Known for his adversity towards majority of BMW vehicles, Jeremy Clarkson has pleasantly surprised us this time. In his review for Times Online, Clarkson praises the new BMW 5 Series and clocks “THE CLARKSOMETER” at four star out of five.
Clarkson’s verdict: basically, it’s a very, very good Austin Seven.
Here is an excerpt from his review:
Let us take the BMW 535i as a classic example of the problem. The seats are pretty much perfect: they’re not too hard and not too soft and the side bolsters don’t dig into your kidneys but do provide just the right amount of support in the corners.
Then you have the engine. It may say 535 on the back but — probably because BMW’s marketing people wanted to experiment — it doesn’t actually have a 3.5-litre engine as you’d expect. It’s a turbocharged 3-litre six and it’s wonderful. Creamy smooth, powerful and as economical as can be: just what you’d expect, really, from a company that’s been doing the same thing over and over since Douglas Bader forced it to rethink its aircraft business.
Perhaps the most impressive part of this new car is the ride-and-handling compromise. It’s very difficult to make a big, heavy car such as this handle well and ride over bumps comfortably. In the same way as it’s very difficult to do a Fosbury flop. But if you practise enough …
And, boy, have those Bee Em boffins been practising. Frankly, it’s hard to see how on earth it could be better, short of replacing the wheels with a Maglev system. I don’t know what that is either. It just sounds good.
Styling? Well, recently, under the stewardship of a chap called Chris Bangle, BMW did try to be different and do something new. Nobody liked its effort all that much so the new car is far more conventional. That said, the view down the bonnet is delightful. Most bonnets rise in the middle to hint at great power beneath — for an example of this, see the E-type Jag or David Beckham in those underpants commercials.
This is the part where usually the slam fits in, but surprisingly, Clarkson faced the same issue we have had these past few days: difficult to find flaws in the new 5 Series.
And when it comes to finding fault? My God, you have to be picky. In the 5-series, I’m reduced to complaining that if I set the steering wheel where I like it, fully back and as high as possible, I can’t see the “range” read-out on the dash. Oh, and the electronic gearlever is a bit of a fiddle. Until you get used to it, which takes about three seconds.