review bmw 540i
Last Updated : GMT 12:45:25
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Last Updated : GMT 12:45:25
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Review: BMW 540i

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Emiratesvoice, emirates voice Review: BMW 540i

The incoming 7th-gen boulevard cruiser is as high tech as ever,
Abu Dhabi - Emirates Voice

The German manufacturer with the coveted three letters, BMW was once known to build the best sports sedans. Now, it focuses on SUVs and some pseudo classes. But we think there is a glimmer of hope, with the newly restyled and re-engineered, venerable 5-Series. We got to drive one, a 2017 BMW 540i, and here are our thoughts.

DESIGN & AESTHETICS    
Let's get right to it, as the Germans would! This 7th generation sedan is a bigger car in all aspects. It is 36mm longer at 4,935mm, 6mm wider at 1,868mm, and 2mm taller
at 1,466mm, with a 7mm longer wheelbase at 2,975mm.
It is also more impressionable. The familiar silhouette remains but it's the new details that give it a little extra: starting with the signature kidney grille that has been stretched out to meet the headlights. Active Air Stream shutters operate to the car's advantage, closing to reduce drag coefficient to a class-leading 0.22, and opening when cooling is required. The standard LED headlights with the anti-dazzle high beam has a range of up to 500 metres. That is half a kilometre! And the peculiar hexagonal pattern of the LED daytime driving lights that cradle the headlamps is a real eye-catcher.
Although not much can be said about the profile, I must mention that the doors - of a car that weighs 100kg lighter than its predecessor - weigh only 6kg, making them the lightest in the segment, thanks to a generous use of high-strength steel, magnesium etc. As for wheels, you have 17-inch diameter rims on the base model, but 19- and 20-inch are the way to go.
At the rear, the LED bars create a slim interpretation of the hallmark BMW "L" shape and emphasise the width, but I prefer the wing-like light setting of its predecessor; this one looks a bit like a 3-Series. If the last-gen 5-Series is that cute guy or girl next door, you can imagine this one to be the same person, except dressed to impress. Also note, you can have the 5-Series with either the Sport or Luxury line, but we suggest getting the M Sport pack, which lets the car sit lower, adds larger M5-style intakes, side skirts, diffusor-style rear apron and two rectangular tailpipes.
As we made our way into the cabin, we noticed they'd worked on the door cutouts. Getting in and out is much easier - certainly more so than the Mercedes E-Class. Once seated, you'll find the very Germanic interior, filled with signature BMW architecture, is not exactly inspiring - you could be seated in a 5-Series from 2014 and you'd wouldn't notice the difference. However, the high-quality trims and ergonomics make it a great place to be in. The few changes include a sporty new steering wheel with more satin highlights and a smaller, rounder wheel centre. The infotainment screen has also been popped out from the dashboard and made into a 10.25-inch free-standing unit, seen in the Beemers of today. Again, with the M Sport pack, you get exclusive steering wheel, floor mats, interior trims and aluminium pedals.
While the front seats, with their many power adjustments and massage programmes, allow you to relax your muscles and spine, the real reason to rejoice is the more accommodating rear cabin - a welcome improvement over the namesake mid-size sedan it was. Now, the door pockets can actually hold 1-litre bottles.

POWERTRAIN & PERFORMANCE
Our 540i test car - which traditionally would have been powered by an engine with a 4.0-litre displacement or so - is a 3.0-litre 6-cylinder with TwinScroll turbocharging, High Precision Injection, Double-VANOS variable camshaft control and Valvetronic fully variable valve timing. Yes, that is a mouthful!
Before we talk numbers, let me state that from our drives, we've found this to be a true boulevard cruiser. It gives you solace when you drive from work and vice versa, thanks to exceptional acoustic management - and it rides well too. You wouldn't hurt a muscle or a joint over the long haul.
The 540i makes a healthy 340 bhp and 450 Nm of torque - up from last year's 306 and 400 respectively. And without question, it moves with enthusiasm, eclipsing the 100 km/h mark in a claimed 5.1 seconds. The thing is: it doesn't feel as quick as the numbers suggest. I was expecting fireworks: maybe a little rumble as the wheels tumble (but the exhaust was muted), or a sudden surge of torque that would pin you to your seat (but nothing happened). Guess the 5-Series remains the car that transitioned from a sporty sedan to a SWB limousine, making it more like the E-Class.
If you want more power but want to keep the subtlety, get the 440 bhp 550i, which gets to a tonne in 4 seconds flat. But if you choose value for 'rainy days' like these, you can have the 530i that makes an adequate 252 bhp and gets to 100 km/h in 6.2 seconds. If Elon Musk inspires you, but you still want to keep that BMW badge, get the newly introduced 530e iPerformance hybrid.
Either way, you don't have to worry about the environmental impact of this 540i - it doesn't carry around a smoky tail pipe. It puts out only about 150 gm/km of C02, while averaging just under 7L/100km - and achieves this using a new Intelligent stop/start function (that only switches off the engine over longer stops) and an ECO Pro mode that will dampen performance and gas-guzzling habits. Alternatively, you can also switch to SPORT Mode to get more torque out of holding lower gears, stiffer suspension and more weight added to the slightly numb feel of the electromechanical unit. Where it lacks in feel, it makes up in dynamics - thanks to the Integral Active Steering system, with steering rear wheels for extra agility. You can avail extra grip by opting for the optional xDrive all-wheel drive variants, which are also quicker off the blocks.

FEATURES & FUNCTIONALITY
The 5-Series just received the Goldener Computer Award, making it the most connected car in the world - and for good reason. It comes with a multitude of connectivity options, like a wireless charging dock, USB ports, a Bluetooth system that can connect two phones, and an audio player. The Dubai-only Concierge Service can connect the driver to a BMW Call Centre agent at the push of a button, who can then locate restaurants, ATMs and more, and can send the address directly to the navigation system. There's the gesture control which - like we saw on the 7-Series - can accept/reject calls, adjust volume etc by simple movements of the fingers. If you're too lazy to lift a finger, do it via voice commands that also recognise French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and Japanese, depending on region.
The 800x400 pixel head-up display boasts a 70 per cent larger projection area than before, and a chargeable smart key includes a colour display with touch control that can operate ventilation, windows and doors. It even shows fuel level and range. The Remote Control Parking function can be used to park the car into a tight spot using the key from the outside. Else, use the crystal-clear bird's-eye view and DIY!
Besides sensors and radar, you also have a stereo camera that reads traffic signs and incorporates them into the adaptive cruise control system. This car certainly has as many senses as you do. or more. Speaking of senses, the Bowers & Wilkins - with its Fibonacci-patterned perforated aluminium 16 speaker covers and 1400 Watt amplifier - will give you the aural boost you need for any bad day. As for the big P - practicality - the 530-litre boot is not only bigger than before but has a larger opening too, while the rear seats can be split and folded in a more versatile 40:20:40 manner.

VERDICT
Until recently, BMW held the formula for the complete executive sedan. The new 5-Series gains some of that lost turf with its unparalleled build quality and comfortable cabin - and an added degree of quintessential BMW dynamics (albeit leaving out bits of that complete driver's car feel). It isn't cheap, but you get high-tech features, connectivity, a larger rear cabin and a great music system. In all probability, it will continue to be a staple for white-collar executives and their families.

FUN FACT
Like all previous generations, since 1973, the new 5-Series will be built at BMW's Dingolfing plant in Bavaria.

SPECIFICATIONS  
Body type: 5-seater; 4-door premium full-size sedan
Engine: Front-engine; turbocharged 3.0-litre inline 6-cylinder; rear-wheel drive
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Peak output: 335 bhp @ 5,500 - 6,500 rpm; 450 Nm @ 1,380 - 5,000 rpm
0 to 100km/h: 5.1 seconds (claimed)
Top speed: 250 km/h (electronically limited; claimed)
Price: Starting at Dh250,000

Source: Khaleej Times

 

 

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