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BMW withstands test of time with new 540i

By Craig And Deanne Conover - | Jun 13, 2021
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The new BMW 5 Series Sedan.

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The new BMW 5 Series Sedan.

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The new BMW 5 Series Sedan.

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The new BMW 5 Series Sedan.

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Over the past 10 years we have encountered many different taglines that manufacturers use to describe their entire line of vehicles or even just one vehicle at a time. It seems, however, that these tags tend to change as new agencies come and go.

There are those that really seem to resonate with everyone and stick around, like Nike – “Just do it,” “Like a good neighbor State Farm is there,” or even “Melts in your mouth, not in your hands” that came from M&M’s.

In the automotive world there is only one of these taglines that has been truly tested by the passing of time and that is BMW’s, “Ultimate Driving Machine.” This came about back in the mid-1970s as BMW was looking to become more of an influence in the American market.

The moniker has really worked for the car company, once they even put forth the following, “We don’t make sports cars. We don’t make SUVs. We don’t make hybrids. We don’t make luxury sedans. We only make one thing. The Ultimate Driving Machine.” When it works, it really works as it has done for BMW.

Since that time BMW has done exactly that in producing the “Ultimate Driving Machine” time and time again, no matter what product it may be. We found that to truly be the case with the new seventh-generation 5 Series Sedan.

The new design is sleeker and a little longer (1.2 inches) than the outgoing model, with the infamous kidney grille growing wider and taller, and the headlamps slimming down, giving the sedan a more race-like appearance. We felt that the new design really worked with bold style and design, yet exuding luxury and competence that we would have expected from any BMW.

Some say that BMW has moved away from driving and handling excitement to feature more comfortable and executive type features. To some extent this is true, but we love all the pampering and safety features that come with the purchase of a new Bimmer.

And with the available M package there really should be something in the mix for everyone. We have driven a number of BMWs over the years and have never met one that was not engaging and exciting to drive.

For example, the new sedan can be had with different engine configuration, be it a 4-cylinder, 6-cylinder or roaring 8-cylinder setup ranging in power from 248 to 523 horsepower — something for everyone in the market we would have to think. Each one comes complete with a twin scroll turbocharger, making each unique in its own way.

Our test ride came in a 6-cylinder version complete with 335 ponies that would run to 60 mph in a short 4.9 seconds. Very quick for a full-sized sedan. We certainly had no complaints from our adult daughter Sadie when she was in the back for any of the times we were out on errands or for dinner.

If that were not fast enough one could step up to a V8 model that makes 523 horsepower and gets to 60 in a mere 3.6 seconds. Yes, something for everyone indeed!

Inside, the upgraded Napa leather quilted seating surfaces were very much designed for comfort and enjoyment, which we partook of completely during our week-long test ride. They would adjust in what seemed like endless ways, were heated and cooled, providing complete comfort no matter what the drive involved.

New this year to the 5 Series is an advanced driver assistance system, OK, so pretty much every manufacturer is adding blind spot monitors, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist and the like. BMW has taken those technologies to another level with this system.

The system will display on the driver information screen, an enhanced 3D rendering of the surrounding area, depicting all the cars, trucks and motorcycles which are seen by the onboard cameras, in not only the driver’s lane but adjacent lanes also.

It will then take all of this information and highlight vehicles that are within a critical distance of the Bimmer, and also indicate the best way to maneuver to get out of a bad situation if needed. This will help to ensure that the driver has all of the relevant information needed to make maneuvers to avoid an accident if possible. If navigation is being used, the instructions will be shown above this camera view for the driver to follow.

OK, so it was a very cool new addition and a great help in a heavy traffic situation, however, the navigation gets even better by using real time traffic data to update the route that has been input. This is all stored in the Cloud and transmitted back to the vehicle via satellite and should make updates within seconds of getting new driving information from the BMW fleet.

Also new this year is a personal assistant in the 5 Series that allows the driver or passenger to talk with the vehicle simply by saying the words, “Hey, BMW” and the assistant will try and help with questions, navigation, rolling up and down windows, and adjusting climate — those kinds of things. It worked very similar to Alexa in our home, just more vehicle centric.

Technology, power and excitement again add up to the “The Ultimate Driving Machine” in the new BMW 5 Series Sedan!

Base price: $61,780

Destination: $995

Price as driven: $77,935

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