BMW continues to focus on luxury, refinement, fuel efficiency and high tech for most of its models somewhat to the detriment of handling agility. Case in point: the current 5 Series is the most luxurious version ever of BMW's midsized sedan. The new car is essentially the same size as the outgoing model, but marginally lighter and roomier. BMW's focus on reducing weight, adding technology, and minimizing cabin noise has resulted in a car that is remarkably satisfying but no longer among the sportiest choices. Instead, it's plush, quiet, finely crafted inside, frugal with fuel, and more user friendly than before. That makes it score among the top in its class in our road tests.
A sporty brand like BMW is not immune from the needs to improve fuel economy, whether it's because of government mandates or buyer desires. To achieve that, BMW uses a four-cylinder turbo engine in its mainstream 5 Series. Our tested 530i is propelled by a 2.0-liter, turbo four-cylinder engine, good for 248 horsepower. The 3.0-liter turbo six-cylinder in the 540i is punchier and pumps out 335 hp. Both engines are mated to a super slick eight-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is optional on almost all versions. There's also a 530e plug-in hybrid version for the same price.