Once upon a time, BMW was known as that German car maker that makes the 3, 5 and 7 Series. These days, there's a whole gamut of other models that would have your head spinning in no time.
Amidst such utter diversity, the 5 Series remains a mainstay. So what's been happening in this sector lately?
You don't have to look far to see the current F10 Bimmer whizzing by, such is the sales success of the local BMW outfit that has made its cars such a common luxury on the road today.
The current 5 looks like a scaled-down version of the 7 Series.
In fact, the sixth-generation 5 shares much with the 7, starting with the use of many common parts and originating from the same German plant in Dingolfing. But most of the 5 Series sold here are assembled at BMW's local plant in Kulim, Kedah.
The F10 5 Series represents a whole new generation under designer Chris Bangle's successor, Adrian Von Hooydonk.
The flair of the upright front section and the kidney grille tilted slightly forward, the crisp lines on the side and the compact rump all meld together in typical BMW design fashion to create that look of style and edginess that many have come to expect.
The car appears to be smaller - but isn't - and is much sleeker than its predecessor.
It has a long and contoured engine compartment lid, short overhangs and a coupe-like flowing roofline, whilst still retaining fluidity in the Hofmeister Kink, that bend at the C-Pillar that has become a distinctive stylistic statement across all BMW models.
The butt smartens up and looks far more refined in F10 guise than that of the Bangle era.
Like many a 5 Series we have sat in, the interior offers immediate familiarity with dials and switchgear. It's a cabin that has been reworked in an evolutionary way that results in a well-executed space that's more compact and more driver-oriented than the 7.
Controls are well thought out while the displays in the instrument cluster, finished in Black Panel technology, are arranged clearly to ensure optimum readability.
There are long, clean lines as wood accents come together to create a classy presentation alongside standard fitments such as sat-nav and various driver assistance systems.
Front and rear passengers get space more befitting a mid-size luxury sports sedan. The new 5 - at 4.9m long - is 4cm longer than the previous model, with a generous 8cm increase in the wheelbase that translates into a more roomy interior.
All seats offer good support in most cases.
In addition to the extra knee room, the angled backrest offers firm and comfortable support over the distance, and we dare say it is an improvement over the old 5, which was not the kindest to rear passengers.
A long-legged friend, however, said he found thigh support in the back seats lacking and there are no controls to adjust the seats (available in the 528i, we are told). So tall ones, take note.
Since the 520i and 528i share the same engine and suspension settings, there are bound to be comparisons between the two.
The 528i is obviously the better car in terms of performance and kit. But for those who want a petrol 5 without the hefty RM50,000 premium attached, the 520i is not bad at all.
At 1,685kg, it is 10kg lighter than the 528i.
Quite apart from the different performance figures, the 520i does not have paddle shifters, Heads-up Display or Adaptive Drive.
Despite the missing bits, it remains decently equipped for a lower-ranked car.
It still has fancy stuff like an 8-speed gearbox, five drive modes, Dynamic Damping Control, Integral Active Steering, Auto Start/Stop, four-zone air-conditioning and an arsenal of safety technologies to keep the driver out of trouble.
Nice little touches like lit door handles and orange ambient lighting in the cabin reinforce the luxury feel.
The drive modes give the driver presets that tweak mode settings for the vehicle's accelerator, engine, steering, transmission, suspension and traction control.
Modes on tap are Comfort+, Comfort, Sport, Sport+ and for the first time, Eco Pro as standard.
Eco Pro mode enables the driver to learn more fuel-efficient driving techniques. It automatically optimises its drivetrain, heating and air conditioning strategy, as well as other electric comfort functions. BMW claims an economical driving style could result in fuel savings of up to 20%.
Move the car along, and the engine turns in a punchy performance, with the four cylinders working smoothly and quietly.
The TwinPower turbo engine delivers 184hp and 270Nm that's available from a lowly 1,250rpm to 4,500rpm, and the car moves off the line smartly and crisply without looking like a laggard.
For the feel-good effect, BMW cites the 520i as being frugal, using up 6.4 litres of fuel per 100km and emitting 149g/km of CO2 - the best in its class, apparently.
It goes from 0kph-100kph in a reasonable 8 seconds with a top speed of 226kph.
Compare that with the 528i which delivers 245hp and with the same turbo tech goes from 0kph-100kph in 6.3 seconds with a top speed of 250kph. You get more performance but fuel consumption is also higher at 6.8 litres per 100km with a corresponding increase in CO2 emissions at 158g/km.
Turbo lag is discernible in normal, aka Comfort mode, when trying to move off fast from a standstill, but this can be obviated by switching to Sport or Sport+ that offers an elevated engine/transmission response.
The smoothness of the 8-speeder is not in doubt and the seamless response is appreciated.
At highway speeds, the cabin is hushed with hardly any wind noise seeping in.
There's good feedback from the wheel and strong grip from the 17-inch Goodyear run-flats, while the suspension yields a compliant ride that minimises road irregularities without relaying harshness into the interior.
From the perspective of a buyer who has to cough up nearly RM360,000 (S$143,000), it's a sizeable amount to throw at a car and expectations are high that it should perform smooth as silk. The auto/start feature - seen in the 5 Series for the first time - dampens that perception, however. Thankfully, it can be turned off so that your slumbering mother-in-law, for instance, won't be jarred awake in the back when it kicks in during stop-start traffic. This is one feature we wish would not make itself felt at all, EfficientDynamics or not!
At BMW's asking price of RM358,800, the 520i can't be seen to be overly stripped-down for an entry-level petrol car. Frankly, it isn't bare bones in the least, but is togged up with sufficient equipment to keep it looking suitably luxurious.
What's equally important is that it meets expectations, with enough thrust to retain its dignity as a sporty mid-size sedan.