Over 4 years now, and I still love to get in this car. It's my second 540ia, the last being a 1995 540ia also. We live on the west coast, travel the mountain highways across the rockies, so that we get to use the V8 on the winding twisting passes.
In summary, the car is understated, fits nicely in both the country and the city, whereas I think the Mercedes 'E-quivalent' is overstated and somewhat pretentious for what it does for similar money ...
Handling, Performance and balance, Integration of controls, great specific fuel consumption for the high available horsepower. The stability control works great on ice and snow.