More variants join the lineup. One with diesel power, a plug-in hybrid and a couple of speedier models, the M550i xDrive and the M5 (this latter car is reviewed separately). There's also been some reshuffling of option packages.
Which 540d xDrive is the Best?
BMW's decision not to charge a premium for the plug-in hybrid version is commendable. To have the extra torque and save fuel seems incredibly tempting. A BMW with an inline-6 engine, though -- like the 540i -- has the widest appeal. As always, driver assistance features are a great idea and, if the budget is there, that amazing Bowers & Wilkins audio system.
The 2018 BMW 5 Series comes in 530i, 530e iPerformance, 540i, 540d xDrive and M550i xDrive forms. Where it's optional, all-wheel drive is an extra $2,300.
The 530i ($53,645) has 18-inch alloy wheels, a sunroof, all-LED exterior lighting with adaptive headlights, rain-sensing wipers, heated/self-dimming/power-folding side mirrors, dual-zone automatic climate control, 16-way power-adjustable front seats with driver's-side memory settings, a power-adjustable tilt-telescopic steering column, a rearview camera, parking sensors front and rear, simulated leather upholstery, LED ambient cabin lighting, selectable driving modes, driver fatigue and focus alert, iDrive infotainment interface with a 10.3-in screen, Bluetooth, navigation, a 12-speaker/205-watt audio system, HD radio, two USB ports, 20 GB of music storage and an auxiliary audio input.
The 530e iPerformance ($53,645) has the plug-in hybrid powertrain and a few dedicated gauges, but is otherwise equipped in a similar fashion to the 530i.
The 540i ($59,195) and 540d xDrive ($62,995) have their own engines and leather upholstery, but follow that same formula for the most part.
The M550i xDrive ($74,895) comes with 19-in alloy wheels, a more powerful engine and has its own chassis modifications for a sportier driving experience, plus several features that are optional in the lower models, like the powered trunk lid.
A Premium package brings keyless entry/ignition, satellite radio, a powered trunk lid and gesture control. The Executive package includes the Premium bundle, then adds automatic high beams, parking assistant plus, soft-close doors, a 360-degree camera system and an 8.8-in configurable driver information display.
An optional M Sport package comes with 19-in wheels and a lowered, sportier suspension. Add this to the 540i and 20-in wheels become available. A Dynamic Handling package includes an adaptive suspension, stronger brakes and rear-wheel steering.
Advanced safety features come in the Driving Assistance and Driving Assistance Plus packages (see the Safety section below).
There's a choice of audio system upgrades: a 16-speaker/600-watt Harman Kardon surround-sound setup or a 16-speaker/1,400-watt system from Bowers & Wilkins.
Other options include Wi-Fi, wireless smartphone charging, a heated steering wheel, a dual-screen rear seat entertainment system, Apple CarPlay smartphone integration, night vision with pedestrian detection and 20-way adjustable multi-contour front seats with massaging and ventilation functions.
Trunk space is 18.7 cu ft. Assuming one set of golf clubs is around four cu ft., then there's room for four sets. Except in the 530e, whose battery pack reduces cargo area to 15 cu ft.
City MPG / Hwy MPG
5 Series 540d xDrive Sedan
$62000 / $58160
26 / 36
8-Speed Shiftable Automatic
Is the 2021 BMW 540d xDrive a Safe Car?
Standard safety equipment includes a full complement of airbags, plus anti-lock disc brakes and traction/stability control. Optional driver aids include a head-up display, adaptive cruise control with autonomous emergency braking, active lane-keeping assistance, blind spot monitoring, Traffic Jam Assist and evasive steering assistance.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has given the 5 Series the top score of five stars overall, with four stars for front impact protection and five stars for side impacts. The car also aced the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) crash test program, emerging as a Top Safety Pick Plus.
Used Porsche Panamera -- Even greater prestige and driving abilities than a 5 Series. A certified pre-owned (CPO) example of a first-generation model (a new generation debuted for 2017) could be about the same as a well-stocked 5 Series.
Autotrader has 10 Used BMW 540d xDrive cars for sale, including a 2018 BMW 540d xDrive and a Certified 2018 BMW 540d xDrive.