A BMW 5 Series has always been the driver's choice in the Executive sector. But today, more than ever, it must attach even greater priority to issues of efficiency, refinement and space.
With this in mind, recent revisions to the current F10 generation range aim to keep drivers and the environment happy.
Power for most customers will come from a diesel engine: possibly the 184bhp four cylinder unit in the 520d, which is at its most frugal in EfficientDynamics form. Then there's the same engine offered with 218bhp in the 525d before you get to the six cylinder 24v diesel variant that most customers choose, the 258bhp 530d. This sits just below the top 313bhp 535d version.
An interesting alternative to diesel is provided by the petrol/electric ActiveHybrid5 model, costing a little more than the top diesel and putting out 306bhp from a 24v six cylinder 3.0-litre petrol powerplant. More conventional petrol Fives start with the 184bhp 520i. Using the same 2.0-litre four cylinder engine is the 245bhp 528i, arguably a better choice than the 272bhp six cylinder 530i.
What Munich has done though is to continually improve it, with a range of more efficient and cleverer engines that still set the standard in the full-sized executive sector.
As a result, this car remains impossible to ignore if you're considering something like a Mercedes E-Class, an Audi A6 or a Jaguar XF. Whether a Five is the 'Ultimate Driving Machine' might be a matter of debate these days.
But in many ways, this car is now so good that you could argue it doesn't matter.