Enter the 5: BMW 520d

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What is this?
The entry point of the new 5 Series models, “traditionally” the best-selling BMW in Singapore. But can the entry level G30 5 Series offer much more than the petrol variant? One thing is for sure, it will offer massive range.

What range?
As in, driving from Singapore to Penang and still have some diesel to get you around in there before you need to top up the tank. Also, with more stations offering Euro 5 Diesel in recent years, it’s not going to be a problem getting home as well. Well, just a bit of pre-trip planning hassle to list down stations which offer Euro 5 Diesel, yes.

We got in, fired it up and the trip computer instantly said we had over 1000km of range to finish. Superb.

Did you really drive 1000km?
No, we didn’t. Realistically speaking, an average driver in Singapore will cover 500km in a week, plus we didn’t have the luxury of two weeks to empty the tank. But think of the savings! S$2006 annual road tax for a diesel, versus S$1208 for a similar 1,995cc petrol car. Many articles have been written about switching to diesel for long term savings, and we shall not regurgitate them for your sake. It is still the same, diesels continue to be popular with high-mileage folks for good reason.

Is that a key in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?
Ha. That’s the Display Key, a smart key with a colour screen that allows drivers to remotely check some of the car’s status, whether the doors are locked / windows are up, as well as pre-cool the car at a pre-defined time (super handy for those who park under the sun and go home on the dot at 5pm). It’s kind of big through, and it’s smart enough to distinguish between two keys to load the driver’s profile associated with it.

Elsewhere, there’s also Adaptive LED headlights, soft-closing doors all round, an ambient interior lighting package, a fully digital instrument cluster and of course the latest version of BMW’s iDrive infotainment system.

More toys? How about automatic parking? Remote 3D view, with the BMW Connected Drive is especially cool – but we are trying to think of practical uses for that. Also, since we are law-abiding guys and only use the phone while it’s mounted in a car mount, we wanted to text a friend and ended up changing the music track. Well, it isn’t perfect, but Gesture Control was cool to use.

The 520d is a Luxury trim model, so it does do away with some of the “M” package visual and mechanical enhancements which some owners might prefer. It still gets Adaptive LED headlights, soft-closing doors, ambient interior lighting package, digital instrument cluster and of course the latest version of BMW’s iDrive infotainment system.

How is the drive?
We think BMW has finally cracked it. It doesn’t pretend to be some “pseudo firm” sport executive car but something that glides over bumps without making anyone feel uncomfortable inside.

With plenty of torques to unleash, you can send it screaming around corners at very un-luxurious speeds. The G30 5 series is a very balanced car, and very hard to unsettle even at speed, but do be warned, it does become a handful when you finally breach the handling limits… but who buys a 5 series diesel as a trackday special, right? Right?

It’s a super highway cruiser, with the engine padded so thickly that the only thing you’ll hear is the muted rumble of the Pirelli Cinturato P7’s tyres (which are already quiet tyres). The engine still emits that diesel clatter on start-up or if you’re standing outside. Once you are in it, you can barely hear it, even at idle.

The eight-speed automatic is plenty of gears to keep the engine rumbling below the 3k rpm limit while giving pretty brisk process as well. Wind noise is kept down with tons of aero things that the car does to make the airflow smooth, including active grille and fender vents.

Is it for me?
Are you new to the middle management team? Then you will definitely be doing a lot of groundwork for the team and this is the right car for you. It drives beautifully, and we’re certain that the diesel pull is much more addictive than any petrol engine. (Hint, endless acceleration until you get dizzy from the world going backwards.. )

And despite it being a diesel, there is plenty of refinement done to make you forget that it’s a diesel, and it still has all the cool tech that the G30 platform is getting renowned for.

BMW 520d
Engine: 1,995cc, 16V, turbocharged inline 4
Power: 190hp / 4,000rpm
Torque: 400Nm / 1,750 – 2,500rpm
Transmission: 8-speed Auto
0-100km/h: 7.5s
Top Speed: 234km/h
Fuel consumption: 4.3L/100km
CO2: 114g/km
Price: S$$261,800
Availability: Now (www.pml-bmw.com.sg)

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Always finding ways to keep his hands full, Krado loves to tinker with his car whenever he has the free time. Usually ends in tears or a multiple fluid facial.

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