The BMW 5 Series has long been a recognisable luxury sedan, bearing an unmistakable business presence with some sporty flair and an equally elegant and modern interior atmosphere. The seventh generation 5 Series recently underwent an update with a lifecycle improvement (LCI) which includes new LED head and taillamps, tan-coloured leather and mood lighting that makes the cabin a congenial place to spend time in. Here are our thoughts on the civilised BMW 520d after spending some time with it.
With more power and improved delivery, the tried and tested four-cylinder BMW 520d turbo diesel Steptronic produces a capable 140 kW of power and 400 N.m of torque, BMW claims it will go from 0 – 100 km/h in 7,2 seconds although our own stopwatch time signalled 7,95 seconds during tests. Other claimed figures include a top speed of 235 km/h and fuel consumption of 6,24L/100 km, which we verified with an impressive fuel-route figure of 6,10L/100 km. Despite its size and mass, BMW claims the average stopping time for the saloon is 2,81 seconds at a distance of 36,8 metres.
Stepping inside the cabin, BMW includes their latest semi-autonomous driving aids such as the Adaptive radar-guided cruise control, lane-warning assist and sat-nav commands on the heads-up display which add to an impressive and seamless driving experience. The Adaptive radar-guided cruise control detects and shows a clear display of all vehicles around at any given moment, including vehicles approaching from the rear that appear in the blind spot.
The light steering of the BMW 520d lends itself to intuitive handling despite its large body. This is thanks to the integral active steering that is based on the telemetry from the front axle that can command the steering angle from the rear wheels. At lower speeds, the BMW 520d showed great agility and was able to perform tricky manoeuvres by turning the rear wheels in the opposite direction to the front wheels. At 60 to 80 km/h the rear wheels turn parallel to the front wheels to increase driving stability and comfort.
The BMW 5 Series remains a stalwart in the firm’s portfolio, just like it was before. With minimal upgrades on the exterior and interior and class-leading tech, the 520d is a properly outstanding vehicle. After the entire CAR Magazine team spent some time with the venerable entry-level sedan, we arrived at the conclusion that the 520d is an exceptional car overall, highlighted by a smooth but punchy engine and excellent fuel economy to complement the power. Affluent, high mileage drivers will find great solace in the product offering with additional reward found in the engaging drive, well-weighted and accurate steering and balanced body control.