2000 540 New Car Test Drive
The BMW 5 Series remains the benchmark for midsize luxury sports sedans. Each of the 5 Series models presents a distinct personality. All are wonderful cars whether it's a night out on the town, a cross-country trip, an agonizing commute or a twisting back road. The wagons offer much better performance than any sport-utility vehicle and better performance than most sedans. All 5 Series models are available with optional high-performance suspensions and other sports equipment.
BMW 5 Series includes three sedan models and two sport wagons. Sedans: 528i ($38,900); 540iA ($51,100); 540i ($53,900). Wagons: 528iT ($40,700); 540iT ($53,480).
The 528i sedan and 528iT sport wagon are powered by a 2.8-liter inline 6-cylinder engine. With double overhead cams, four valves per cylinder and BMW's double VANOS variable valve timing, the 2.8-liter engine produces a healthy 193 horsepower and 206 foot-pounds of torque. The availability of manual transmissions sets the BMW 5 Series apart. The 528i comes standard with a precise 5-speed manual. Most people opt for the new 5-speed Steptronic automatic transmission. The 528i comes standard with 15-inch wheels.
BMW 540i models are powered by a 4.4-liter V8. This twin-cam four-valve design with the variable valve setup generates 282 horsepower and 324 foot-pounds of torque.
The 540i that comes with the 6-speed manual gearbox is a sports model: It comes ganged up with a sports suspension with firmer springs and shock absorbers, specially tuned anti-roll bars, a lower ride height, and 17-inch wheels with larger rear tires. The 6-speed is distinguished with blackout exterior trim, 12-way power sport seats and a three-spoke sport steering wheel. This equipment is available for the other models by ordering an optional Sport Package that ranges from about $2,000 to $2,800.
The 540iA comes standard with a five-speed automatic transmission, the normal suspension with self-leveling rear suspension, 16-inch wheels and 10-way power seats. The optional Sport Package ($2,800) adds the 5-speed Steptronic and other sports equipment.