Motortrend: Executive Privileges – Luxury Sport Sedan Comparison

5 Series | December 22nd, 2009 by 21
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The end of the year always brings out interesting reviews, comparisons or rankings. Automotive magazine, MotorTrend compiled a list of the most popular luxury sport sedans, in the $50,000 range.

As one would expect, the current generation E60 BMW 5 Series made the list along with some of its classic competitors: Audi A6, Cadillac CTS, Lexus GS, Mercedes-Benz E-Class or the Infiniti M35.

The BMW chosen was the 535i powered by the six-cylinder twin-turbo engine with 300 horsepower and 300 lb-ft of torque. Despite the upcoming bodystyle change, the E60 5 Series takes the crown this time as well, outclassing the Audi A6 3.0T Quattro and the Mercedes-Benz E350.

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Here is an excerpt from their review:

Scan the present offerings — Acura RL, Audi A6 3.0T, BMW 535i, Cadillac CTS 3.6 DI, Infiniti M35, Jaguar XF 4.2, Lexus GS 350, and Mercedes-Benz E350 — and the average base price comes out to nearly $49,000, with a high of $52,000 (XF) and a low of $44,650 (CTS). Through September 2009, sales of these nameplates were down 29 percent compared with 2008, but that still translates to nearly 110,000 Americans writing $50,000 checks during those nine months. Recession? That just means S-Class buyers and the like are stepping down to E-Class territory.

To determine which of these eight sport sedans best justifies its premium pricetag, we headed to the formidable and telling roads in Malibu, where our assembly of editors scrutinized, evaluated, and debated the merits (and demerits) of each.


The fifth-generation, Chris Bangle-designed “E60” 5 Series quickly knocked any notions of “past its prime” right out of our collective heads. “Yeah, I know it’s old, but I love, love, love this car,” writes Ed Loh. “So much fun to drive, even if I can’t give the car bonus points for allowing me to row the gears myself. Unlike many here, this one actually feels fast. Sonorous engine note, excellent driver controls (M Sport steering wheel and shifter), and near-telepathic steering.”

Our other editors’ notebook commentaries read much like Ed’s — and for good reason. The 535i’s twin-turbo inline-six romps with a neat 300 horses and 300 pound-feet; it’s seemingly always on the boil, ready with plentiful torque and go at almost any rpm — even with the optional six-speed auto (a six-speed manual is standard).

Indeed, the motor doesn’t really feel like a turbo — it suffers from zero lag, and any turbo whine is well-muted. All you notice is smooth power. Speed comes easily to the 535i: It delivered the quickest 0-to-60 time and tied the Lexus’ quarter-mile elapsed time. Yet the Bimmer also tied with the Lexus for best observed fuel efficiency (it and the GS 350 being the two lightest cars in the field).

To read the detailed comparison (well worth it in our opinion), head over to MotorTrend.

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