2011 550i is silky smooth, solid and very quick
Except for the controversial, eyelash-batting looks of the last-generation model, the 5-Series is a car that BMW seems to nail iteration after iteration.
This machine has long been held in high esteem by enthusiasts for its driving dynamics, looks and luxury, and it’s one of Germany’s staple automotive exports. Like it or not, the 5-Series is also a car that sets a standard by which numerous others are measured.
For 2011, the 5-Series has been re-styled, re-powered and re-equipped to further its ambitious goal of sport-sedan supremacy. With an ever-present eye for safety, efficiency and performance, the new 5 has now joined the brand’s sedan lineup as a more stylistically homogenous product that looks like a bigger 3-Series to some, and a smaller 7-Series to others.
A high-tech, highly-customizable package
The tested 550i came with Dynamic Handling, Technology and Executive packages. On board were an automatic trunk, four-zone climate control, rear sunshades, heated rear seats and plenty more. On the high-tech side, the tester also got a heads-up display, lane departure warning, blind-spot detection, and a surround-view parking system.
A Dynamic Drive controller lets drivers to toggle between Comfort, Normal, Sport and Sport Plus settings that alter suspension, steering, throttle and gearshift calibrations in real time. As such, the 550i can be fine-tuned to any particular mood. It’s almost like having 4 cars in one.
It’s all taken in from an interior with a delightful split personality. On one side, the 550i’s cabin is meticulously assembled, spacious, comfortable, unique and very upscale. On the other, it’s got enough buttons, switches and display screens to entertain even seasoned gadget aficionados.
Passengers express their excitement when boarding, most ask for a tour of the countless control interfaces, and none have to know you’re pretending to pilot the U.S.S. Enterprise while going about your daily commute.
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