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    2017 BMW 530d First Drive Review


    Authors Image

    Omkar Thakur

    43,714 Views
    BMW 5 Series Driving

    What is it?

    Why would I buy it?

    The 3.0-litre 262bhp/620Nm engine, extra features

    Why would I avoid it?

    It is too large for everyday commute. You might end up being largely chauffeur-driven

    Today I am feeling important. Like a CEO or an entrepreneur out on his fun weekend. I might even receive a call from a quietly competent assistant who will brief me about the week ahead. But right now, all I want to do is attack the next corner. You guessed it right. I am driving a fast saloon, the new generation BMW 5 Series and the 530d at that. Of course, I am grinning from ear to ear as I punch this barge through everything to find out if it is really the executive luxury sedan you would want to buy. 

    Look at it. It's unmistakably BMW because it has the same face that we see on each one of them. But then BMW has ensured that their top-spec 5er stands out as well. Adaptive LED headlamps are easily recognizable and so is the sporty bumper. Mesh grille on the air dam on the front bumper is larger and the extended lower lip ensures better aero. The rear bumper is also sculpted to add a touch of sportiness which is complemented by the twin exhaust pipes as a part of the entire M-Sport kit.

    This G30 5 Series is longer not only in length but also in wheelbase. What comes as a surprise is that despite being almost as long as the previous-gen 7 Series, in some angles it looks almost as snug as the 3. And then there are these beautiful five twin-spoke 18-inch alloys.

    How is it on the inside?

    Spacious and luxurious. With the longer wheelbase, BMW has carved out more cabin space. Front seats of the 5 Series have always been comfortable with electric memory seats that offer good cushioning. With adjustable under-thigh support and lumbar support and electrically adjustable steering wheel you get into the comfort zone real quick. The adjustable side bolsters make sure you have the lateral support tailored for you. 

    While many would want to say that the space in the back doesn't match the new Mercedes E, but, you have to understand that Mercedes sells the long wheelbase car. BMW could have also done that but then, it would have compromised on BMW’s own DNA, handling. Seating in the back is comfortable for two because the third will have to work around the large transmission tunnel. Rear seats offer decent thigh support and the firm cushions make sure you will not tire out over long hauls. The boot is large but the space gets eaten into by the spare wheel and its large cover. But, the spare wheel cover is certainly neat unlike the tethered spare wheel in the Mercedes.

    The cabin is dressed in fine leather, premium appliques and white upholstery which goes really well with the BMW blue. As usual, the fit and finish is top-notch and so is the quality of the soft-touch plastics, especially the fish-scale finish on the dash. For BMW, the 530d is not only about performance but also about being the flagship 5 Series in India right now. So, it gets all the bells and whistles as a part of the standard equipment list. For example, the large touchscreen display in the front is complemented by two individual display screens for the rear passengers. You have four-zone climate control with central and pillar vents for the rear passengers. 

    In terms of equipment, the TFT screen for the instrument cluster is highlighted by two chrome rings which outline the digital dials when the display comes on. The display goes red when you put the car into sport- mode, aqua when in economy. Also, above the 520d, you have the heads-up display which beams the speedo as well as any other vital information that the car might want you to see right away. BMW’s iDrive manages the entire car through that knob between the front seats, controlling everything from DRLs, interior ambient lighting and its colours to steering feedback, suspension setup and engine and gearbox maps.

    How is it to drive?

    Very few machines seem to have gotten it right on all fronts and the BMW 530d has to be one of them. That is because of this 3.0-litre six-pot diesel motor underneath that long hood. With two turbochargers feeding it, the engine hammers 262bhp of power and a massive 620Nm of torque which starts kicking in right from 2000rpm.

    When you step on it, even the 275mm tyre tread on the 18-inch rims finds it difficult to deal with the barrage of torque as the rear wheels spin up leaving black trails behind. You have to be deft with the steering if you plan to keep the throttle mashed, because with the wheel-spin, you will get some sideways action. Being a typical BMW, the Dynamic Stability control will let the car scare you a bit before it comes into play. But, if you are someone who enjoys this, you are in for a treat. Because, the steering is direct and intuitive. It does tighten up when you opt for the Sport Mode and personally, I would have loved a bit more weight, but that is me being wishful. Further, the steering provides muffled but precise feedback and you can feel the weight of the 530d coming into play, especially if you are braking to enter a corner.

    Sheer potential of the 530d to go fast is huge thanks to the chassis, the suspension and the brakes that are immensely capable. The adaptive suspension works extremely well giving the 530d a pretty plush ride. There is always that underlying stiffness and yet the rides at both the low and high speed is pliant. Switch to Sport mode and the suspension stiffens, but doesn’t get jarring at all. In Sport mode, the car stays absolutely flat and you can feel it go taut when you move from Comfort, where the 530d feels a little bouncy in comparison. Also, Sport Mode alters the engine maps and the eight-speed ZF gearbox revs right till the rev-needle goes red to lay down all the power it can deliver. The 530d holds it at the 5400rpm red-line when you are in manual mode instead of shifting at 4300rpm when you let the car take care of it. Furthermore, you can individually tune the engine, gearbox, steering and suspension in the Sport as well as Eco-Pro modes to suit your tastes. 

    All in all, the BMW 530d is rock solid at all speeds and with this kind of ride and handling, three digit speeds feel like two. You have to consciously keep yourself from speeding but if you do, the larger brakes with the shiny blue calipers will make sure you stop in time, always, despite the 530d’s heft. The feedback is so precise that you know exactly what each of the wheels is doing.

    Why should I buy it?

    Like all modern BMWs, the 530d feels plush, rich and has that element of sportiness that car enthusiasts like us adore. It is spacious and the interior quality is top-notch. And so is the equipment list. We can go on about the abilities of this engine and the chassis and the suspension setup and just keep going on. It scores high on the fun-to-drive scale while not compromising on the new definitions of space and comfort.

    The only downside that we can think of is that the new 5 Series is seriously big. So toll booths, traffic or tight parking spaces is where you will have to be very careful. It does look nice, especially the sculpted sporty front bumper, but it scrapes on those towering speed humps or on steep ramps. But then BMW has taken care of that as well. This is where the 360-degree camera function is god sent, telling you exactly what is happening anywhere around the car. And then the smart-key fob with its remote parking feature is just the icing on the cake.

    Where does is fit in?

    At just about Rs 70 lakhs on road, the BMW 530d continues its age-old feud against the Mercedes E350d. The E350 is longer, has more space, but it certainly isn’t as good for spirited driving. While the Audi A6, the Jaguar XF and the Volvo S90 are in the same segment, neither of them have a performance variant like this on the shelf right now. The A6 with the 3.0-litre Quattro or the XF S with the 3.0-litre diesel would have been perfect competition.

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