Having undergone a major renovation in 2004, the BMW 5 Series motors into 2005 unchanged.

The 5 is available as the 530i, with a 3.0-litre inline six-cylinder, or as the 545i, with a 4.4-litre V8. Both come standard with a six-speed manual that can be optioned up to a six-speed automatic with Steptronic manual mode, or a six-speed sequential manual gearbox (SMG). The automatic is $1,400 and the SMG is $1,700 on the 530i; both transmissions are no-charge options on the 545i.

The 530i includes 17-inch star-spoke wheels, front and rear ventilated disc brakes, automatic Xenon headlights, adaptive brake lights, fog lights, heated mirrors, heated windshield washer jets, self-charging keyless remote, chrome grille with black bars, three-spoke multifunction heated steering wheel, automatic dual-zone climate control, cruise control, ten-way power adjustable heated seats with driver memory, power sunroof, power tilt and telescopic wheel, leather upholstery, Bluetooth telephone preparation, BMW Assist with emergency button, and CD/MP3 player with ten speakers including two subwoofers.

The 545i adds adaptive headlights with high-pressure washers, chrome-plated grille bars, auto-dimming exterior and interior mirrors, and integrated universal garage door opener.

The 5 Series remains a fine choice in the BMW line-up, with more interior room than the 3 Series and with a price tag that doesn’t hover around the six-digit mark as the 6 Series does. A suspension and steering system made almost entirely of aluminum lightens the 5 Series without sacrificing any steering feel or crispness; the available Active Steering, which increases or decreases steering rotation depending on speed, makes the 5 even nimbler at low-speed manoeuvres and responsive at higher speeds. Yes, it still has iDrive, but it’s been simplified somewhat, and although the cynic finds it difficult to believe, there are people out there that actually like the system. But then, the cynic likes the styling, and there are many people who think designer Chris Bangle should hang for it.

As for rivals, the Acura RL falls between the two models in power and in price; the 3.0-litre Jaguar S-Type offers a bit more horsepower for less money, and the Lexus GS300 and GS430 are cheaper than the comparable BMW models.

The 5 Series is built in Germany.

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