s a rare thing to be able to put your foot down in the BMW 545i. You need plenty of space, a low gear so youre not advancing at absurd speed when you hear the V8 issue its distant, creamy, hammering wail, and preferably no witnesses, either human or electronic. This car is not supercarfast, but its more than quick enough for todays conditions, in the UK at least.
The 4.4litre variablevalvetimed V8 yields 333bhp47bhp more than the outgoing modeland 332lbs ft or torque at 3700rpm, which is sufficient to thrust the manual 545i to 60mph in 5.8sec and on to a governed 155mph.
Equally heart warming is the fuel consumption, which on one 320mile motorway run exceeded 28mpg. And this was in the sixspeed automatic version. Admittedly there were no fullthrottle moments, but it demonstrates whats possible if you can resist.
Such efficiency is not just down to the engine and transmission, but to the Fives relatively light weight. Its styling has proved so distracting that the efforts of BMW engineering department, which has managed to build a car that actually weighs less than its predecessora real rarity these dayshave gone ignored. Building the nose structure from aluminium is one reason, and most of the running gear from the same material another, but much of the reduction stems from obsessive cheeseparing.
Still, theres scope for undermining these efforts with a lingering trip through the options list. The test car came with Active Steering, Dynamic Drive antiroll control, Comfort seats, a phone kit and more, all of which add mildly to the fives heft. And, as weve found with past Fives, several of these dont help its case. Ours came with runflat tyres, too, which spoil the lowspeed ride and roar more on harsh surfaces.
Active Steering is a curious thing. Ive sampled it several times now, and notice it less on each occasionwhich is a compliment. But on a sinuous road tackled at varying speeds, the combination of this and Dynamic Drive make it marginally harder to commit the car completely in a bend, even if theres absolutely nothing wrong with its grip and agility. The subtle inconsistency of the steering and the nearabsence of rollalways a good measure of recklessnessmake it harder to know how close you are getting to the edge.
Of course, cars like this are more about committed cruising than quicksilver cornering, and in this department the 545i is a stellar performerprovided it doesnt come with the £575 Comfort front seats.Ah, those exquisite leather seats. They allow you to pin your torso in place with the motorised side bolsters, and you can adjust the upper backrest to cup your shoulders. But after two hours, I just wanted to get out. It could just be me, but Id recommend testing these chairs before buying.
So, as weve now said several times, the best Five is one ordered mostly optionfree. And unless autobahns are your regular habitat, the best Five has fewer cylinders and is diesel powered. Its not that there is anything wrong with the 4.4litre V8far from itbut you simply dont need it.

Written by stavrovoleg

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