Why we’re running: The BMW 5 Series is the go-to executive lounge for those who enjoy driving. But it is also a great family car?
Month 1 Month 2 – Specifications
Life with a BMW 520d: Month 2
Repairs at the time of the reading of the 5-Series speedo – November 15, 2017
Sometimes you do not realize how dependent on something you have done until that has disappeared.
As I mentioned in my first report, I found a Volvo S90 before the 5 of the Series and, in most cases, this experience only serves to highlight how much better the BMW is in key areas. However, one thing that I really miss about the Volvo is its head-up display.
BMW, of course, offer one of these. Costs £225. But this box in the list of options wasn’t checked when our car was ordered – a mistake that I am urging any person in the present day, taking into account a 5-Series to avoid duplication.
Having to look down at the instruments of time does not seem that much of a difficulty.
However, in a car that is as good in the shutdown of wind, road and engine noise as the latest 5 Series is, in reality it is all too easy for your speed to creep up between eyes without you realizing it. And the speed of the camera-infested world in which we now live, which is obviously a concern.
What is worse is the fact that the speedo is not particularly boldly marked in the 5-Series – when it has been driven in a Normal mode, in any case – so to prove how quickly you’re covering the floor in reality requires a bit more of a look.
But at least there is a solution for this: change the mode of Sport, not only makes the instruments, the color red, but also brings a large digital speed readout.
As a bonus, this Sport setting can be made-to-measure, that allows you to have the Sport on the display of the instrument, but the return of the suspension, steering and the engine for your comfort, oriented to the configuration if you want.
Personally, I think that the 5 Series is at its best when everything but the suspension is set in Sport. That way, it feels sharp and responsive, however, it slips through poorly paved roads and still keeps body roll well controlled on the curves.
Unfortunately, there are still a couple of irritations, the most important thing that you have to select the Sport every time you start a new journey. After you have gone to the trouble of setting my preferences, I can’t help thinking that the car should then default to these.
The other issue is that the engine start/stop system does not work when the car is in the Sport, even if you return the engine itself to Normal mode. I’m not sure if this is really costing me a lot in fuel economy, but my plan to the test in the next few weeks.
800km in the @whatcar COTY yesterday. My trumpet and I’m blowing it – we’ve done a bloody good option. pic.twitter.com/dZFvHnElVv
— Rory White (@RoryWhite12) September 29, 2017
At the moment, with stop/start in most of the times, is an average of almost 45mpg, which I’m pretty impressed, given that my daily commute generally involves a lot of congested urban roads.
Meanwhile, the car is going to top 50mpg on long motorway runs without me really make a special effort to drive efficiently.
Well, these figures are no more than you would expect from a modern diesel executive lounge. But they were put in perspective for me recently, when I swapped in a plug-in hybrid SUV for a couple of days and an average of only 24.4 mpg in similar conditions.
Perhaps we should not be so willing to jump out of our diesel engines after all, despite the fears that may be subject to additional charges in the future.
As for the 5 Series, next on the agenda is a family vacation in France.
More on this in my next major update.
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Life with a BMW 520d: 1 Month
To complicate the situation with gestures – October 18, 2017
While the optional Gesture Control allows you to impress the passengers by the rotation of a finger in the air to adjust the stereo volume, it is easier to reach for the button on the steering wheel.
The way in which the system allows you to answer or reject calls with a swipe of your hand is more convincing, although I’m still not sure that is enough to justify the £ 160 cost.
Welcome to the 520d in our fleet – September 27, 2017
The BMW range may have proliferated in the last decade or so, with the brand of movement in every market niche imaginable, but that does not mean that it has taken its eye off the ball when it comes to the traditional models, such as the 5-Series.
Mix supreme ride comfort with a cutting-edge interior, and whenever you choose – exciting and entertaining rear-wheel drive, the dynamism, the latest 5-Series’ many talents make our selection of the current executive car of the crops.
As expected, it was close when we tested it against the Jaguar XF and the Mercedes-Benz E-Class at the beginning of this year, but the 5 Series was the one that won by virtue of being the best all-rounder.
Here’s the thing, though: do all the people who now buy Suvs instead of the great halls of being wrong?
Or when you start a family, as my wife and I just have, do you suddenly see the light and start to want to have a X as well as a 5 in his BMW name?
I’m going to find out for myself in the coming months, but, for now, I’m still amazed by how far BMW has moved to this new 5 Series from the previous version, which, let’s be honest, was not exactly in a poor state.
Well, the new car maybe seems a little too like the smaller 3 Series and larger 7 Series, but to be based on the same Cluster Architecture (CLAR), the platform as the 7 Series is a real benefit, as it incorporates aluminum, magnesium and titanium to reduce the weight up to 100 kg
This is a good news for the performance and fuel efficiency, and in the sense that, basically, get a 7 Series sedan for a lot less money follows the climb to the cabin of the 5 Series. The cell is virtually identical, and the materials are equally as elegant, plus six-footers have enough space in the rear as in the front.
When deciding which engine to go for, we were tempted by the effortless performance of the 530d 3.0-litre diesel unit, but, ultimately, we’ve gone for the 2.0-litre 520d because this is purchased in much greater numbers.
To be more precise, it is easily the most popular version among the company car drivers who make up the bulk of the 5 Series ‘owners’, thanks to the sub-110 g/km of CO2 emissions which bring the corresponding low benefit in kind tax bills.
Where most of the people opt for the sporty-looking M sport trim, however, we have stayed with the cheaper specification because this has a smaller alloy wheels which improve the ride and still comes equipped with everything from satellite navigation and leather upholstery, front and rear parking sensors and an eight-speed automatic gearbox.
BMW also offers a long list of optional extras, of which we selected the Electronic Control damping system (£985), which allows you to soften or the firmness of the suspension to suit the conditions of the road.
The £895, electric front seats with memory for the driver it seemed like another sensible addition, since a lot of different people shows the vehicle during its time with us.
And although it feels a bit cheeky of BMW to charge £335 for rear seats folding, these bring useful extra versatility.
Our car also has several options that BMW was willing for us to try, including the control of gestures (160 pounds) and a Display Key (£235), which allows you to remotely check if the doors are closed and lights are switched off, and even the preparation for the air conditioning to come on time for your return to the car. I will report on whether these features are worth the money after I’ve spent more time.
In the meantime, first impressions of the 5 Series are almost entirely positive, and I’ve been particularly impressed with the engine refinement. In the past, four-cylinders from Bmw have been a bit grumbly at city speeds and when it is cold, but the latest 520d is always super-soft.
In this sense, it is significantly better than my previous long-term test car, a Volvo S90. Although both cars are comfortable cruisers, the S90 feels like the heavy weight is on winding roads, while the Series 5 costume its thick glossy when you put it in Sport mode.
Perhaps the biggest difference, however, is in their respective systems of information and entertainment. The S90 has a large touch-screen display that appears smart and allows you to swipe, pinch and scroll as you would with an iPad.
Unfortunately, although this sounds good in theory, the system is very slow to respond and can cause you to take your eyes off the road.
On the contrary, the latest iteration of BMW iDrive is almost impossible to fault. As in the S90, the screen is touch sensitive, so you can quickly punch a destination into the sat-nav when stationary, but there is also a rotating disk and some shortcut buttons that are much less annoying to use on the move, plus the menus are more intuitive and there are none of the Volvo slowly.
As for the colic, there really is very little to report for the moment. Fingers crossed, that I’m not going to change – but if you do, you are going to read here first.
We can talk about how brilliant iDrive is? This 5 Series was the first BMW to receive the latest version, which allows you to set custom icons for the home screen to your favorite features, and that has already made a good system great.
For its ease of use, let the Audi MMI and Mercedes-Benz Comand set-ups leagues behind.
BMW 520d SE specification
Specifications: New Price £36,815; Price of the test from £42,815; Options of 18 inch multi-spoke alloy wheels (£995), Electronic damper Control (£985), electric front seats with memory for driver (£895), the Glacier of the Silver paint (£675), enhanced Bluetooth with wireless charging (£475), front sports seats (£475), reversing camera (£375), folding, anti-dazzle mirrors (£335), folding rear seat (£335), Anthracite headlining (£265), Apple CarPlay (£235), Display Key (£235), adjustable lumbar support (£225), gesture control (£165), online entertainment (160 pounds), High beam Assistant£95), run-flat tyres (£0), wifi hotspot (£0)
Test data: Engine 1995cc, turbocharged diesel; Power 185bhp at 4000rpm; Torque 295lb ft at 1750-2500 rpm; top speed 146mph; 0-62 mph 7.5 sec; Claimed fuel economy 68.9 mpg; the Test of the fuel economy of 68.8 mpg; CO2 108g/km; Faults None Expenses None
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