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19 Jun 2017 | Text by Nigel Yong, Photos by Low Fai Ming

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Corporate Contest

It's the battle of executive sedans, as Germany takes on Japan and Sweden to reclaim its corporate crown.


In the corporate world of hot shots in suits and ties, it's a daily dance of politics and brown-nosing to fight your way to the top. It's a highly competitive environment not made for everyone, but those who manage to pay the piper do reap satisfying rewards such as the financial capacity to own more expensive cars, which bespeaks one's achievements and lifestyle.

This brings us to the topic of executive sedans.

Like the corporate combat zones of men and women who own them, executive sedans, too, struggle in a dog-eat-dog world. Every now and then, new technologies and designs one-up a brand and leave its competitors in the dust. The latest model to re-enter the boxing ring is the new BMW 5 Series, the poster boy of high-ranking managerial types.

The new BMW 5 Series, codenamed the G30, looks to continue the legacy of its hot-selling predecessor, the F10

The outgoing F10 model set the benchmark in terms of global sales, having sold over two million units worldwide. Sporting a brand new design and features found on the larger 7 Series, the new BMW 5 Series aims to continue the German marque's glorious sales record.

Can this new iteration continue the model's legacy? We put a 5 Series 530i M Sport up against a Jap and a Swede - the highly refined Lexus GS Turbo GS200t and the tech-packed Volvo S90 T5 - to find out.

Presence

With executive sedans, design is a big deal. Buyers want a car that can project the right image - a car that's imposing, sophisticated and reasonably stylish.

The formal and precise design of the new 5 Series combines presence, aesthetic appeal and functionality in equal measure

In this aspect, the BMW is the best representation of the aforementioned elements, thanks in part to several 7 Series design cues, which exude athleticism, luxury and elegance. Compared to the previous generation, the design of the new 5 Series is more refined, more premium, yet just as sporty, if not even sportier.

The Lexus, although more fashionable than before, lacks the sophistication and road presence of the BMW. On top of that, its hawkish front end might not be everyone's cup of tea.

Likewise for Volvo, whose designers have chosen a very clean, reserved design, the S90 doesn't have enough dramatic beauty for uptown tastes. 

That's not to say the car isn't beautiful because compared to Volvos of old, this one's considered quite an eyeful.

Creature comforts

Inside, it's BMW and Lexus country. The 5 Series' cabin design is a welcoming evolution of past models, meaning ergonomics and materials used rank high. The updated iDrive infotainment system is the most uncomplicated one in this test and the car's seating position is also the most driver-focused. At the same time, cushy leather trims ensure your knees and elbows stay comfortable.

From the driver's seat, the cabin is almost indistinguishable from the latest 7 Series and that's saying a lot.

The GS' cabin may not have the best-in-class design, but its use of high-quality materials and comfort levels do shine

The GS doesn't have the most modern cabin design and the mouse-like control of its infotainment system isn't quite as user-friendly as we'd hoped. That said, the carmaker customarily boast enticingly crafted interiors with comfort to match, and the GS Turbo is no exception.

Luxury is, after all, the Japanese premium marque's strongsuit, hence the GS Turbo's top-notch interior comes as no surprise. It's also the quietest car to be in with regards to this group test.

The S90's cabin has the cleanest design of the three, but unfortunately loses out in quality of fit and finish

For drivers who love tech and minimalism, the Volvo's cabin should be a favourite. In the central console is a stylish 9.0-inch iPad-style touchscreen infotainment system that's a beauty to behold. However, it's not as easy to operate or intuitive as BMW's iDrive.
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Car Information

spacer

Price

: $300,800

Engine Type

:

4-cylinder in-line 16-valve Turbocharged

Engine Cap

:

1998cc

Horsepower

:

185kW (248 bhp) / 6500 rpm

Torque

:

350 Nm / 4800 rpm

Transmission

:

8-speed (A) Steptronic

Acceleration (0-100 km/h)

:

6.2sec

Top Speed

:

250km/h

Fuel consumption

:

16.1 km/L

spacer
Promotion
There's a promotion for Lexus GS Turbo

Price

: $270,000

Engine Type

:

4-cylinder in-line 16-valve Twin-scroll Turbocharged Dual VVT-iW

Engine Cap

:

1998cc

Horsepower

:

180kW (241 bhp) / 5800 rpm

Torque

:

350 Nm / 4400 rpm

Transmission

:

8-speed (A)

Acceleration (0-100 km/h)

:

7.3sec

Top Speed

:

230km/h

Fuel consumption

:

12.5 km/L

spacer
Promotion
There's a promotion for Volvo S90

Price

: $220,000

Engine Type

:

4-cylinder in-line 16-valve Turbocharged

Engine Cap

:

1969cc

Horsepower

:

189kW (254 bhp) / 5500 rpm

Torque

:

350 Nm / 4800 rpm

Transmission

:

8-speed (A) Geartronic

Acceleration (0-100 km/h)

:

6.8sec

Top Speed

:

230km/h

Fuel consumption

:

14.9 km/L

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