- Comfortable interior
- Modern design
- Low noise levels
In mind-range M Sport trim too, there were plenty of features to enjoy whilst driving, particularly the M specific styling details and performance figures to match.
Engines and Performance
The 545e xDrive blends surprising frugality with serious neck-jerking acceleration and the sort of cornering that you would hope for in a mid-engined sports car.
Some stats to engage with – under the bonnet there is a 3.0-litre, 6-cylinder engine coupled to a 107bhp electric motor knocking out, together, 389bhp. This, together with 443lb ft of torque, means that you have enough power to blow away all but a supercar, should you wish.
Floor the accelerator, and you will eclipse 62mph in a mere 4.6 seconds. Top speed is electronically limited to 155mph, some 20mph below its natural maximum.
The 545e pulls away from rest in electric mode and is capable of around 26 miles on pure electric power alone.
Despite the endless supply of urge, most drivers will easily squeeze 38 to 40mpg. Our best result on a gentle rural run was 46mpg – almost incredible from a swift, luxury 5-seater.
Particularly impressive is the fashion in which the miles are covered. Noise levels – both mechanical and wind intrusion – are barely audible. Only a degree of tyre noise over certain surfaces occasionally intrudes into the cabin.
The 6-cylinder engine itself is a delight and emits a subdued growl – far from unpleasant – under hard acceleration. Throttle response is instant, made still quicker through the assistance of electric power.
Cornering is near neutral with good steering feedback and very little body roll. Four-wheel drive ensures all the power is fed down through the tyres without risk of scrabble.
Interior and Practicality
The interior itself is, unsurprisingly, well finished and solid, if not terribly exciting, following the usual BMW template. A huge oblong touchscreen is set centre stage and the switchgear is a happy balance between new tech and easy-to-use touch-friendly knobs. It all works well and is pleasantly free from gimmicks.
Five can sit comfortably in the leather-seated cabin, but legroom in the rear falls short of several rivals and is tighter than in most medium-sized SUVs. At 410 litres, the boot is about one-third smaller than the non-hybrid version to make room for the electric components, and its considerably more compact than most SUVs.
Although there are ample storage bins and places to soak up the usual family clutter, pockets and cubbies are quite narrow compared with those generally found in crossovers.
With low CO2, it is a big attraction to company buyers keen on keeping benefit-in-tax down to a minimum.
The concept of a 4-door saloon may not be at the forefront of fashion these days, but few vehicles are as capable of fulfilling the luxury express role as well as the BMW 545e.
And, with the M Sport specification that we drove here, you get all the great M specific details and performance figures without spending the big bucks on the top-of-the-range specification for this model.