BMW 540i xDrive M

Sport

BMW 5-Series, front
BMW 5-Series, front
BMW 5-Series, side
BMW 5-Series, side
BMW 5-Series, side
BMW 5-Series, side
BMW 5-Series, rear
BMW 5-Series, rear
BMW 5-Series, interior
BMW 5-Series, interior
BMW 5-Series, interior
BMW 5-Series, front
BMW 5-Series, front

ZERO! That's the number of times I was waved through into a line of busy traffic, or acknowledged as I stopped at a pedestrian crossing, or thanked as I allowed a car to pull in ahead of me. Absolutely zero - and I could go on.

The reason as to why I was being deliberately blanked became pretty obvious to me after short consideration. It was down to the car I was driving which just happened to be a sleek, streamlined BMW 5 Series and it was finished in a Black Sapphire colour to complete the total irritation.

Did the rudeness bother me? Not one iota. That's because I was behind the wheel of a super-fast saloon that coasted through the traffic and left most of those ‘rude' motorists staring at its tail lights.

Now in its seventh generation, the BMW 5 Series has been gracing our roads for more than 45 years now and it just keeps on getting better with age.

We tried the 540i xDrive in M Sport Saloon guise priced at £51,685, although the cost was bumped up to £64,350 after a number of optional packs were introduced.

One thing soon becomes very clear - the latest BMW 5 Series is definitely the best yet and oozes class with its muscular styling, front LED fog lights, the instantly recognisable BMW kidney grille, sweeping light clusters, privacy glass, an electric glass sunroof, M-specific aerodynamic bodystyling, an M rear spoiler, twin tailpipes and 19-inch alloys to compete the look.

It looks pretty intimidating and has performance capabilities to match the appearance.

Powered by a 3.0-litre 340ps V6 petrol engine mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox, the 540i can sprint from 0-62mph in a very swift 4.8 seconds and maxes out at 155mph.

On the economy front, it can deliver a combined 36.2mpg with carbon emissions of 176g/km.

But it's the manner in which this Bimmer behaves that cannot fail to put a smile on your face. It seems to glide across the Tarmac absorbing any uneven surfaces as it goes.

The road holding is superb and comfort levels sublime. The acceleration and power at your disposal seem endless and the automatic transmission is perfectly timed with paddles if you want extra control over the gear changes.

There are also various driving modes that modify the car's behaviour and responses accordingly - these are called Eco Pro, Comfort and Sport.

The various modes alter the instrumentation with Eco Pro getting blue dials, Comfort a more traditional speedo and rev counter, and Sport introducing more dynamic dials along with an M logo as a gentle reminder that Sport in this car is going to be exhilarating.

The BMW 540i is a car for all moods. If you want a calmer, more relaxed driving experience the ride and handling can be as smooth as silk, but should you want to crank things up a little, switch across to Sport and hang onto your hat.

The acceleration is instantaneous as it fires through the gears and the direct and precise steering offers plenty of driver feedback as the car sweeps through the long winding B-roads.

The interior of the 540i is beautifully crafted with black Nappa leather upholstery with contrast stitching and piping, along with a ceramic finish to the controls, piano black trim and powered seats with a massage function.

Techno treats are plentiful too with the likes of a head-up display, a pitch perfect Harman Kardon sound system, full smartphone connectivity via Apple CarPlay, Bluetooth, wireless charging and W-iFi hotspots.

In addition, comfort levels for all occupants are high and the boot, which is power operated, can accommodate golf clubs, trolleys or suitcases with ease. It has a capacity of 530 litres although the 40:20:40 split folding rear seats mean that longer items can also be carried.

Factor in all the on-board safety specifications that resulted in the car being awarded a maximum five stars when it was tested for its Euro NCAP rating, and the latest 5 Series is the complete package.

FAST FACTS

BMW 540i xDrive M Sport

Price:£51,685

Mechanical: 340ps, 2,998cc, 6cyl petrol engine driving four wheels via 8-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 155mph

0-62mph: 4.8 seconds

Combined MPG: 36.2

Insurance Group: 40

C02 emissions: 176g/km

Bik rating: 36%

Warranty: 3yrs/unlimited miles

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