2018 BMW 540i xDrive: Monthly Update for February 2018
by Josh Sadlier, Senior Manager of Content Strategy
Where Did We Drive It?
Our long-term 2018 BMW 540i xDrive had a relatively light month in February. It rolled up about 850 new miles, most of which came courtesy of editor Cameron Rogers on his road trip to Cupertino in Northern California. The logbook continues to swell with praise for the 540i's refinement, swiftness and fuel economy. Yes, fuel economy — given that our Bimmer only needs about 4.5 seconds to reach 60 mph, its parsimony at the pump is downright amazing. More on that below.
What Kind of Fuel Economy Did It Get?
Although the 540i's average fuel economy dropped a smidge after our February efforts, the car's high efficiency on the highway continues to impress. Rogers notes that the EPA's highway estimate of 29 mpg was easily achieved on his trip despite a smattering of city driving, while our all-time record of 32.3 mpg represents an 11 percent improvement on that 29 mpg figure. This mirrors our experience with the similarly powered long-term BMW 340i xDrive, another highway overachiever. BMW seems to have cracked some kind of code since previous all-wheel-drive performance cars haven't exactly been known for their fuel economy.
Average lifetime mpg: 22.8
EPA mpg rating: 23 combined (20 city/29 highway)
Best fill mpg: 32.3
Best range: 480.5 miles
Current odometer: 7,987 miles
Maintenance and Upkeep
"I hadn't driven the 540i much since it arrived in our long-term fleet, so I was pleasantly surprised when it was available on the eve of my trip to Cupertino for a friend's wedding. I promptly signed up for it, confident that the midsize luxury sedan would make the journey through hundreds of miles of farmland bearable.
"No surprises, then, when the 5 Series did exactly that. The ride was serene, the seats highly adjustable and comfortable, and the trunk large enough to swallow two sizable suitcases. What I didn't expect was how fuel-efficient it was. Our 540i xDrive is rated at 29 mpg highway, and I nearly matched it on the trip north. It's worth noting that my 28.5 mpg included about 30 miles of driving in Cupertino traffic and at normal speeds on side streets. On the return trip, which included about 38 miles in traffic, the 540i averaged an even 29 mpg. Total trip fuel economy was 28.7 mpg." — Cameron Rogers, staff writer
"If you're researching the current 5 Series, you may have encountered some criticism of its driving dynamics in certain publications. Personally, I don't know what they're talking about. I love driving this car. The size feels just right; the engine is silky-smooth and remarkably potent; the transmission always seems to know what I want; and I even dig the outward visibility — a rare experience in cars these days. Also, can we talk about how quiet and well-damped this thing is? If there's a more refined entrant in this class, I've yet to drive it and honestly have a hard time imagining it. Sure, BMW steering used to be heavier and more precise. But I'm not really thinking about that when I'm driving our 540i; I'm mostly just shaking my head at how close this BMW comes to perfection." — Josh Sadlier, senior manager of content strategy
"That 'Dangerous Traffic Situation!' warning comes on every 7.5 seconds after you clear it. I know this because I was stuck in traffic (shock!) and was reminded to the point of insanity. The only way to disable the warning is to shut off all traffic information, which means you don't get to see basic traffic flow." — Kurt Niebuhr, photo editor
"Being able to touch the gauges on any car has always been my holy grail since they're always protected by a plastic barrier. Not so in the 540. The needles aren't real, so you get a touchable 3D instrument panel! I know, I'm weird." — Kurt Niebuhr