a popular option in Europe, it remains doubtful the United States will have access to the 5-Series wagon, especially given the recent launch of the new 5-Series GT.

As is typical of most recent BMW re-designs, the 5-Series Touring adds some space between the wheels by extending the wheelbase nearly 10 centimeters and widening the track. The overall length grows by less than 2 centimeters, while its height is reduced slightly and its width increases by a fraction.

Thanks to that added space, the 5-Series Touring offers 19.7 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats. Folding the 40:20:40 seats expands that figure to nearly 59 cubic feet of cargo space.

At launch the 5-Series Touring will be available with four engine choices -- two six-cylinder gas engines and two diesel units. The gas range starts with the 204 horsepower 523i and culminates in the 306 horsepower 535i. Those wanting maximum efficiency can choose from the four-cylinder 520d -- generating 184 horsepower -- or the more powerful 245 horsepower 530d. All models of the 5-Series Touring are available with BMW's 8-speed gearbox.

While not available at launch, it is expected that BMW will eventually add its 4.4L twin-turbo V8 to the 5-Series Touring mix.

U.S. availability in question
Very recently, the future of the 5-Series Wagon for the U.S. market has been questioned, possibly stopping it from ever arriving. BMW has traditionally sold a wagon variant of the 5-Series in the United States, but the current wagon is performing well under expectations. In fact, BMW sold fewer than 1,000 examples of the 5-Series wagon in the United States last year.

The addition of the 5-Series GT is also weighing against a 5-Series wagon for the U.S. Launched late last year, the 5-Series GT essentially acts as a sedan-wagon hybrid, potentially eliminating the need for a true wagon body style. An official decision on the fate of the U.S.-spec 5-Series wagon has yet to be made, but the outlook does not look good. "I don't think we will sell it because in the past, station wagons have not sold well," Klaus Draeger, BMW AG board member for research and development, told Automotive News.