You might be forgiven for thinking that we’ve been sending out mixed messages about the new 5-series. Truth is, we have. And not because we don’t know what to think, either. The core car is an excellent tool and, with more on the roads, we’re even starting to like its looks.
But the quality of the experience rests solely on what options BMW HQ has decided to install on its test cars, because the fact is, there’s no new car more spec-sensitive than the Five.
The latest Five to pitch up at the office, the new 525i, was in our least favourite spec: Active Steering, Dynamic Drive and ride-crippling 18in alloys. It didn’t offer the cosseting refinement or feel anywhere near as agile as we know the 5-series is capable of.
So is the new engine any good? Essentially, it’s the same 2.5-litre straight six fitted to the last car, so it’s still good for 192bhp and 181lb ft of torque. It still feels the business, too. A little lazy low down, maybe, and sixth gear on our manual test car was too tall for real urgency at motorway speeds, but piling on a few revs rewards you with a deliciously linear response and one of the finest six-cylinder soundtracks around.