There was a time in history where no matter which BMW 5-Series trim level you chose, you would enjoy the exhilarating and sporty drive that the model was known for. Every 5-Series model, while they had various power ratings, was extremely fun to drive. Well, things have unquestionably changed. Once known for being “The Ultimate Driving Machine,” BMW is now building cars that attract a wider audience and that’s not entirely a bad thing.
See, BMW realized that not everyone wants a tight-handling and quick-accelerating sports sedan, and, while you may think differently if you’re a sports car enthusiast – that’s just the reality. BMW has now found a complete balance of comfort, luxury, and sport. If you want a tight-handling sporty sedan, you’ll have to go for the BMW M550i xDrive or the BMW M5 itself. If you want a smooth luxury sedan, you can pick between the 530i (and all its variants) or the BMW 540i. We recently spent a week test driving the new 2017 BMW 540i and here’s what we thought.
2017 BMW 540i Exterior:
This is probably the best-looking BMW 5-Series we’ve seen in a while. BMW has finally moved away from the polarizing looks of the E60 Bangle Butt 5-Series. The new 2017 BMW 5-Series is the seventh-generation version of the model and it is the perfect balance between looking elegant and aggressive.
The front end of the 2017 BMW 5-Series is highlighted by the latest iteration of the trademark kidney grille that gives it a lot of character and a noteworthy demeanor. The front is further magnified by a pair of menacing LED headlamps. The rear of the 2017 BMW 5-Series features a pair of sleek LED taillights that are emphasized with a touch of shadows and sharp lines.
The 2017 BMW 5-Series measures 194.6-inches in length, 73.5-inches in width, and stands at 58.2-inches in height.
Overall, the exterior of the 2017 BMW 5-Series is probably one of the more subtle ones we’ve seen in the segment these days, but it surely has its presence.
2017 BMW 540i Interior:
Take a seat inside the all-new 2017 BMW 5-Series and you’ll be welcomed by a very stylish and high-quality cabin that takes the sedan to the next-level. It seems that BMW has finally started offering all the high-quality materials and tech from the 7-Series in the 5-Series. Our test model, the 2017 BMW 540i, was covered in leather and soft-touch materials along with a perfect touch of polished wood and aluminum trims.
The cabin is also very spacious when compared to the previous generation model. Front passengers will appreciate a total legroom of 41.4-inches while rear passengers get an outstanding 36.5-inches of legroom.
Let’s talk about tech for a second. Before we get started, let’s just be clear that our test model costs more than $78,000, so we’re going to forgo talking about heated seats, Bluetooth, and navigation since those are pretty much expected at that price range. What stood out to us was the giant 10.2-inch touchscreen display that provides easy access to the new iDrive 6.0 system. The system is easily controlled by a dial knob on the center console and the knob also features a touchpad if you want to write out messages or enter a destination. The enormous screen is also great for viewing the Apple CarPlay system and the beautiful 3D maps. Our test model was also packed with the upgraded Bowers & Wilkins Diamond Surround Sound System and the innovative Gesture Control. The Gesture Control system was by far our favorite feature. It allows you to use simple hand gestures to control the volume, reject and accept calls, and skip tracks or change radio stations.
2017 BMW 540i Performance:
Power for the 2017 BMW 540i comes from a 3.0-liter TwinPower turbo inline six-cylinder engine that produces 335 horsepower and 332 lb-ft of torque. Coupled with an 8-speed automatic transmission, the 540i can go from 0 to 60 mph in 4.9 seconds. Now, those are some strong figures, but the 540i is unquestionably more of a cruiser than a sports car.
If you are in a bit of a hurry, you can pick between Sport and Sport Plus from the Driving Dynamic Control system. If you’re just cruising, you’ll have the option to pick between Eco Pro and Comfort modes. If you really miss the tight handling, BMW does offer the Dynamic Handling Package for $3,500 and that will help you decrease body roll while you’re putting the 540i through its paces.
Fuel economy-wise, the 2017 BMW 540i offers an EPA-rated 20/30 mpg* (city/highway).
2017 BMW 540i Safety:
The 2017 BMW 5-Series takes safety very seriously. Depending on how you package the new 540i, you can pick between remote control parking, automatic parallel parking, adaptive cruise control, blind spot notification, forward collision warning, city collision mitigation, lane departure warning and more. Our favorite feature has to be the Surround View camera system which provides a three-dimensional 360-degree view of your car.
2017 BMW 540i Overall:
The 2017 BMW 5′-Series is definitely a legend in the luxury sedan segment. While it has moved to being more a comfortable sedan than a mean and spirited sports sedan, it is still “The Ultimate Driving Machine that we’ve come to love and adore. Pricing for the 2017 BMW 540i start at $57,700**. If you’re in the market for a luxury sedan, make sure you visit your local AutoNation-affiliated dealer for a test drive.
*Based on EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.
**MSRP excluding tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.