Details emerge on next BMW 5-Series

When it launches in 2016, the next 5-Series will boast a lighter curb weight and increased efficiency.

The first details concerning the next generation of BMW's 5-Series midsize luxury sedan have made their way onto the internet.

Due out in 2016, the upcoming 5-Series will ride on a lightweight and highly flexible new platform that's capable of being revised to also underpin the next 3-Series and 7-Series, according to an Auto Express report.

The weight-saving architecture, in addition to an expanded use of aluminum, carbon fiber reinforced plastic and high-strength steel, will factor heavily in BMW's effort to cut around 200 lbs. from the sedan's curb weight. The reduced mass should serve to improve handling - an area in which the current model has faced criticism - as well as efficiency.

Enabling further mileage gains will be BMW's latest modular engine range, which debuted under the hood of the 2014 MINI Hardtop in three- and four-cylinder forms and will eventually spawn a new straight-six. BMW is said to be considering the triple for the new 5-Series, although such a configuration would likely be confined to European markets. Meanwhile, the M5 will get an updated version of the current twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V8.

On the styling front, don't expect a Bangle-like revolution - instead, BMW will reportedly massage the conservative lines of the current car to foster a greater sense of athleticism. The addition of BMW's new corporate face, with headlights that bleed into the kidney grille, will be another appreciable design change. The controversial 5-Series Gran Turismo will continue to be offered alongside the normal sedan bodystyle.

As will be the case with many future vehicles, semi-autonomous driving could be part of the 5-Series' bag of technological tricks. The German automaker is currently testing a system that takes control on the highway, though it is unclear if the setup - or the pertinent legal framework - will be ready in time for the 2016 launch date.

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