Browse over 9,000 car reviews

Extremer Beemer

A powerhouse V8 to complement the two straight sixes has been added to the BMW 5-Series range.

It has big shoes to fill in the form of the previous 540i that was widely acclaimed as one of the best sports sedans in the world.

Typically, BMW has pulled out all the stops to deliver a vehicle that outstrips its predecessor on almost every score.

It has more luxury, more safety, better handling and more performance than the 540i but weighs less. It costs a bit more but the additional features outweigh the extra ask.

At $157,000, the 545i is going to sell to a small but discerning market and these fortunate folk will be able to experience automotive travel at the highest level.

The engine has been uprated to deliver a maximum 245kW of power with 450Nm of torque fed to the rear wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission. The engine has variable valve timing on the inlet and exhaust sides and a variable inlet manifold to optimise output.

Standard equipment is extensive and there is a swag of electronic modulations to keep the big sedan on the straight and narrow regardless of the conditions or how it's driven.

A particularly pleasing feature is the active steering that changes the mechanism's gearing to offer fast, light response at slow speeds through to slower response with more feel at high speed. It is not merely a variable power assistance system.

On a brief introduction to the 545i last week I can report that it feels like the big luxury sedan it is. Performance is strong and the ride is smooth and quiet. You get the feeling that everything is taken care of and that pretty well sums up the driving experience. The active steering is excellent and overshadowed a BMW M3 sports coupe that was used for comparison purposes.

Acceleration times are impressive at 5.9 seconds and response across the entire rev range is strong, aided by the superb auto.

Styled with the new BMW DNA, the 545 looks handsome and imposing on the road and is arguably the best looking in the new range. Other models in the new 5-Series line-up include the 525i and 530i.