BMW India introduced the 5 Series LCI (Life Cycle Impulse a.k.a model update) late last year, and what we have driven today is the top-end 530d M Sport. On the new range of 5-er’s, only diesel powertrains are on offer, namely the 520d, 525d and the 530d. In a bid to offer 530d customers a bit more than just the larger engine, BMW have given the car a ‘M’ Sport kit as part of its standard package.
On the outside, the refreshed 520d and 525d can be identified thanks to chrome enclosed foglights. The 530d however, gets a M Sport body kit which sees the inclusions of this sporty bumper with bulged enclosures for the foglights, 'M' badges on the side fenders, 18-inch 'M' alloy wheels with fatter rubber for the rear tires and side skirts.
Compared to facelift operations carried out by Mercedes-Benz and Jaguar for their respective products in this segment, BMW have chosen to tweak very few parts of the 5-er and its nearly impossible to tell apart a facelifted 5 Series from the pre-facelift model. This works in the favor of the car though as the 5 Series is still a fresh and attractive looking machine.
Changes on the inside are even more subtle compared to the outside. In terms of function, the iDrive dial has a touchscreen-like interface which allows you to draw patterns in the shape of alphabets or numerals, which in turns helps in searching your contacts or entering a new destination for the navigation. That apart, the 530d gets a 'M' Sport 3-spoke steering wheel, 'M' sill badges and rear entertainment screens. The cabin of the 5 Series continues to retain its positive trait of being well organized.
This top-end 5-er is equipped with adaptive LED headlights, sports seats for the driver and passenger, head-up display, Harman Kardon Surround system with 6-DVD changer, a 25.9 cm central iDrive screen with navigation and an integrated hard drive, two 23.3 cm rear displays, 18-inch M alloy wheels with 275/40 spec tires for the rear and the usual array of safety features coming in the form of airbags, ABS, CBC (Cornering Brake Control), DSC (Dyanamic Stability Control) and DTC (Dynamic Traction Control).
Engine and Gearbox:
The BMW six-cylinder 3.0-liter diesel engine is one of the best diesel engines ever put into production by a mainstream carmaker. The same engine, albeit in a higher state of tune, also powers the 6 Series Coupe and Gran Coupe and absolutely delights the driver.
On the 530d, this engine produces 258 hp at 4,000 rpm and 540 Nm of torque between 1,500-3,000 rpm and comes with an 8-speed automatic Sport transmission. BMW claims the 530d will do 0-100 km/h in 5.8 seconds and a restricted top-speed of 250 km/h. The 530d's party trick however, is living up to these claims in an almost petrol sports-sedan like manner. At full throttle, the engine note sounds unlike any diesel and can be mistaken for a petrol motor actually.
Not only does this engine excel in performance, but its refinement levels are also one of the best in its segment. And speaking of refinement, the 8-speed automatic gearbox is seamless in between shifts and almost always gets its gears right.
Ride and Handling:
A BMW 5 Series with sports seats and 18-inch alloy wheels on thin-profile tires isn't exactly the recipe for ride quality right? Wrong. In fact, the ride in this car, despite the factors going against it, is very good. Leave the 5 Series in the Eco Pro mode and the sedan tackles most of Mumbai's bad roads surprisingly well. While the Sport and Sport+ modes firm up the suspension of the car, the ride quality is bearable.
Handling wise, the 5 Series is easily the most dynamic sedan in its class. Behind the driver's seat, you've a feeling that the steering, suspension, brakes and even the seating position were optimized for driver involvement.
BMW says the 530d is capable of doing 14.69 km/l. The claim does not seem far-fetched as we achieved 9.1 km/l in our tests where driving conditions were not ideal.
While the base 520d is priced at INR 46.9 lakhs, this top-end 530d M Sport comes in at INR 57.9 lakhs. In between, the 525d is available for INR 51.9 lakhs.
[Note: All prices are mentioned ex-Showroom, India]
The new 5 Series range has been well thought out by BMW India. On the lower end of the scale, variants like the 520d cater to back-seat loving businessmen who are more interested in stretching out a newspaper than a 2.0-liter diesel engine. The 530d, despite being a diesel, is an enthusiast's car and is better enjoyed from the driver's seat than the rear seat.
The kit and engine on offer in the 530d more than justify the extra INR 11 lakhs compared to the base 520d. If you’re a driving enthusiast, you would love the six-cylinder engine of this Beemer, not to mention the fuel economy you achieve even when you decide to go hard on the throttle.