The BMW 5 Series is an evolution of more than 45 years of the best automotive engineering in the world. Today’s 5 Series shares a lineage with all those that came before it. This can be easily seen in the design motifs, the gauges and the body style, which bear striking resemblances to the first 5 Series, produced in 1972. But the newest 5 Series is also a culmination of all the mechanical innovation that has made the BMW 5 Series one of the greatest car lines in the world.

With the newest 5 Series, BMW continues the tradition of staying more than a few steps ahead of the competition. The sleek, aggressive styling announces the car’s high-performance character before you even start the engine. The newest generation of 5 Series is one of the most stunning yet produced. It is a head turner, and it has the pose and presence to look right at home at the country club or in the valet lot.

But the real selling points for this new Bimmer are under the hood. BMW has conjured yet another technological parlor trick by using an engine that, in times past, would have been considered small even for the tiniest compact, much less a luxury touring sedan. The 2.0 liter inline four-cylinder engine produces a stunning 248 horsepower. That’s well over 2 horsepower per cubic inch, a number that, just a couple decades ago, would have been reserved for drag cars running specialty fuel.

But BMW makes even more spectacular use of those 248 horses. The engine is married to BMW’s 10 speed, computer-controlled automatic transmission. Aside from imperceptibly smooth shifting, the transmission produces enough leverage to rocket the 5 Series from 0 to 60 in just 5.8 seconds.

The interior matches the power train in superlatives. Borrowing heavily from the larger 7 Series flagship, the cabinof the 5 Series has an understated elegance and general ambiance that you might expect in top-end Mercedes, Aston Martins or Bentleys. The iDrive infotainment system is displayed on a 10 inch screen and is reassuringly easy to use, given the problems that some first generation iDrive systems notoriously suffered. The large analogue gauges are easy to read and have that classic BMW look that every Bimmer enthusiast loves. Overall, the newest 5 Series has the best interior yet. It’s a great place to spend a long commute or an interstate road trip.

The only real downside of the 5 Series is the price tag. Starting at $52,000, the 5 Series quickly goes up in price as the options start piling on. But like with most things, you’re getting what you pay for. And even at $52,000, the 5 Series delivers strong value.

Leasing a 5 Series may be the best financial move

If you’re thinking of buying a new 5 Series outright, you may want to take another look at the benefits of leasing. The main drawback of purchasing a new car is the huge capital outlays required. Even in the case of buying on a bank loan, there are often massive down payments, taxes and closing fees that can easily run into the thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars.

Leasing avoids almost all up-front costs. It also transfers the risk of fluctuating resell prices back to the dealership or leasing company. But the largest benefit of leasing is the dramatic reductions in monthly payments. A new 5 Series can currently be leased for as little as $400 per month. Even the best loan terms often require monthly payments of twice that.

Be sure not to overlook leasing as a viable option for acquiring a new BMW.