The icing on the entree
feedback at the expense of minor movements in the cabin.
Performance from the 2.0-litre diesel is impressive and akin to a tugboat shifting a freighter — it doesn’t seem possible but happens anyway.
The eight-speed automatic shares bragging rights here, seamlessly shifting up and down regardless of the load on the accelerator and contributing to the 520d feeling more sprightly than its 7.5-second run to triple figures suggests. It’s no sports sedan — the 540i and M5 fill that role — but the balanced chassis makes it an engaging car to pilot.
Turn the 5 Series into a corner and the steering conveys every twitch from the front tyres. Grip is great — you’re going to be really unlucky or ragingly overconfident to run out of adhesion.
Thirst, or the lack thereof, is a big part of the 520d’s appeal. We logged 5.2L/100km with some solid driving, against an official claim of 4.3L.
Cabin insulation is a highlight, with the diesel rarely intruding on the chat on freeway drives. The build quality is everything you’d expect from a BMW costing nearly $100K. The interior, though refined, can’t match the latest Mercedes E-Class. The latter’s info screen, embedded in the dash, is rather more slick than the Beemer’s tablet-style display.
As an entree into the 5 Series
3 years/unlimited km
$1640 over 5 years/80,000km
SERVICING SERVICE INTERVAL
Condition-based (about 12 months/15,000km)
2.0-litre 4-cyl turbo diesel, 140kW/400Nm
8-speed auto; RWD 4.3L/100km 4936mm (L), 1868mm (W), 1,479mm (H) 2975mm (WB) 1560kg None; run-flats 7.5 secs
WEIGHT SPARE 0-100KM/H
range, the 520d is all you need to impress, particularly if driving dynamics are the priority. It’s not going to tear up the tarmac but you will exit the car with a satisfied smile.