BMW 520D Review, Test Drive

By Jared Solomon | on May 1, 2014

The 5 Series gets updated equipment and some styling tweaks. We drive the BMW 520d for our BMW 520D and to sample the latest avatar of the 5.

The battle to stay atop the luxury car market worldwide is a challenging task, with multiple brands locked in a close contest – and the scenario is no different in India. In the recent past, Audi has been the number one luxury car brand in India, but BMW is still my favourite luxury carmaker because they offer cars that not only look good and drive well, but also because of the diversity of their product offerings. So, while they might not be at the top of the Indian luxury market at present, the Bavarian carmaker isn’t exactly sitting back with its feet up – it’s constantly updating it’s fleet, and their best-selling mid-sized luxury sedan is just one of the steps to hit back. The 5 Series has recently received mild updates visually, and it also gets some new technology to give it that extra edge. We flew to Mumbai to drive the BMW 520d, and headed straight to the scenic location of Lonavala to enjoy a beautiful drive in a good-looking car and do our BMW 520D.

BMW 520D Instrument Cluster

At first glance, you won’t be able to notice any major changes to the styling – because the changes are very subtle over the outgoing car. But, on closer inspection of the ‘Modern’ trim version we had, you will notice that the new front kidney grille is covered in matte chrome and gets additional contour lines and a redesigned lower air intake – along with other parts of the car that are finished in more matte chrome. The headlights have also been updated with a slimmer design, and are all-LED adaptive units – which are standard fitment, along with the 18-inch wheels. Inside the cabin, the seats feature plush leather, while the wood trim is now also a shade lighter than the previous model. Along with some silver accents, these upgrades give the dash a more premium feel. At 6.5 inches, the iDrive Screen is smaller than that of the higher specced 5 Series models, and the BMW 520d doesn’t get satnav as standard fitment either – which the 525 and 530d do. The most interesting feature in the new 5 Series, though, is the high-tech digital instrument panel – which changes its display depending on which driving mode the car is in. You can choose between Sport, Comfort, and EcoPro modes, and the car will adjust engine revs, gearshift points, and steering weight according to the selected driving mode.

New BMW 520D Left Headlight

The BMW 520d features the same 2.0-litre 180bhp diesel unit from the previous model, and it is a refined power-plant that’s quite smooth. The torque remains the same, at 380Nm, but it yields more than adequate performance in our traffic conditions. The 8-speed automatic gearbox has always been one of our favourites, and it remains as brilliant as ever in its prompt response and quick gear changes. During our BMW 520D, we also noticed that the BMW 520d is a pleasure to drive and the engine response is perfect for our conditions. On our drive route, as we approached the narrow mountain roads of Lonavala, the BMW 520d was put in Sport Mode, and it did a good job of sticking to the road when things got a little twisty. The handling is superb, and the steering is very direct for such a big machine. The gear changes are spot on and very quick. And, if you want more control, you can simply switch to manual mode – which makes the drive even more engaging. And that explains part of the 5’s appeal – one moment you can demand quick performance, and the next moment you can enjoy a relaxed drive, all the while enjoying a luxurious cabin.

Additionally, there are some other technological innovations that have been added to the new 5 Series – such as the fully automatic Parking Assist system, and other safety features like glare free High Beam Assist, Collision Warning, and other driver assistance systems. With the new tech and the refreshed looks, the BMW 5 Series is just another step closer to becoming the ideal luxury sedan. Since it was first introduced to the world in 1972, it’s impressed with its ability and versatility – and the newest model is no different.

2014 BMW 520D Side Profile

  • BMW 520D Modern

Engine: 1955cc / In-Line 4 / Common Rail Direct Injection

Fuel: Diesel

Transmission: 8-Speed Automatic

Power: 184Bhp @ 4,000rpm

Torque: 380nm @ 1750-2750rpm

Price: Rs. 49.2 Lakh (Ex Showroom, Delhi)

Tags: BMW BMW 520d

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