Pre­ci­sion park­ing

Warwickshire Telegraph - - FRONT PAGE - By Peter Keenan

FEW things im­press my pal – but BMW’s park­ing as­sis­tance knocked him side­ways. As you at­tempt to ma­noeu­vre the 530d M Sport a colour dis­play on the dash­board gives an over­head view of the car in re­la­tion to the space you are trying to fit into. This, com­bined with park­ing sen­sors and a cam­era, means that slot­ting this big beast into a tight spot is sim­plic­ity it­self.

De­spite be­ing a vet­eran of top Ger­man ex­ec­u­tive mod­els, my friend was blown away by the tech­nol­ogy and thought that had gone into the sys­tem which is part of Park­ing As­sis­tant Plus – an op­tional ex­tra cost­ing £1,095. The car can also be au­to­mat­i­cally slot­ted into a space while you stand out­side.

It is this com­mit­ment to hi-tech solutions as well as an at­ten­tion to de­tail and ex­cel­lent driv­ing dy­nam­ics that makes the lat­est in­car­na­tion of the mid-sized 5 Se­ries so good.

The sev­enth gen­er­a­tion of a model that has been around since 1972 could have be­come stuck in the mud, but BMW en­sures this is not the case and the model I drove was a beauty.

Based on the same plat­form as the big­ger 7 Se­ries limo, the new 5 Se­ries is a step up space-wise from its pre­de­ces­sor – but thanks to the use of light­weight ma­te­ri­als ac­tu­ally weighs about 100kg less.

This, com­bined with well-weighted steer­ing, the xDrive all-wheel drive sys­tem plus ex­cel­lent driv­ing dy­nam­ics, gives the racy M Sport the agility and bal­ance of a bal­le­rina as well as a sur­pris­ingly smooth ride for some­thing sit­ting on 19-inch al­loy wheels.

Three set­tings – Sport, Com­fort and Eco Pro – al­ter the car’s re­sponses ac­cord­ingly as well as the large TFT dis­play that re­places the tra­di­tional ana­logue di­als on the wrap­around dash­board.

Evo­lu­tion rather than rev­o­lu­tion is BMW’s ethos when it comes to the ex­te­rior with de­sign cues taken from the 7 se­ries. And there is no doubt who the daddy is as quad head­lights and the double kid­ney grille can be­long to only one motor man­u­fac­turer. The M Sport also gets a sub­tle bodykit as well as be­spoke front and rear bumpers.

The in­te­rior is plush and spa­cious, with the high qual­ity ma­te­ri­als and fin­ish you should get for a price-tag just short of £50,000.

Five adults can be catered for in com­fort with a sun­roof and cli­mate con­trol cre­at­ing an airy, pleas­ant at­mos­phere mak­ing long jour­neys a pleasure rather than a chore. The boot is a de­cent size, eas­ily cop­ing with your golf bag and trol­ley when ven­tur­ing out for that cor­po­rate round.

No noise is per­mit­ted into the cabin ex­cept the wel­come throaty roar of the pow­er­ful 3.0-litre diesel which pro­pels the M Sport from 0-62mph in a shade over five sec­onds on its way to a gov­erned top speed of 155mph. Thank­fully the brakes are sim­i­larly pro­fi­cient in slow­ing you down. An eight-speed au­to­matic gear­box is slick, with pad­dles be­hind the steer­ing wheel of­fer­ing man­ual changes if you pre­fer.

All 5 Se­ries mod­els are fes­tooned with good­ies in­clud­ing leather cov­ered seats and steer­ing wheel, as well as a top-notch satel­lite nav­i­ga­tion sys­tem and a va­ri­ety of on­line ser­vices. My motor fea­tured the £225 full colour head-up dis­play of­fer­ing speed and sat-nav in­for­ma­tion.

The in­fo­tain­ment is ac­cessed via a large colour screen fea­tur­ing ges­ture con­trol as an op­tional ex­tra al­low­ing you to change things like the ra­dio’s vol­ume with the swish of a fin­ger in front of the dis­play, while the in­tu­itive iDrive con­troller re­mains on board the new 5 Se­ries.

BMW have kept the new line-up straight­for­ward with SE and M Sport trims avail­able. En­gine choices in­clude an ex­cel­lent 520d with a 187bhp 2.0-litre diesel in ad­di­tion to the straight-six 265bhp 530d tested, while petrol power comes in the form of the 530i and 540i mod­els. The for­mer fea­tures a 2.0-litre turbo petrol en­gine with 249bhp while the lat­ter of­fers 335bhp in a 3.0-litre unit. There is also a 530e plug-in hy­brid.

When op­tional ex­tras are added the 530d xDrive M Sport costs more than the re­sult of my first foray into the prop­erty mar­ket – a three-bed semi pur­chased in the 1990s – but the lat­est 5 Se­ries will un­doubt­edly prove a much bet­ter in­vest­ment.

TEST DRIVE BMW 530D XDRIVE M SPORT

Model: BMW 530d xDrive M Sport Price: £49,335 Me­chan­i­cal: 265bhp, 2,993cc, 6cyl diesel en­gine driv­ing all wheels via 8spd au­to­matic gear­box Max speed: 155mph 0-62mph: 5.4 sec­onds Com­bined mpg: 53.3 In­sur­ance group: 41 CO2 emis­sions: 138g/km BiK rat­ing: 29% War­ranty: 3yrs / un­lim­ited miles

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