BMW 540i: Sports saloon reinvented

first_imgAfter having driven the 530d for a day, I was quite surprised that BMW would be moving in a direction so completely different from what it professes to be its DNA. While the 530d was everything one can ask for in a car, loaded to its gills with technology and rearing to go, it was devoid of the hair raising sportiness one would expect from a Bimmer. Agreed the days of the skull-rattling stiffness of suspension and arm numbing weight of the steering were well and truly gone starting from the sixth generation cars itself, but one expected the top-of-the-line diesel-engined car to be a bit wilder, to have a bit more bite, a bit more directness, a bit more edge and a bit more of the BMW character.The 540i also comes with the same 3-litre 6 inline engine but with upgraded power and torque output. So when I got behind the wheel of the 540i, I did not once imagine what I was letting myself in for. I did notice the M-Sport badging on the front fender despite its tiny size. The black 19-in alloy wheels shod with 245/40 R19 Michelin Primacy 3 rubber were a little hard not to notice though as was the M-sport badging on the steering wheel. The interiors were much more sporty than the 530d but I am sure we can have the diesel engined car with M-sport frills and goodies as well.What I also noticed was that the same inline 6-cylinder direct injection engine with a twin scroll turbocharger, fully variable valve control and variable camshaft timing on both cams belted out 340bhp which came in at 5500rpm and stayed for a full thousand rpm till 6500rpm.advertisementSteering warmer sits above the M-Sport logo. The heavens had opened up in Lisbon much like they do during the monsoons in Mumbai and the  mountainous roads were devoid of traffic. The engine let out a loud growl before letting loose on the road to the western-most point in Europe, Cabo de Roca.Starting with throttle response which is immediate and wholesome, the steering which is direct and well weighted, feeling much more like the hydraulic assisted units of yore, and the car which felt light and agile like a sports car, the experience of driving the 7th generation 5-series was totally changed from the tech laden beast of the day before.The interiors are just the same and the new app-based layout on the infotainment system is clearly visible. The huge heads-up display that felt reassuring felt overt and obtrusive and I had to shut it down. I switched off all assists and all the new fangled technology was asked to go to sleep and here was pure motoring from the evening before when I had driven the first three generations of the 5-series. Only that this was much much faster, much more involved and surprisingly as comfortable as the old cars. Not that the roads in Portugal are as bad as those in India but they are not as smooth as the German autobahns either and despite the ultra low profile rubber the car seemed to be riding really well. The beauty of the 540i is that despite the extra power, the car is more efficient than ever before and all the presentations of about how the 100kg lighter 7th gen car was more agile than before suddenly seemed to come true for the new 5-series. For the enhusiast, this has to be the car to wait for. VERDICTFor those interested in the true sporty BMW with added luxury, the 540i fits the bill. The lighter car is more agile and steering is direct thereby making it a driver’s car. Again, it too comes loaded with all the additional assistance systems but it seems BMW has got everything right with the 540i, while moving in the direction of comfort and luxury but retaining the core of the BMW DNA.Also Read:2017 BMW 530d first drive reviewlast_img

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