THE RIDE: Four-door, five-passenger 2008 BMW 528i midsize sedan.
DOWN THE ROAD: Freshened for 2008, the 528i gets more horsepower (15 hp) and more torque (15 hp). Available in as many as six trims, the sedan sits on a unitized frame construction with an aluminum front end. However, the rear-wheel-drive car maintains its nimbleness and decent acceleration as you maneuver in rush hour traffic. Need proof? How about 0-60 mph in just 6.5 seconds for the manual and 7.1 seconds for the automatic transmission.
TECH & PERFORMANCE: The 528i is equipped with a 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine, which produces 230 horsepower at 6500 rpm and 200 pounds-feet of torque at 2750 rpm. It is mated to a 6-speed manual or a 6-speed Steptronic automatic transmission, both of which are standard. Suspension is handled by a double-pivot, strut-type aluminum intensive front and an aluminum four-link integral rear. Stabilizer bars also are equipped in front and rear. Guiding the car toward its destination, whether it's in a tight parking spot or on the highway, is variable-assist rack-and-pinion power steering. Helping put the stops on the 528i are 12.8-inch front and 12.6-inch rear ventilated rear disc brakes.
LOOK & FEEL: The twin-kidney grille with a centered BMW insignia atop graces the front fascia of the 528i. The curvy-shaped halogen headlights and tail lamps will draw your attention. The cabin is adorned in luxury with dark poplar wood trim on the instrument and door panels. Lending further elegance are well-bolstered leather seats and leather trim on the door, and front and rear center consoles. The newly shaped electronic shifter knob is slick. The iDrive Controller for audio, car data and climate controls has been simplified for easy operation. Some of the standard interior amenities are 10-way power front seats, two-way power moonroof, split folding rear seats, three-spoke leather-wrapped steering wheel and a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel.
SAFETY FIRST: Dual front and side airbags, side curtain for both rows, traction control, stability control, four-wheel antilock brakes, daytime running lights, tire pressure monitoring system, front seatbelts with automatic pretensioners, brake assist - all are standard.
OUT THE DOOR: $44,300, plus tax, tag, delivery and destination charges. The $2,800 sport package gets you 18-inch alloy wheels and run-flat performance tires, sport suspension and sport steering wheel, active roll stabilization, multi-contoured front seats, space-saver spare tire and shadowline trim.
BY THE NUMBERS: Tires, 225/50VR17; wheelbase, 113.7 inches; length, 191.1 inches; weight, 3,571 pounds; fuel capacity, 18.5 gallons; highway, 27 mpg; city, 18 mpg.
WHY DIG IT: With a refreshing of the 5 Series, BMW has upped the ante on its midsize sedans. It's not just the boost in horsepower and torque that will make the difference. The 528i has more high-tech goodies, a top-notch interior and safety features that will be hard to match, let alone beat.