BMW 540i Car Review – MotorPoint
Good points: Performance headlights seats.
Needs improvement: Interior storage space base stereo complicated GPS
Anyway you cut it the 540i is a great car if you love to drive and some people may prefer the look of this old model over the sleeker appearance displayed on the new 7-Series.
However be warned that BMW is currently in the midst of a supplier strike and so some models may be in short supply.
To be honest you need to question whether or not you need the 290 horsepower V8 engine. The reason isnt just the added cost for fuel and insurance but whether the 65 additional horsepower over BMWs six cylinder 530i is worth the extra money. The lighter 530i handles quite well and delivers nearly 30 mpg on the road with satisfactory acceleration. The V8 is hard pressed to provide you with 24 mpg on premium but does offer significantly better handling and chassis dynamics. The depreciation for the V8 is also a little more. The good news is that BMW has free maintenance for the first three years of ownership on both models so maintenance is the same during that time period. But if you can afford it get the V8. It is much better performing and caterers well to your affective domain.
Moms view: This is a real jewel and I feel good driving it. The acceleration is immediate and continues brisk until you reach the speed limit whatever that might be. The handling is tidy and the interior business-like.
Of course the cupholders are awful and there is clearly a need for more interior storage. The rear seat was okay but a little too firm for long trips and the sun visors were not fitting with a car this expensive. The GPS was difficult for me to understand. It had too many buttons too many options and too many features. With time I believe operating the system would become second nature but in the week we tested this black beauty I just wanted to drive it. You best be careful to watch that speedometer because the 540i is a solid car that can easily go well over the limit the usual noise or sensation of speed.
My favourite part on any BMW product are the brakes. They work right now with excellent pedal feel and you quickly build tremendous confidence. Other safety features are antilock brakes a stability control system dynamic brake control front and side-impact airbags head protection airbags for both the front and rear occupants seatbelt automatic tensioners and force limiters that can automatically adjust the upper anchor point as the seat is adjusted. Overall the safety ratings for this model were good.
It rained nearly every day we had the 540i so I didnt get to use the standard sunroof. I did find the power seat and tilt/telescope steering wheel easy to manage but the rim of the wheel hid the most important part of the speedometer when I found my most comfortable settings.
The trunk was quite usable except for the way it opened. I only hope manufacturers talk to woman the next time they design a remote trunk opener.
When we hit the button to open the trunk we dont want it to go click and move up a half-inch so we have to get our hands dirty opening it or worse lose a fingernail.
We want the trunk lid to goes up about six to eight inches so we can easily get our hand under it or nudge it open with the shopping bags we are usually carrying.
The trunk should never open all the way up because it could clip our heads or when the weather is inclement get the trunk wet and the bargains therein.
I loved the heated seats with the three levels of warmth clearly indicated. This option comes with the cold weather package. I also found the drivers computer easy to master but every time you turned off the ignition it reset itself which was disconcerting. The interiors look was business like with nothing puffy except for a little space hidden under a roll-up lid that was essentially useless. The dual-zone automatic climate control heated power mirrors and automatic day/night rear-view mirror were appropriate for this price range. The xenon headlights were terrific.
By now you could probably figure out that I pretty much love this car and wouldnt mind owning it. On the other hand the six-cylinder 530i model would be more practical even though it does not handle as crisply or respond to my acceleration needs as well. Nope give me the V8 but to be practical Ill take the automatic transmission. Did you read that Dad?
Dads view: Yep but until the college going male gets through university you are limited to having your dream car one week a year.
As for the 540i the 4.4-liter twin-cam four-valve per cylinder V8 engine has a variable valve timing and produces 290 horsepower and 324 pounds-feet of torque in a smooth potent delivery that can quickly become addicting. The five-speed Steptronic transmission is exceptional and certainly one reason that Jaguar buys it for their powerful supercharged Jaguar Type S R model.
BMWs traction control is noteworthy in that it is not intrusive like that found in the AMG Mercedes models. It lets you have some fun without shutting down the engine and leaving you frustrated. In fact the only reason we feel that BMW is more worthy as a driving car than the AMG Mercedes is the traction control settings. More than once while driving a supercharged Mercedes we found ourselves in the middle of the curve when the computer suddenly reduced the engine power so that the rear wheels wouldnt spin. The MB sales representative told us that it was because some people who bought these high performance cars dont know how to drive them correctly. Fortunately BMW has more faith in its owners abilities although the Mercedes C 32 AMG and E55 are still among our favourite cars.
There are options you can order with the 540i such as a 6-speed manual gearbox a sports suspension with firmer springs and shocks more aggressive anti-roll bars larger tires and a lower ride height.
The 6-speed version also has a few interior trim pieces but this option is really about performance.
This optional Sport Package is worth considering.
Young working womans view: Driving the BMW reveals very little interior noise. Of course it is not like a Lexus but with a car of this nature that is a good sign. The low set fog lights and spoiler make inclines and driveways a challenge at times. The wipers were supposed to be rain sensing but I couldnt stand it and controlled them myself. They did a great job but I didnt get a chance to use the optional liquid high-pressure headlight cleaning system.
Our test car came with an M steering wheel and it felt great. You could easily reach all the controls without having to take your hands off the wheel that is an unusually good trait especially for those of us who have small hands. The interior lighting was good not great and the seats were easy to adjust.
You can get the 540i with a stick shift and it is much faster car with that six-speed transmission. Interestingly the gas mileage for the manual is considerable less than with the automatic at 15/23 versus 18/24.
We doubt anyone who is going to buy the stick shift model is going to care much about gas mileage anyway because that model is born to run.
Next year there is even some indication that the hot rod M version of the 5-Series may approach 500 horsepower.
For a car that weighs 3720 that would be indicate that the new model may be the fastest sedan in the world.
College going males view: The stereo and radio reception were not up to par for such an expensive car. I would spend a lot of time sitting in various BMWs listening to what the optional equipment sounds like before I signed any papers because the tunes didnt carry any weight in our car.
As for image this black BMW looked nasty but a tad old for me. I believe that 3 Series is much more to more liking. The backseat wasnt bad at all and the trunk had plenty of room for my recording equipment. I have decided to try being a rap artist. I call myself Thoughtsarizen. You can check out my tunes at www.sounddaddyrecords.com.
Family conference: We always enjoy BMW products and that brand is growing in popularity. However there is plenty of competition. For about the same price as the BMW 540i you can own a Lexus LS 430 the Jaguar S and XJ and the Mercedes Benz S. For less you can get the powerful M45. However none of those offer the ride and handling of the BMW.
Written by the Car Family
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