The boys from Bavaria are still churning out magnificently dynamic, engaging, luxurious, high-quality cars, and the new 5-Series is no exception.
We’ve just tested the 540i xDrive, which answers every question you ever asked, and a few that never crossed your petrolheaded mind. Bells and whistles? All those, and cymbals, drums, trumpets and string section besides.
Our 5-Series was a showcase for every conceivable technology BMW has underway right now: self-steering, active cruise control, remote parking, heads-up display, adaptive LED headlights, enhanced Bluetooth with wireless phone charging, key fob with display screen, gesture control, Bowers and Wilkins diamond surround system, variable damper control, massaging seats… you get the idea?
Before we get down to old-fashioned business like what’s actually under the bonnet and bodywork, let’s examine that list. We were too scared to try the remote parking function, because we were parking mainly in London, between pricey cars – how many customers will regularly trust that function? And we couldn’t get the car to recognise our gestures either but we were doing something wrong, no doubt, and also felt like idiots conducting an invisible orchestra beyond the windscreen. Everything else: yes please. In particular, those Bowers and Wilkins speakers, silver fretwork over-lacing blue-lit cones, which are mounted by the A-pillars, and are sumptuous adornments to the monochrome piano-black and cream leather interior.
BMW’s smart iDrive control system for all interior functions has gone through several iterations since its introduction many moons ago, and now includes the ability to scrawl your commands with your finger on top of the central knob, but every development (that last one aside) has been for the better. For example, when you select from a menu (say, Radio2 from the DAB listing), the right side of the large screen will show you the next possible choices before you have actually selected anything. It’s all clearer, easier, smarter and better.