been with us since 1996, the current-generation BMW 5-Series nonetheless looks
and feels fresh. Even after all that time, it still is the benchmark by which
all true sport sedans are measured; indeed, in strictly sport sedan terms (such
as handling, steering, braking and acceleration), few even come close. The 5 (and
all BMWs, for that matter) have a connection to the road that is at once indescribable
and addictive. If you haven't driven one before, do it. You'll like it.
terms of luxury, the 5 neither overwhelms nor disappoints. Its interior is somewhat
tighter than some of its competitors, and the optional navigation system is a
bit fussy, yet there is no particular area in which the 5 comes up short. The
intimacy of its cabin is intentional, fostering as it does the purposefulness
of its driving dynamics. Rear seat passengers, however, somewhat less engaged
in the task of piloting the vehicle, might complain of lack of knee room. But
they won't be complaining about the delicious leather seats, the lovely wood trim
(cool aluminum on some models), nor the quality of the plastics and fabrics that
play supporting roles.
comes via your choice of a 2.5-liter inline-6 (184 hp), a 3.0-liter inline-6 (225
hp), and a 4.4-liter V-8 (290 hp), all of which can be mated to either manual
or automatic transmissions. The autobahn-storming M5 has 4.9-liter V-8 (394 hp)
mated to a six-speed manual.
is that the 5 comes in both sedan and wagon bodystyles. Like the sedan, the wagon
doesn't boast a whole lotta room, even behind the rear seats, but for those who
like that added bit of irony of driving a wagon that can keep up with Porsches
and musclecars, there is some added appeal.