Road Test

2014 BMW 520d First Drive

By   |   21 May,2014

While the powerful 530d makes enthusiasts smile there is no doubt that the 520d makes for the larger chunk of the total BMW sales and not just in India but all over the world. When BMW launched the new 5 Series last year it had three diesel variants with the 520d being the entry-level model and the one which appeals to many so we thought we should check out how does the 520d drive. Read on.

Before we get going we must tell you about the tweaks that BMW have given to the 5 series. For starters there are three trim levels now- Luxury Line, the Modern Line and the M Sport. The 520d is available with Modern Line trim only. Here you get matt chrome finishes with a BMW kidney grille in matt Chrome, BMW Individual Exterior Line Aluminium Satinatec and tailpipe trim in matt Chrome, entry sills illuminated and car key with Pearl gloss Chrome.

Along with the 530d we tested earlier the new 5 series gets the subtle styling changes like new LED headlights, tweaked bumpers, more prominent shark nose and kidney grille plus new tail-lamps.

Inside the 5 Series is now looking more luxurious than the previous versions and continues with the high-standards of fit and finish that BMWs are known for. The 520d Modern Line you see here has beige colour scheme which makes the cabin feel even more spacious and makes it more premium. While I don't like the beige steering, its target buyers will love the ambience that the 520d interior has. The equipment levels are generous with features like iDrive, Harman Kardon Surround Sound System, rear view camera, Connectivity through Bluetooth and USB devices which are standard along with an electrical glass roof.

The differences with the other trim levels include the fact that it has a smaller iDrive screen plus it does not have features like iDrive with touch controller, DVD drive and integrated hard drive for maps and audio files, BMW Apps and Navigation.

Space is actually better than some of its rivals and the comfort levels are teriffic too. The rear seats are perfect for those who are chauffeur driven which is important.

Time to drive. The 520d as you know gets the famililiar 2.0 diesel with 180 bhp on offer and a strong 380 Nm of torque. Plus there is also the fantastic 8-speed autobox which as we say everytime, defines the experience of driving this car. This gearbox is brilliant and squeezes all of the 180 horses which means you do not feel a massive lack of power compared to the 530d. True it lacks the manic power delivery but we guess most would not care. There are three modes ECO PRO, Comfort and Sport but while Comfort or ECO PRO would be good for traffic, Sport is what you need to enjoy the car.

The instrument cluster turns red and the 520d is just fun. Steering is superb and the handling is good but the refinement could have been better. Another impressive facet is its efficiency and we got about 11 kmpl which is very good. The new 5 series rides much better than the earlier one but the really bad roads do catch it off-guard.

Should you pay Rs 49 lakhs for the 520d? Yes because the new 520d is better in a lot of aspects over the previous version while retaining its core values. It looks better, interiors are more plush yet still is fun to drive. Enthusiasts like me would go for the 530d but there is no denying the fact that the 520d represents the best value in the 5 Series range.

Photography- Somnath