It has almost become a norm to launch a vehicle in both petrol and diesel variants. At least when it comes to the Indian automobile market, one cannot think of launching a high priced car without enough fuel economy to please the customers. Not just India, most of the global developing nations face the concern of fuel. And it has gone beyond mere fuel economy, it is now a matter of accessibility too. One cannot find enough fuel around the world hence the additional avenues such as electric and hybrid car technologies are at an all time high. So when a big manufacturer like BMW enters Indian market, they take note of it too. The BMW 5 Series is one such class that is offered in both petrol and diesel variants in India. The vehicle is impressive due to the unending list of offerings that have been offered in terms of exterior specifications, interior features, a range of engine performances and most importantly different fuel options. However India has only diesel variants at the moment. So this can be seen as an expansion strategy by BMW where it is specifically targeting fuel economy vehicles.
DESIGN AND STYLE ;
To begin with the front facade, it has the signature kidney bean shaped radiator grille that is treated with a lot of chrome. There is a large slanting bonnet, which has a couple of character lines and it is embossed with a prominent insignia on the tip. This grille is flanked by a trendy headlight cluster that is incorporated with adaptive LED headlamps with auto high beam assistance. It sports an LED day time running lights. Below this grille, it has a body colored bumper that houses a wide air intake section for cooling the engine. It is further flanked by a couple of bright LED fog lamps that has chrome surround. The windscreen is quite large and equipped with a pair of rain sensing intermittent wipers. Body colored outside rear view mirrors with anti-dazzle and heating function can be seen to its sides. It has body colored door handles, while the door sills are garnished in chrome. The neatly carved wheel arches with an elegant set of 18 inch light alloy wheels give further style. These rims are covered with high performance tubeless radial tyres for superior grip on any road conditions. The car maker has patterned its rear end attractively with some notable elements. These include a radiant tail light cluster and there is an expressive boot lid that has the company’s badge neatly engraved on it. Its body colored bumper is embossed with a couple of reflectors. It has a large windscreen that has a defogger along with wash and wipe function
INTERIOR AND CANIN
On the inside, the 2017 BMW 5 Series has some design elements from the 7 Series. In fact a lot of features have trickled into this sedan. This is a good combination of sportiness and luxuriousness. There is Active Cruise Control, Steering and lane keeping assistant, iDrive controller with 10.25 inch screen, BMW Heads Up Display, Adaptive LED Headlamps, Gesture Control and wireless charging. The Heads Up display is now 70% larger and there are large screens for the rear passengers as well.
The cabin looks plush and premium. It does feel a lot like the new 7 from the inside. The company claims to have improved the knee room for rear passengers. Then there is the massage function and the seat can be operated with gestures. There is even a Special Synergy Thermoacoustzic Capsule that reduces the outside. This enhances the cabin insulation. One can park the car by using the car key system called as Remote Parking. There is Apple CarPlay and even WiFi hotspot for up to 10 people. The Remote 3D View allows drivers to see the 360 view of their parked cars. Microsoft 365 users can sync their emails, calendar entries and contacts and edit them in the car itself.
ENGINE AND PERFORMANCE
The BMW 520d uses a 2.0-litre, 4-cylinder engine which belts out 184 BHP of peak power at 4000 RPM and 380 Nm of peak torque between 1750 – 2750 RPM. While this might not sound much for a car of this size, performance is ample. The 5-Series performs brilliantly, the engine revs cleanly to the redline and power delivery although linear, is smoothly transferred to the rear wheels via a fantastic 8-speed ZF gearbox. The transmission is the high point of the package, it shifts cogs with butter smooth precision and is very quick too. In Sport mode, the autobox holds the gears till the redline and you have the option of upshifting using the steering mounted paddles or the fantastic to hold gearshift selector.
Other modes include Comfort and Eco Pro, the former not letting you know about gear shifts while the latter doing its very best to save fuel by keeping the revs as low as possible. There is also an ECO start/stop function. The only downside of this 1995cc mill is the refinement, it’s too audible inside the cabin and the clatter is quite evident at idle. Even when you floor the pedal and whizz past 3000 RPM, you can hear the growl from the motor. 100 km/hr comes up in fourth gear, signifying the shorter gearing. You can comfortably cruise in top gear at 100 km/hr with the RPM needle ticking in at just 1500 RPM. Our VBOX run showed that the 520d is a reasonably quick car, doing the 0-100 km/hr sprint in a 8.60 seconds. Fuel economy is good with city mileage being upwards of 10 km/l.
RIDE AND HANDLING ;
This being a German luxury sedan, it rides low on the road and that too after BMW has raised the ground clearance for the Indian market. The low ground clearance means that you have to slow down significantly for speed breakers.The ride is a little hard even in the comfort or ECO PRO mode and tends to give you feedback even for the smallest imperfections on the road. This is down to the large 18-inch wheels and massive run-flat tyres which are tuned for fast driving but in turn make your ride much harder. However, the ride, despite being hard in the 530d, is much softer when compared to the previous generation car. At high speeds the 530d is very stable. The electric power steering from BMW is the best I have ever used and it weighs up quite well at high speeds. However, it still does feel heavy even at lower speeds. The massive brakes are well suited to this car of this size and have ferocious stopping power.
SAFETY AND SECURITY ;
It has an active protection, which includes attentiveness assist, which enhances the safety in case of critical situation. Dual front airbags along with head and side airbags are an effective protection in the event of any collision. The cabin has an advanced electronic immobilizer along with crash sensors, which safeguards it from any unauthorized entry. Its rigid body structure has side and front impact protection beams, which enhances safety of the occupants sitting inside. It has runflat tyres with reinforced side walls along with runflat indicator that warns the driver with a light when there is a slight drop in tyre pressure. It is also equipped with anti lock braking along with emergency brake assist function. It also has cornering brake control, which enhances the stability in sharp curves. For enhancing the suspension mechanism, it is decked with a dynamic stability control, which constantly monitors the driving status, modifies directional stability and traction by brake management system. Apart from these, this sedan is bestowed with emergency spare wheel, passive pedestrian protection, electric parking brake with auto hold function, company’s condition based service (intelligent maintenance system) and much more.
The new BMW 5 Series looks elegant and has new features, which its predecessor missed. It drives well and also offers the comfort and luxury you would expect from a chauffeur-driven car. Still if the latter is your primary need, the 5 doesn’t come anywhere close to the Mercedes-Benz E-Class. After all, the E-Class is the only long wheelbase model in this segment. Nonetheless, at Rs 53.6 lakhs (ex-showroom Delhi), the new 5 Series still has sufficient kit to compete against the Audi A6, the Jaguar XF and the Volvo S90 in our country.