Sprint Review: BMW 540i  

A new German sports sedan, lots of information in short paragraphs.

What you need to know: The BMW 5-Series is a mid-size luxury sedan which was recently updated to give its arch rivals and fellow Germans, the A6 and E-Class, something to think about. The latest safety and luxury tech is on board while power comes from four or six cylinder turbo-diesels and turbo-petrols.

Some more facts: We tested the range-topping 540i M Sport and noted a few facts. Firstly, it’ll only be top dog until the new M5 comes along but BMW ZA won’t give us one to test anyway. They never do. Secondly, the M pack is optional but much like Audi’s S-Line or Merc’s AMG trim, it’s almost impossible to find a car without the fake go-faster bits.

What we liked: D’you know what? Even though this car was shod with 20 inch rims and 35 profile tyres, it had thee most sublime ride. Left in its “Comfort” drive mode, our grey 540i press car would serenely glide through town, majestically float over speed humps and waft along the highway like a Mercedes E-Class used to.

Used to. I’m almost convinced that BMW and Merc engineers met late at night to swap plans. Where previous Five Series were exciting, I found this one slightly mundane but comfy while the latest E-Class has gone all dynamic and firm. This 540i also had brutal brakes – 100km/h to standstill took just 33.65 meters!

What we didn’t: Besides its drab character, there’s the eye-watering price of over a million bucks. I think it’s a good-looking car but lament the loss of the 5-Series’ individual design; it now looks like every other Bee-Emm sedan. The auto steering and remote parking features are questionable gimmicks and freaked my wife out.

Why you should buy one: An amazing combination of luxury, speed, gadgets, comfort and safety. We measured 0-100 in 5.38 seconds with Launch Control; but only once because the system malfunctioned thereafter and returned a few mid sixes. Thank Heavens there’s a two-year unlimited mileage warranty.


Engine:                   3L in-line six-cylinder turbo-petrol

Drive Train:           8-speed Automatic, rear-wheel-drive

Max. Power:           250kW

Max. Torque:         450Nm

Avg cons.:               11 L/100km (claimed 7.2)

0-100km/h:           5.38 seconds (claimed 5.1, full spec below)

Top Speed:             250km/h (claimed)

List Price:               N$ 1,055,000 (model dependent)


0-10km/h: 0,56 seconds
0-20km/h: 1,05 seconds
0-30km/h: 1,50 seconds
0-40km/h: 1,91 seconds
0-50km/h: 2,38 seconds
0-60km/h: 2,86 seconds
0-70km/h: 3,36 seconds
0-80km/h: 3,97 seconds
0-90km/h: 4,65 seconds
0-100km/h: 5,38 seconds
0-110km/h: 6,16 seconds
0-120km/h: 7,02 seconds
0-130km/h: 7,97 seconds
0-140km/h: 9,06 seconds
0-150km/h: 10,31 seconds
0-160km/h: 11,63 seconds

0-100m: 6,06 seconds @ 108,71km/h
0-200m: 8,95 seconds @ 139,02km/h
0-300m: 11,37 seconds @ 158,10km/h
0-400m: 13,54 seconds @ 173,06km/h

100-0km/h: 2,39 seconds @ 33,65 meters (once-off)


0-10mph: 0,86 seconds
0-20mph: 1,59 seconds
0-30mph: 2,29 seconds
0-40mph: 3,04 seconds
0-50mph: 4,00 seconds
0-60mph: 5,10 seconds
0-70mph: 6,38 seconds
0-80mph: 7,86 seconds
0-90mph: 9,65 seconds
0-100mph: 11,75 seconds

1/4 mile: 13,58 seconds @ 107,73 mph

Maximum acceleration G-force: 0,73G

Altitude: 60m

All data captured by Racelogic® Performance Box

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