ONE of the perks of this job is the opportunity to follow a car's progress from its early years on these shores.
For me, one such is the BMW 5 Series which was a true game changer when it charged on to the UK scene in the early 1970s.
With its punchy six-cylinder petrol engine it was a car that took no prisoners, being a somewhat demanding drive if you overpowered it on corners.
It was one of those cars that gave a lot and asked a lot and I took it to heart and drove it with these considerations in mind.
In fact, that early BMW 5 Series taught me more about driving large fast salons than any other at the time and I have always had great respect for it.
Soon the 5 Series became a true pioneer of the executive express and since then has become one of the top premium cars in Britain and its latest version has all the exciting allure of the original with a mind boggling array of technology that looks after the driver and passengers.
The latest version, the seventh generation, although still a substantial car is much lighter than its predecessor, making great use of aluminium in construction to lead the charge to net well-off business and private users.
Power is by from is a newly developed modular engine range featuring a lightweight thermodynamic all-aluminium construction.
Handling is honed to a very advanced degree, using the cars lighter weight to combine with a redesigned chassis and some highly intelligent engineering.
Years ago, cars sometimes sold on looks and power, but things have changed with more focus being placed on the interior with the types of driver who can afford a car like this demanding the very latest in terms of driver aids, connectivity and the like.
Needless to say that the test car did not come cheap with a pricetag of £39,025 on the road, bumped up to £48,495 with a mind-boggling list of options including a Technology package which featured such goodies as a head-up display and Wi-Fi hotspot preparation. There was also and M Sport Plus package including some very classy 19-inch alloys.
Many are destined to be business cars so this car's enviable performance is laced with a 68.8 combined mpg figure and 114g/km CO2 emissions figure.
For its 190bhp output, the diesel unit of the 520d is capable of 146mph performance with a 7.5 second 0-62mph sprint.
BMW 520d M Sport
Mechanical: 190bhp, 1,998cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving rear wheels via 8-speed automatic gearbox
Max Speed: 146mph
0-62mph: 7.5 seconds
Combined MPG: 68.8
Insurance Group: 31
C02 emissions: 114g/km
Bik rating: 24%
Warranty: 3yrs/100,000 miles