The boardroom favourite, the BMW 5 Series, has been brought up-to-date with a facelift and a bit of mechanical magic beneath the bonnet. The result reaffirms the car’s position at the top of the mid-level exec sedan range, where it has comfortably resided for over 40 years. In fact, the 2011 model of the BMW 550i has taken the automotive industry by storm, having won over 70 international awards including the highly coveted Red Dot Design award for its sporty and elegant styling, and the Best Executive Car award by several global magazines. As the sixth generation of BMW’s executive saloon, the 5 Series remains elegant yet sporty, with driving dynamics typical of the brand, outstanding efficiency as well as innovative comfort and safety features. The new model features chiselled new looks and a new heart, in the form of a formidable 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged, direct-fuel injected 407bhp V8 engine that, in higher states of tune, also powers the M Sport SUVs. It also comes with intelligent four-wheel drive technology and, for the first time, the new 5 Series comes with a Parking Assistant, an optional feature which measures the size of the parking spot and automatically steers the car into it. Automation is the name of the game, with the addition of the Active Cruise Control system, which improves vehicle control through active intervention of the brake system. The technology senses when the car is travelling on a downhill gradient or if it is not keeping a safe distance from the car in front of it. With the longest wheelbase in the segment, a long and sleek engine compartment lid, short overhangs front and rear and a coupé-like roofline, the new BMW 5 Series Saloon stands out clearly from the competition. Inside the attention to detail continues with the Driving Dynamic system, which allows the driver to vary the set up of the car by selecting one of five settings — comfort, normal, sport, sport+ and traction — changing the suspension set-up from a comfort orientated feel to a more sporty and dynamic drive experience. Further technological innovation can be found in the iDrive Control System, which enables the driver to activate and control all entertainment, information, navigation and telecommunication functions at the touch of a button. The BMW 5 Series offers tremendous power, precision and control as well as exceptional safety features and the height of comfort. It is a favourite of the boardroom because it’s an extension of boardroom. You have the reclining chairs, the opulent soft leather, the latest entertainment and communication technology, oodles of space and an overriding feeling of power and control.