If you can suck up the running costs, the 528i’s a good ride
There’s no doubt the BMW badge holds its own despite other brands muscling in on the territory once occupied only by the Bavarian maker and rival Mercedes-Benz.
For some, the BMW badge became a little passe when the 3 Series became the car of choice for those wanting to be seen driving an upmarket machine.
While prestige newcomers also turned to Audi and Lexus, BMW is still one to aspire to, despite the
high number on the road. Boarding the BMW prestige train, however, requires means. They are not only an expensive purchase but can cost a pretty penny to maintain.
One way to reduce the cost of these luxury machines is to buy used. An entry model or a midspec version such as the 528i is a way in.
The 528i that appeared in 2010 is a handsome machine, particularly compared to the edgily designed 5 Series before it. Smooth, well proportioned and with flowing lines, it looks the goods from all angles.
There’s ample accommodation for four adults, though squeezing in a fifth compromises the comfort level.
Power comes from a 3.0-litre in-line six-cylinder engine (190kW/310Nm) and in common with allBMWsixes it is happy to sing for its supper. It’s not a fire-breathing monster, rather it’s a silkysmooth unit perfectly suited to the task at hand, while still delivering decent fuel economy. From September 2011 the atmo six was replaced by a potent new four-cylinder turbo engine.
An eight-speed auto works well in tandem with the six to get the most out of the engine in all situations, and the final drive is via the rear wheels.
Makers have moved en masse to front-wheel drive, mostly for efficient packaging, butBMWhas steadfastly stuck with rear-wheel drive, which is a blessing for anyone who really likes driving. There’s little to compare to the feel and response of a rear-driver andBMWis right up there with the best.
The 528i is packed with technology, which is fine when it’s working as intended but not so endearing when it’s not.
When things go wrong with the likes of the eight-speed transmission or any of the myriad electronic systems, the cost of repair can be horrific.
Before buying into the brand you need to weigh up the cost of repairs and maintenance and consider who you might use to keep your machine ticking over. If it’s under warranty, no question, use the dealer for servicing. If it’s out of warranty consider the option of using an independent service agent who can generally maintain and repair your car equally well, but at a much reduced rate.
Another thing to consider is the cost of tyres. The 528i runs on expensive low-profile run-flat tyres that are likely to come up for replacement in the hands of a second owner.
If those things don’t deter you then the good news is that there are few complaints from owners. With the earliest examples having now done about 30,000km it’s still early days. Anyone considering buying a used 528i that has come off lease can do so with the confidence that they will get a good run out of the car.
Great driving, well built, fullyfeatured prestige sedan. Little to go wrong.