BMW 520d: Luxury, power and performance

Observer writer

Friday, November 03, 2017

Print this page Email A Friend!

THE 2018 BMW 520d doesn't stray far from its roots, as a mid-sized, luxury executive sedan it adds its own flavour to the formula.

Now in its seventh generation, the five series sits smack dab in the middle of its siblings — the smaller three series and the larger seven series. Its appearance draws from both.

The family lines are clear, with the iconic kidney grills leading what is a svelte stature pulled from the length and width of its bigger brother. Yet, the smooth, muscular body lines highlighted keeps it visually compact like the three series.

With attractive 19-inch wheels, the 520d draws comparison to an athlete wearing a fine business suit and the latest running sneakers. It's ready to rock!

Unlock the car with the touch of a finger and the seats and steering adjust to the keyholder's last settings. Cuddle up inside the 520d and its role as a luxury sedan is announced by generous use of high-quality materials. Stitched leather is abundant across the major surfaces, while wood and metal trim, with slight touches of black gloss, top off whatever areas are left for the eyes to see. Completing the package is a strip of mood lighting. The interior is deceptively simple. However, under all that fine material in the five series is packed with technology; plenty of it.

At this level, all primary functions are automated. Set seats, auto headlights, rain-sensing wind shield wipers, among other features and forget them. They'll operate as needed. BMW's iDrive system is the industry standard, and in the 520d there's no question it continues to lead. The rotary controller on the centre console makes navigating menus simple, then throw in the ability to write words or use the touchscreen itself and input in certain modes.

Of course, BMW had to up the ante, and when equipped with gesture control, the infotainment system reacts to specific hand movement for certain functions absolving the driver of even having to touch the screen. The standard methods of connectively are all there via Bluetooth and USB, but using an internal Wi-Fi network the car surpasses that with screen mirroring allowing the connected smart device to be operated from the infotainment system allowing all apps and functions to be available. If you're a multitasker, then the split screen function is an even greater joy.

The 520d is diesel-powered with a two litre, twin-power, turbocharged engine which fires to life with the press of a button without a whisper to passengers — a testament to interior comfort. This is where the 520d shines. BMW's line of diesel motors continues to prove that efficiency is the key to performance. Even if the 190bhp doesn't sound enough then the 296lb/ft of torque would catch any eye. On the surface, the car can hit a genuine 64mpg in its ECO-PRO mode. Quite frankly, owners can waft away in that and COMFORT mode without a worry in the world. Traffic disappears in the background, with the cruise control, automatic electronic handbrake, and the suite of BMW Efficient Dynamics system doing its thing for occupant relaxation and fuel conservation.

BMW's tagline 'the ultimate driving machine' comes into life. Step in the throttle and it comes alive. Even in ECO-PRO and COMFORT modes the 520d's athleticism can't be hidden. In SPORT mode, the leather-wrapped steering wheel gains weight for more direct feel, while the eight-speed transmission with paddle shifters gets more aggressive. Just as easily as it dispatches city traffic without a sound, it can be hustled down narrow, twisty, country lanes at speed, and dispatch miles of smooth highway like a champion. The chassis and brakes are more than up to the task to handle the massive amounts of thrust on hand.

The 520d is truly a business athlete.




1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper � email addresses will not be published.

2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.

3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.

4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.

5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed:

6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email:

7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

comments powered by Disqus



Today's Cartoon

Click image to view full size editorial cartoon