Best car I have ever driven. Also own a CL500 and I prefer the 540 over the Merz. Great car and the only reason I would replace is if I get a 545i. Performance cannot be beat, great ergonomics. BMW really builds a car around driving. Don't get this car if you like eating or drinking in the car, that's what American cars are for.
Shorter gears should be default, although this can be overcome by shifting into Sport mode.