(2004 model shown)
Completely recast for 2004 with distinctive - and controversial - styling and bodywork crafted from both aluminum and steel, the 525i and 530i sedans continue with only minor alterations for 2005. The 525i comes powered by a 184-horsepower, 2.5-liter in-line six-cylinder with variable valve timing, while the 530i gets a lustier 225-horsepower, 3.0-liter in-line six, and the top 545i blasts off with a 325-horsepower, 4.4-liter V-8. Available transmissions include a standard six-speed-manual transmission, and an available six-speed Steptronic automatic or six-speed sequential-shift manual. All versions ride on an all-aluminum suspension that affords crisp cornering abilities with a relatively pliant ride. An optional Sport Package includes BMW's Active Steering system, which provides additional steering boost during extreme handling maneuvers, though it makes the car's handling seem a bit artificial at times. Like the larger 7-Series, the 5-Series comes with BMW's notorious iDrive control system, which combines various systems like the climate control, navigation, and audio functions and operates them via a center-console knob. Be aware that the learning curve to optimally operate this array can be daunting. Adaptive brake lights come standard, with adaptive headlights that can illuminate the road around the curves among the car's many advanced available features.
2004 BMW 530i by Bengt Halvorson
Fashionably controversial, technically amazing.