It has get-up-and-go and is possessed of immense agility, observes Pavan Lall.
Some time during college, when I was in the midst of a round of racquetball with a retired policeman, we started talking about the best premium cars.
He drove a Lexus at the time and I asked what he thought of the new BMW 3 Series and why he never got one of those instead.
His answer was that unless one got into their larger sedans that included the 5 Series or 7 Series, one wasn't truly getting the best that Bimmer had to offer. He claimed it was the same story for most luxury cars.
Two decades later, and having driven scores of entry-level BMW, I'm not sure I would entirely agree.
But the latest 5 Series that it just launched fits into the definition of the very best that BMW has to offer.
The version that I drove was the M package variant, which, like the other variants, features a new front-end design, lean muscular surfaces and redesigned headlights with L-shaped features that give the sedan a new face.
Inside the car, the roots of which go back to 1972 and which is now in its seventh-generation model, the difference becomes starker for those who have been watching it evolve over the years.
It's gone from a boxy, muscular car to a sleek and streamlined sports sedan.
It's interesting to note that the new seventh-generation car was preceded by the sixth-generation model in 2010 that has been one of the more successful luxury sedans in its peer group across the world.
BMW has sold over 2.2 million units or 200,000 5 Series every year since launch.
While sportier is the very first word that comes to mind when driving the new 5 Series, it is in fact also bigger than the older version.
While height, width and wheelbase remain unchanged, the new 5 Series is 27 mm longer and has a new rear end that enhances the car's width without upsetting its design aesthetics.
So, who is the competition? From the Mercedes-Benz stable, it's the E Class; from Audi it's the A 6; and from the house of Jaguar Land Rover, one could flag its XF as a rival.
But the truth is none of these premium rides has what the 5 Series does -- a pedigree of sport that's most naturally derived from its younger sibling, the 3 Series.
Positioned on its 18-inch wheels, the 5 Series is a superb ride and swallows bumps and bad roads effortlessly in its stride.
Its silky smooth motor is punchy and potent when revved hard or during slower drives.
While the bits that have had a facelift have certainly changed and the backseat is improved and comfier than before, what remains the same is the feel inside the cabin and the ride quality.
The tan leather interiors and the control panels evoke classic BMW deja vu. And the iDrive wheel stays in addition to other voice-command activated controls, which is a good thing because much too often gadgets and car-makers alike change stuff that really doesn't need any fixing.
As an analogy, think of the 5 Series like Jackie Chan. It has get-up-and-go and is possessed of immense agility.
The A6, on the other hand, may be likened to Roger Moore -- smooth, sophisticated and full of tricks up its sleeve, but not one you'd expect to do a somersault.
The 5 Series, then, sticks to its core of being a sporty and top performing sedan with little in the way of competitive threat.
The latest version will be up there as an executive sedan with a sporty element.
Feature Presentation: Rajesh Alva/Rediff.com