There’s only one thing that can make a V8 luxury sedan better: a manual transmission. So you can imagine my excitement when I was handed the keys to a manual V8 BMW.
The 2001 BMW 540i has a 4.4L V8 and a 6 speed manual transmission. The 4.4L V8 is a very smooth V8 that really isn’t in your face like that of an American V8. It has subtle power, but it still has the power. Like I said it has a 6 speed manual transmission, which brings the driving experience right to the palm of your hand. In a sense, the manual transmission un-dos the subtly of the V8 by giving the driver a physical hand in the workings of the car. It’s like an expensive fondue restaurant where the food is amazing, but you have to do half the work.
The interior is plush for the early 2000’s. An adjustable leg rest is a huge perk for the driver. The seats also have two different memory settings, as well as adjustable heated options. You get a fair amount of other interior features like steering wheel controls, A reasonable radio for 2001, and very customizable climate control. The interior of the 540i is the perfect example of something being better than the sum of its parts. No particular feature really blew me away, but when it’s all together it creates a really relaxing and luxurious experience.
The 540i is exactly what you want when you want to cross luxury and driving fun. There is no denying the power and excitement of the 4.4L V8 which is only enhanced by the manual transmission. If you are a BMW fan, or just in the market for a now retro nearly super sedan, find a 540i in manual.