Beemer dream­ing

If you can suck up the run­ning costs, the 528i’s a good ride

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Used Car - GRA­HAM SMITH gra­ham.smith@cars­guide.com.au

NEW

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.

NOW

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.

SMITHY SAYS

Great driv­ing, well built, ful­lyfea­tured pres­tige sedan. Lit­tle to go wrong.

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