The news this year for the 5-Series is the addition of a V-8-powered M550i xDrive, a diesel-powered 540d, and a plug-in hybrid 530e to complement the turbo-4 and turbo-6 530i and 540i respectively.

All models are mated to an excellent 8-speed automatic.

The base turbo-4 is excellent in many applications, especially in the 530i, but it’s the transmission, ride, and handling that has us gobsmacked. The 5-Series earns two points above average on our performance scale. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

With 4-, 6-, and 8-cylinder options, the 2018 BMW 5-Series performance range can be intimidating—and that’s before we’ve considered the hybrid. Let’s unpack delicately then.

The first stop for many buyers will be the turbo-4 found under the hood of the 530i. That corporate inline-4 makes 248 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, and can power the rear wheels as…

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