2021 BMW 540i Review | First drive, what’s new, pricing, photos


Today’s BMW 5 Collection doesn’t have the exact same mission assertion as it did a decade or two ago. For many years, the German automaker’s center sedan was created to be the absolute sharpest software in the luxurious vehicle shed. Its steering was great, its ride was crisp and its engines had been punchy. In limited, it was intended to be the most worthwhile sports activities sedan that cash could obtain. And for many years — especially about the class of the E39 glory days — that is precisely what it was.

Somewhere alongside the way, the 5 Series’ foremost objective shifted as the sedan morphed into a rolling showcase of BMW’s technological know-how, even if that meant the genuine driving experience was numbed and dumbed to match the shifting tastes of luxury motor vehicle customers. Factor is, as substantially as lovers bemoan the results that cutting-edge technology has experienced on the experience driving the wheel, the actuality of the matter is that the 2021 BMW 540i is a pretty pleasurable car to generate, and it is measurably the very best mainstream 5er that has ever rolled down the line.

The 2021 BMW 5 Sequence signifies a significant refresh on the previous clear-sheet redesign that we initially tested in 2017. The pointy ends have been restyled, creating it a tiny more than an inch extended than ahead of. The kidney grille is now one conjoined piece as an alternative of two and far more outstanding for 2021, but luckily not comically so like the newest 4 Series. The headlights have also been pinched and pulled much more taut.

Our tester seemed stately in white, only a little livened up with Y-spoke wheels with red calipers. The 5 Collection remains distinguished, but not above-the-top rated, like some of BMW’s crossovers.

2021 BMW 540i Review | First drive, what's new, pricing, photos

Inside of, the angles and varieties are a bit extra serious than the previous 5 Sequence, but the total search is calmer than the decadent, and frankly nicer, Mercedes-Benz E-Course. Most will say the Mercedes is far more magnificent in its presentation, whilst the Bimmer is extra delicate.

Twin 12.3-inch shows dominate the dashboard, one particular directly in front of the driver providing have to have-to-know data in amongst digital speedometer and tachometer gauges that adjust in design and style dependent on the driving manner. The other is in the centre operating BMW’s latest iDrive 7 infotainment procedure. Apple CarPlay and Android Car are regular, as is navigation. There are genuine tactile buttons for the local climate regulate and audio procedure, alongside with the automaker’s properly-identified command knob on the heart console with accompanying menu buttons.

You can study all about iDrive 7 right here, but in short, there are nonetheless a good deal of levels but it’s largely reasonable in layout and comparatively uncomplicated to discover. We in particular recognize that it can be managed by way of each the touchscreen and the wheel-formed knob.

2021 BMW 540i Review | First drive, what's new, pricing, photos

Apart from the primping and prodding within and out, the large information for the 2021 540i is a gentle-hybrid powertrain that incorporates a 48-volt electrical procedure. The very little electric powered motor adds a minor extra than 10 horsepower to the car’s ranking of 335 horsepower and 331 pound-feet of torque, so the extensive vast majority of thrust is furnished by a 3.-liter turbocharged inline-six-cylinder motor. Those ponies are sent to the rear, or, as was the case with our 540i xDrive test car or truck, all four wheels by means of an eight-pace automated transmission.

BMW prices a -60 time of 4.6 seconds for the 2021 540i xDrive (a few tenths faster than the rear-generate model), which is quite superior. That is about the exact same as the previous non-hybridized variation, but we uncovered that the more thrust from the electric powered motor smoothed out the in general experience of the turbocharged powertrain, especially suitable off the line, and ahead of and immediately after gearshifts. There are steering wheel change paddles and a manual method for the transmission, but the digital brains are so very good in the default and Activity modes that they aren’t definitely necessary.

The delicate hybrid powertrain allows the 2021 540i xDrive’s gasoline economic system make improvements to to 23 mpg town, 31 mpg highway and 26 mpg merged. In comparison to the non-hybrid 2020 product, that’s 1 mpg better in the metropolis and put together ratings and two superior on the highway. It is also 1 mpg greater than the Mercedes-Benz E 450 4Matic’s highway rating and better than a similar Audi A6’s scores across the board, creating the BMW a phase leader in fuel performance. It is also worthy of noting that the considerably less strong 530i xDrive’s EPA rankings of 23 city and 32 freeway indicate there is no fantastic sacrifice to the more electrical power of the 540i’s 6-cylinder motor.

The 2021 5 Series’ journey is easy and refined. We never hit a bump that upset the chassis, and it remains commendably flat by way of tricky corners. The sedan tackles corners and maintains bearing in a way that will you should fanatics, nonetheless will not depart them or their travellers sensation queasy throughout aggressive maneuvers. Its steering provided appropriate, significant opinions that we observed feels gratifying and participating when hustled at speed but extremely light-weight the relaxation of the time. It may perhaps not shift its driver in the similar way as the E39 or E60 vintages did, but when compared to its existing-working day peers, the 2021 5 Series’ manners are mostly without having fault.

We did uncover fault with the hottest era of BMW’s driver guide functions, nevertheless. The automated cruise handle procedure performs very well, trying to keep a superior (and adjustable) distance even down to a complete cease, but BMW’s Active Lane Preserving Assistant trails that of its rivals. In our 7 days-prolonged practical experience, the 5 Sequence tended to pogo from a single aspect of the lane to the other and oftentimes just disengaged solely, even on comparatively straight roadways with very clear lines and markers. Right after a great deal fiddling and irritation, we turned it off.

The 2021 540i xDrive begins at $62,745. That is a $2,300 premium for all-wheel travel, and $5,250 additional than the lesser 530i xDrive. If we had been spending our personal income, we’d be pleased to skimp on a couple solutions to get the 540i in excess of the 530i. There is also the 523-horsepower M550i xDrive for $77,795 as properly as the 530e plug-in hybrid that starts off at $58,195 or $60,495 with all-wheel drive. We’ve considering the fact that analyzed that version as properly, but aside from its remarkable fuel performance, its added weight and complexity dim the driving experience, and its trunk quantity is severely minimized. The 540i is without a doubt the greater 5er to spotlight. 

Pricing for the equivalent Mercedes-Benz E 450 4Matic sedan is basically equal to the 540i, and in keeping with heritage, the Audi A6 undercuts them both equally by a couple of thousand. Of class, quite number of of these luxurious sedans are ever sold without any possibilities, and pricing rises considerably with just a handful of clicks of the mouse. An instance like our exam car, blessed with the M Sport package, driving aids and a couple of packages will cost close to $75,000.

Besides a couple nitpicks, we actually relished our time in the 2021 540i xDrive. When this sedan is at its most effective, it is the great bridge involving the 3 and 7 Series, combining electricity with the right balance of agility and luxury characteristics. If thrust were to occur to shove, we’d select an E-Course in excess of the 5er, but we’d wholly understand if a person were being to want the extra subtle touch of the BMW more than Mercedes’ a bit extra ostentatious take on German luxurious.

The 2021 5 Collection is not what it applied to be, because of course it isn’t and neither is anything at all else. What is is, nevertheless, is a grown-up, point out-of-the-art and point out-of-the-occasions sedan with all the bells and whistles. Sleek, comfortable, quick and serene, but just a notch under the prettier E-Class on our luxury chart.

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