Given a plethora of classic hot rods, muscle cars and unicorn-rare Japanese imports here, Sooke a jewel in the rough when it comes to really cool cars.
But it seems Sookies have a sweet tooth for yet another breed: European luxury. More specifically, German cars.
So, naturally, we had to pick a very special one from the herd and bring it into the spotlight: a 1999 Bayerische Motoren Werken (BMW) 540i belonging to Derek Lewers of Sooke.
Hailed by the motoring press as one of the most refined and best-built sport-luxury sedans of the 21st century, the 540i, also known as the E39, showed owners around the world that a car can have it all: precision handling, supreme ride comfort and power. Lewers’ 540i is certainly a forgotten animal of the breed, eclipsed by its more hot-blooded relative, the M5.
But as all animals are equal, some are more equal than others.
The 540i is an executive’s car. It is stern, serious, with no time for tomfoolery, while his teenage son takes the more juveline, track-oriented M5.
And unlike the M5, which has a more aggressive fascia, side skirts, a (functioning) rear diffuser and quad exhaust pipes, the 540i is entirely unassuming and business-like in its presence, much like a man in a dark suit passing you by on the street.
Don’t take its reserved good looks for granted, however, because tucked under that squarish hood lies a 4.4-litre V8 monster capable of nearly 300 feur-breathing Bavarian horses and a tire-skinning 324 lb-ft of torque.
Hardly surprising why the 3,748-lbs. sedan can lunge 0-96 km/h in just 5.6 seconds.
Aftermarket tuning can bring those numbers even higher, but Lewers prefers to keep his 540i stock, and as the refined machine it was built to be. His car also came equipped with the rare factory M-package and 6-speed manual transmission, which makes this 540i a perfect jack of all trades.
“I love acceleration, the ride and the comfort. It’s smooth when you want to cruise, and sure-footed when you want to show it some corners,” Lewers said. “You can tell you’re driving a well-crafted machine.”
The E39 also marked the last time a naturally- aspirated V8 powered a 5-Series. Its successors continued on with BMW’s traditional inline-six engines, both in turbo, diesel and naturally-aspirated versions, as well as a 5.0-litre V10 which saw brief action in the E60 M5.
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