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BMW 520d

Driven August 2011

BMW 520d


If you’re shopping for a rear-wheel-drive German mid-size luxury sedan, then budget will not exactly be your top priority. Especially when the car in question is a 5 series, which has an on-road price of close to Rs 44 lakh. But as is clear by now, India is a price-sensitive market, and here, even a customer spending half a crore on a car wants maximum thrills at minimum cost.

Which brings us to the 520d, now the cheapest 5 series on the market, with the goodness of diesel. This sedan is visually no different from your other 5 series variants, and the only way you can tell it’s a 2.0-litre diesel is by the 520d badge on the rear. Slip into the driver’s seat and it is pure BMW. The cockpit holds you snug and all the switches are within easy reach. The materials are top-notch and the mix of wood, leather and brushed aluminum is tastefully done.

Start the 2.0-litre diesel motor and there’s a little engine noise seeping into the cabin. Otherwise, you can hardly tell it’s a diesel. Driving in the city and on the highway, its 184bhp seems adequate for quick overtaking as well as 160-180kph cruising. Slot the shifter into Sport, and throttle response gets sharper and the tranny only upshifts at the redline. The 8-speed automatic transmission can be left in auto or shifted to manual.

The ride and steering will come as a shock to BMW purists. The steering feels a lot lighter compared to the 3 series and will not disappoint those who find the traditional BMW steering hard. The electronic power steering feels just right – its driver engagement neither too disconnected nor too communicative. The car rides a lot better at lower speeds but as it picks up speed the ride gets harder.

Even after much hard driving, including bumper-to-bumper traffic, the 5 returned 10.8kpl. The new 520d is a luxury car that also plays the budget card – it is the only 5 series variant with a four-cylinder engine, and it’s the cheapest 5 series as well. That’s if Rs 44 lakh (on-road Mumbai) is cheap in your dictionary.

Abhinav Mishra

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