2017 BMW 540i xDrive Review The 540i xDrive examined here faces challenging competitors: 4 rival brand names from Europe, 4 a lot more from Asia, and two U.S. luxury brand names, all hungry for his or her slice of your pie. BMW came prepared. Although the brand new 5-series is actually a touch greater in just about every outside dimension and packed with each and every imaginable driver-assistance and security help, our test car or truck weighed 16 lbs much less than the 535i xDrive we examined three many years ago. Chalk that as much as shrewd engineering and even more substantial utilization of aluminum. And, despite an exterior that recycles the sixth generation’s design and style motif, the LED headlights are bigger and brighter, bigger kidney grilles now incorporate movable slats, and new front fender vents smooth the air flowing along side surfaces. Air deflectors and belly pans calm under-car turbulence.
2017 BMW 540i xDrive Review
BMW’s chassis engineers outdid themselves. Lighter suspension components are anchored to a stiffer unibody. Variable-ratio steering with speed-sensitive electric assistance is often coupled with rear-wheel steering. An electronic controller regulates damper settings corner by corner likewise as front and rear anti-roll bar stiffness. The xDrive all-wheel-drive system-which now might be combined with the M Sport package’s reduced trip height and four-wheel steering-improves winter mobility and eliminates wheelspin in the course of launch without the need of harming back-road agility.
German technological innovation in no way comes low-priced, and also the 540i xDrive begins at just underneath $60,000. Adding in pretty much every single goody BMW advertising mavens dreamed up inflated the bottom line of our test car or truck to $82,360. Many driver-assistance and collision-avoidance aids tack on $4900. The prime Bowers & Wilkins 10-channel, 16-speaker, 1400-watt sound method costs $4200. The M Sport package adds $3250. The $3200 Dynamic Handling package includes the adaptive anti-roll bars and dampers but unfortunately cannot be mixed together with the $1150 four-wheel steering unless you step up to the M550i. Gesture control of infotainment functions ($190), a decklid that opens and closes with the swing of a foot ($600), remote-control automated parking ($750), Apple CarPlay ($300), soft-close doors ($600), and ceramic instead of plastic control knobs ($650) may seem gratuitous to some, but such upgrades are the price of entry in today’s motor vehicle market, where just about every whim commands attention.
Our whim is expeditious A-to-B travel mixed with spellbinding driving. Two weeks of testing revealed that this 5-series is better in several areas although disappointing in a few. The bigger trunk now swallows 4 sets of golf clubs, and rear legroom is 1.2 inches greater than before. The standard leather seats are lovely to see and touch, and their support is impeccable. The M Sport steering wheel is actually a gold standard for section thickness, grip, and aesthetics. The grain and texture on the wood dash and door trim could pass the toughest Joyce Kilmer scrutiny. The faux-leather dash pad-covered in what BMW calls SensaTec-has a lovely feel, and this interior’s hard-plastic content is essentially nil. The iDrive infotainment mouse finally commands the comprehensive infotainment method intuitively, plus the head-up display (included in the Driver Support package) works perfectly. A new Adaptive button on the center console automatically cycles chassis settings between Sport and Comfort depending on how aggressively you’re driving.
2017 BMW 540i xDrive Review - Interior:
As always, BMW’s turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six earns pole position in the engine hall of fame. With 335 horsepower, the new-for-2017 B58 edition is 10 percent far more potent, and it hustles this two-ton-plus sedan to 60 mph in an impressive 4.five seconds and through the quarter-mile in 13.1 seconds at 108 mph. There isn’t so much as a tire chirp off the line or any thrust disruption as the eight-speed automatic picks taller gears at the 7000-rpm redline. The higher you rev it, the extra sweetly this engine sings, yet it barely hums though cruising. It also returned 21 mpg in our hands.
Speedwise, this 540i is in the thick of it with all the all-wheel-drive competitors: quicker compared to the Audi A6 3.0T (five.2 to 60 mph, 13.7 seconds at 105 mph in the quarter-mile) and Jaguar XF S (five.0 and 13.five at 104) but a blink slower than the Mercedes-AMG E43 (4.2 and 12.8 at 109). Confirming what our ears told us, this BMW with its 72-decibel full-throttle noise level is quieter than the Jag plus the Merc, losing to the Audi by only one decibel.
Rolling on 19-inch Continental all-season run-flat tires, BMW’s newest combatant also performed impressively in cornering and braking tests. Stopping from 70 mph took 169 feet, with no fade evident. The adaptive anti-roll bars restrict body roll to only a couple of degrees on the skidpad even though minimizing front-tire scrub at the limit. The 0.88-g lateral acceleration we measured beats the Jag XF (0.86 g, also on all-season radials), falling only slightly behind the A6 (0.93 g) plus the E43 (0.92 g), which were both on 20-inch summer tires.
Trip motions never ever verge on harsh, even in the Sport Plus chassis setting. The automatic damping does a commendable job of dealing with ragged pavement edges without the need of flustering lateral grip on smooth roads. And when you lift off the gas to placate understeer, the nose takes a fresh bite without an unnerving swing in the tail.
2017 BMW 540i xDrive Review - Features:
There are instances of unseemly behavior, though. The 540i xDrive’s nose rises on hard acceleration, dips when you lift off the throttle, and drops in the course of forceful braking. Although that’s not a horrible fault, it seems odd given the otherwise sophisticated damper control built into this chassis. We also noticed some wandering although cruising on the freeway with side drafts ruffling our feathers. Other minor gripes are headrests that cannot be moved back and out from the way devoid of sacrificing upper-torso support and a door-pocket edge that grinds the driver’s left thigh in the course of hard cornering. On exit, the driver’s left shoelace can snag the hood-release handle.
Regular readers may tire of our persistent whining about BMW steering, but this new 540i forces our hand (or mouth) on that subject. The null zone on-center is only a few degrees, the effort builds nicely and promptly when you initiate a turn, as well as electrically assisted rack-and-pinion steering method never pesters you with annoying kickback over bumps or textured pavement. The bad news is a total lack of feedback from the street; that vital communication channel is a dial tone.
BMW development engineers told us that today’s customers request “isolation” when they’re queried on the subject of steering, so that is precisely what the owner body has been given. As together with the lack of an available clutch pedal, it’s another sign that the 5-series-previously skilled at serving both cruising and charging drivers-has narrowed its focus.
We have a few theories about why the brand new 5 all but ignores its E39 heritage as a driver’s delight. Size is certainly a factor: Today’s BMW 3-series is only slightly smaller than the 5-series from two decades in the past, nudging the seventh-generation 5-series toward the limousine lane. The evolving global business model is also at play. Last year, BMW sold four times extra 5-series sedans in China than it did in the United States, consistent with that country’s four-times-greater population. Bimmer buyers on that side from the globe receive only long-wheelbase 5s, owing to their devotion to luxuriously roomy back seats. So maybe the blame lies not with all the Bavarians but with the Chinese for the evolution of the 5-series into an ultimate riding machine.