It isn't just the outside of the 5-series that's been breathed upon for '08. Inside, new ground was broken by BMW and OEM Johnson Controls to create two color door panels using a single sheet of material. Typically, door panels that have multiple colors have multiple pieces. That adds weight and expense to the final assembly, not to mention all the eventual squeaks and rattles. The new 5 series door panels use a single backing panel, and a two color film is applied. It's not a trifle to get everything to line up – as the film is applied, it stretches. Tolerances where the two colors converge are tightly monitored and adjusted on the fly by trick new machinery developed by BMW and Johnson Controls in the automated process. We're sure it won't lead to cheaper 5 series Bimmers, but anything that can help keep weight and complexity down is welcome – especially for us poor saps who buy these things used and find out exactly what gets loose.
[Source: The Auto Channel]