BMW launched the sixth generation 5-Series in 2010 and last year the company gave the vehicle a mid-life facelift. The changes to the car aren’t a world apart as the facelifted F10 version gets subtle changes all around along with the addition of new features. The BMW 5-Series is a hot favourite of enthusiasts the world over but in 520d avatar, it’s trying to woo those who want a practical yet luxurious vehicle. Our test car came with the Modern Line trim, which focusses on luxury over sportiness. The BMW 520d is also the most popular variant of the 5-Series lineup in India and we got behind the wheel to gauge what’s new.
The 2017 BMW 530i comes standard with LED adaptive headlights, 18-inch wheels, driver-selectable vehicle settings (altering steering, transmission response and throttle calibration), LED accent lights, LED foglights, power-folding and auto-dimming heated mirrors, automatic wipers, a sunroof, adaptive cruise control, dual-zone automatic cruise control, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, driver and passenger 16-way-adjustable sport seats with power-adjustable side bolsters and driver memory functions, a 40/20/40-split folding rear seat and premium vinyl upholstery. Standard technology features include the iDrive interface (knob/button controller and 10.3-inch display), a navigation system, gesture and voice controls, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, BMW emergency services, and a 205-watt, 12-speaker sound system with a CD player, HD radio, an auxiliary audio jack, a USB port, a media player interface and 20 gigabytes of digital music storage.
Options include a 600-watt, 16-speaker Harman Kardon sound system or a 1,400-watt, 16-speaker Bowers & Wilkins premium audio system, 20-way-adjustable multicontour driver and front passenger seats with ventilation and massage, a rear-wheel steering system and adaptive dampers. The Adaptive Drive system package combines the adaptive dampers with active stabilizer bars.
An M Sport package includes unique body trim, a lowered suspension and 19-inch wheels, a sport leather steering wheel and unique interior trim. Twenty-inch wheels are optional on the 540i when the M Sport package is selected.
The Modern Line of the BMW 520d gets all beige interiors which do give the cabin an airy feel but might not appeal to some. The dashboard is very similar to the old model but BMW has made small changes to boost the luxury appeal of the 5-Series. There are brushed silver inserts on the dashboard, including on the third spoke of the 3-spoke steering wheel. Light coloured wood inserts are placed on the dashboard, centre console and doors. The car uses a 6.5-inch screen for the infotainment system but the iDrive controller isn’t a touch-pad like on the 530d. Build quality is good and the front seats offer excellent support too.
At the rear, seating comfort continues to be excellent with ample cushioning all around. There is space for two at the rear as the transmission hump prevents a third passenger from squeezing into the rear bench. The big update to the 5-Series is the new instrument cluster, which isn’t a conventional unit. Instead, it uses an LCD screen and can change the display based on the driving mode. There are three modes on offer – Eco Pro, Comfort and Sport, the complete console changing colours and layout in each of these modes. BMW hasn’t skipped on equipment on this base 5-Series variant, it still comes with 8 airbags, sunroof, leather seats, steering mounted paddles, dual-zone climate control, electric steering and seat adjust (the latter with memory function).
All the variants are interestingly of a 2.0 litre capacity with only the BMW 5 Series 530d M Sport and BMW 5 Series GT 530d LE offered as a 3.0 litre engines. The engine performance of the BMW 5 Series 525d Luxury+ is slightly tweaked to offer higher power compared to the usual engine variant. The three key variants however are BMW 520d, BMW 525d and BMW 530d. The BMW 530d produces a maximum output of 258 bhp and the torque reaches a peak of 540 Nm at 1500 rpm. The BMW 525d however offers 218 bhp out maximum output. The third variant BMW 520d does not fall short in terms of performance and generates a maximum output of 184 bhp decent 380 Nm or torque at mere 1750 rpm which shows the effective power distribution inside the vehicle. Following Common Rail Direct Injection in combination with a turbocharger, the BMW 520d offers a top speed of a remarkable 231 kmph. Since all the variants are predominantly diesel oriented, they come with impressive mileage. BMW 530d offers an impressive mileage of 14.69 kmpl while the BMW 525d offers a slightly higher 17.09 kmpl. However most impressive of the lot is the BMW 520d which generates 18.48 kmpl mileage. The emission figures of all the vehicles comply the national regulations and are noted to be at 154.75 gms per kilometre and 114.47 gms per kilometre for BMW 525d and BMW 520d respectively.
RIDE AND HANDLING ;
This being a German luxury sedan, it rides low on the road and that too after BMW has raised the ground clearance for the Indian market. The low ground clearance means that you have to slow down significantly for speed breakers.The ride is a little hard even in the comfort or ECO PRO mode and tends to give you feedback even for the smallest imperfections on the road. This is down to the large 18-inch wheels and massive run-flat tyres which are tuned for fast driving but in turn make your ride much harder. However, the ride, despite being hard in the 530d, is much softer when compared to the previous generation car. At high speeds the 530d is very stable. The electric power steering from BMW is the best I have ever used and it weighs up quite well at high speeds. However, it still does feel heavy even at lower speeds. The massive brakes are well suited to this car of this size and have ferocious stopping power.
SAFETY AND SECURITY ;
It has an active protection, which includes attentiveness assist, which enhances the safety in case of critical situation. Dual front airbags along with head and side airbags are an effective protection in the event of any collision. The cabin has an advanced electronic immobilizer along with crash sensors, which safeguards it from any unauthorized entry. Its rigid body structure has side and front impact protection beams, which enhances safety of the occupants sitting inside. It has runflat tyres with reinforced side walls along with runflat indicator that warns the driver with a light when there is a slight drop in tyre pressure. It is also equipped with anti lock braking along with emergency brake assist function. It also has cornering brake control, which enhances the stability in sharp curves. For enhancing the suspension mechanism, it is decked with a dynamic stability control, which constantly monitors the driving status, modifies directional stability and traction by brake management system. Apart from these, this sedan is bestowed with emergency spare wheel, passive pedestrian protection, electric parking brake with auto hold function, company’s condition based service (intelligent maintenance system) and much more.
The new BMW 5 Series looks elegant and has new features, which its predecessor missed. It drives well and also offers the comfort and luxury you would expect from a chauffeur-driven car. Still if the latter is your primary need, the 5 doesn’t come anywhere close to the Mercedes-Benz E-Class. After all, the E-Class is the only long wheelbase model in this segment. Nonetheless, at Rs 53.6 lakhs (ex-showroom Delhi), the new 5 Series still has sufficient kit to compete against the Audi A6, the Jaguar XF and the Volvo S90 in our country.