Over the past few years, we’ve complained plenty that today’s BMW four-doors shy away from the sports-sedan greatness of the previous-generation models. As the brand’s SUVs continue to ratchet up the sporting attitude, its sedans—particularly ones without an M in their alphanumeric names—are left to play a different role, catering to buyers who are specifically looking for a comfortable, long-distance cruiser.
While the 3-series still offers a decent level of driving satisfaction, the larger 5- and 7-series cars have evolved (or devolved, depending on your perspective) into ultimate comfort machines. Although that’s disappointing news for driving enthusiasts, we acknowledge that there’s room in this world for quietly competent, sedately mannered luxury sedans, and the 2021 5-series receives a number of enhancements to further that mission.
A larger front grille, more aggressively styled headlamps, and new wheel designs give the 2021 model a fresh, expensive-looking appearance. Inside, BMW added a larger 12.3-inch infotainment display with in-dash navigation, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay all offered at no extra charge. New perforated faux-leather upholstery with contrast stitching dresses up the modestly equipped models. Our test vehicle, a well-equipped all-wheel-drive 540i xDrive ringing in at $78,235, came with the optional Nappa leather—in a lovely mocha-brown hue—as well as the Luxury Seating package ($1000), which includes 20-way adjustable front seats with heat and ventilation. 2021 BMW 540i xDrive