Over the previous few years, we have complained loads that as we speak’s BMW four-doors draw back from the sports-sedan greatness of the previous-generation fashions. As the model’s SUVs proceed to ratchet up the sporting perspective, its sedans—significantly ones with out an M of their alphanumeric names—are left to play a special position, catering to consumers who’re particularly in search of a snug, long-distance cruiser.

While the 3-series nonetheless provides an honest stage of driving satisfaction, the bigger 5- and 7-series automobiles have developed (or devolved, relying in your perspective) into final consolation machines. Although that is disappointing information for driving fans, we acknowledge that there is room on this world for quietly competent, sedately mannered luxurious sedans, and the 2021 5-series receives a lot of enhancements to additional that mission.

Michael SimariCar and Driver

Curb Appeal

A bigger entrance grille, extra aggressively styled headlamps, and new wheel designs give the 2021 mannequin a contemporary, expensive-looking look. Inside, BMW added a bigger 12.3-inch infotainment show with in-dash navigation, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay all supplied at no further cost. New perforated faux-leather upholstery with distinction stitching attire up the modestly geared up fashions. Our take a look at automobile, a well-equipped all-wheel-drive 540i xDrive ringing in at $78,235, got here with the non-compulsory nappa leather-based—in a stunning mocha-brown hue—in addition to the Luxury Seating package deal ($1000), which incorporates 20-way adjustable entrance seats with warmth and air flow.

HIGHS: Seamless energy supply, palatial inside house, velvety trip high quality.

Michael SimariCar and Driver

More necessary than the styling updates, the turbocharged 335-hp inline-six receives an improve below the hood within the type of a brand new 48-volt motor-generator. It serves to reinforce the six’s silkiness and sharpens throttle response, however at our take a look at monitor it did nothing to hurry the 540i’s acceleration. In truth, the 2021 mannequin was 0.3-second slower to 60 mph than the 2017 mannequin we final examined. Its 4.7-second outcome remains to be loads fast, nevertheless, and the 540i breezed by way of the quarter-mile in 13.3 seconds at 106 mph. Those outcomes are much like the final Audi A6 we examined, which featured a turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 and an identical 48-volt system. That automobile managed a 4.7-second zero-to-60-mph time and a 13.3-second quarter-mile at 104 mph.

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Our take a look at automobile was geared up with the M Sport package deal ($3300) and the Dynamic Handling package deal ($3200), the previous of which provides the variable sport steering system, whereas the latter brings lively roll bars and adaptive dampers. Setting the drive mode to Sport companies up the steering really feel and re-tunes the dampers for a extra agile really feel by way of corners. Even so, the 540i is extra at dwelling in its Comfort setting, drifting alongside and just about erasing minor street imperfections.

Inner Peace

The 540i’s vast physique interprets to a spacious cabin with room for 4 adults to journey in consolation. Although we want the inside design supplied extra aptitude than the inexpensive 3- and 2-series fashions, its materials high quality and exact development are appreciated. The 20-way adjustable seats present loads of choices to dial in simply the best driving place, however our tester’s thrones lacked the $1000 therapeutic massage operate to pamper our backsides.

Michael SimariCar and Driver

LOWS: Still lacks the agility of earlier generations, therapeutic massage operate is non-compulsory, barely boring inside design.

Still, the 540i’s subdued driving nature, luxe curb enchantment, and first-class cabin make for an amazing government automobile, particularly for these days when a restful commute dwelling is basically all that issues. To that finish, BMW’s myriad driver-assistance options can work to mitigate your gridlock-induced stress. The $1700 Driving Assistant Plus package deal is value getting, because it consists of adaptive cruise management with a traffic-jam assistant characteristic, permitting the 540i to observe the automobiles forward by way of bumper-to-bumper logjams. It’s telling that we would suggest an possibility that makes you even much less concerned with driving the automobile.

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There was a time when any 5-series, no matter powerplant or suspension package deal, was a sports activities sedan by default. But that period ended a couple of decade in the past, with the departure of the Bangle-designed fifth-gen 5-series. So, maybe it is time for us to just accept that BMW’s mid-size four-door is now not inherently aggressive and as a substitute recognize the 5-series as it’s now—a imperious cruiser with understated energy. And in case you lengthy for a 5-series that delivers on the promise of a BMW sports activities sedan, the M5 nonetheless exists.

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