Skip to content
BMW models, news & reviews
By Ben Pulman
27 January 2009 11:38
If you didn’t know it already, this is the most popular 5-series – and pretty good it is too. Our car wasn’t optioned-up, so it was strange to sit on cloth seats, but a pleasure to hold the lovely thin wheel.
With less weight over the front wheels, the 520d is slightly lighter on its feet than the 530d, but both cars share the nicely weighted steering that inspires confidence when you want to leave behind your businessman persona and blast down a back road.
It’s just about quick enough, too. A mere 175bhp and 258lb ft might not sound like much, but it’s enough providing you think ahead and are prepared to use the gearbox. Unfortunately, the four-pot lacks the six-cylinder engine’s howl, but it makes up for it by returning 55.4mpg and emitting only 136g/km. It’s yours for a rather tempting £27,430.
BMWs have never been the biggest cars in their respective classes and the 5-series is no different. But it’s still spacious enough for a big family of four, or there’s always the Touring. Or there’s always the forthcoming PAS quasi MPV we’ll see later this year if you’re feeling brave.
The cabin itself features iDrive, which works okay, but still isn’t wholly intuitive and is nowhere near as good as the latest system in the new 7-series and the facelifted 3-series. For those that can’t stand iDrive, don’t worry; you can still adjust the radio and air-con without delving into its inner brain.
The dashboard is also starting to look a little dated, and with most of the major functions controlled by iDrive, the clean and uncluttered modern look actually appears bare. The Audi A6 is nicer inside, and the new E-class is smarter too.
The previous generation 5-series was the best car in the executive class for its entire lifecycle. The current Five has never enjoyed such domination, and has faced tough opposition from Jaguar’s charming XF. Yet as a car to drive and own it’s still number one, despite being blunted by time and ubiquity.
>> Will the new BMW 5-series be the class best? Would you still have a current 5-series over and above the new Audi A6 and Mercedes E-class? Click 'Add your comment' below and have your say
Add your comment
Sign in You must be signed in to submit a comment.
BMW 530d/520d (2009) CAR review
By submitting your comment, you agree to adhere to the CAR Magazine website
Terms and Conditions
You must be logged in to subscribe to a topic
Login or register now
RE: BMW 530d/520d (2009) CAR review
The Five is without doubt a great car but it's not as good as the XF, although at the moment the huge discounts BMW dealers are giving with slightly used models outweighs all the superior driving characteristics of the new XF, thats why I've just bagged a 525i M Sport Auto, 10 months old, 3,300miles, believe it or not it has lost £2,200 per month "GULP" However own either car and drive it in isolation and you will be a happy man.
03 February 2009 11:50
The E65 was the most popular 7 ever even though it was by far the ugliest car on the road at its launch, god knows why people liked it but they do, the e90 isn't as good looking as the e46 but it's one of the ten best selling cars in Europe. The 5 series is the yard stick for midsized executive cars and one of the biggest selling so if Bangle is a failure I really wonder how well BMW would have done if he was a success. I'm also sure that the 5 has been a success especially with people like my granddad who has bought a new 5 evey 4-5 years since he replaced his XJ6 in 74 with an e12.
02 February 2009 08:16
Kiwi - just to repeat for a third time I'm in complete agreement we buy BMW's for their engineering/quality so base camp established. The issue is has Bangle added value to the sheet metal and interiors of BMW since he came or has he as many opinion mangled the once smooth and handsome late great 5-Series legend? Have long time fans of this svelte tank (mid-Exec icon) been kicked in the nuts? Have sales suffered when customers see the double-chinned boot and wince like the dentists drill has hit their nerve ending? These are questions never raised before Mr Mangle arrived
02 February 2009 01:59
JohnnyBimmer BMW's have never been beautiful cars like say Jaguar or Alfa, Germans don't do beautiful cars, they do handsome cars but not beautiful. A BMW is a piece of engineering, that's why people buy them. I love the looks of the 5 series, if I had the money there would be a 520d Touring in my garage instead of my 318d touring. The e90 isn't a good looking car, especially the sedan, but people don't buy them for the looks they buy them because they are German, premium, well engineered, percieved performance and because they are a BMW.
01 February 2009 20:27
Brando - you think the 5 is great and I think its crap. Never the twain shall meet. What is debateable is how the market sees it and I can tell you from my experience the launch fell flat on its face, the sales dried up for approx a year and BMW hand cuffed their entire sales force to wince through a sit-in on how Bangle was a misunderstood genius. To date I've yet to meet anybody that admires the 5 series sheet metal (except my girlfriend). You allude to sales but as I've proposed thats entirely due to the 5 being sold as a very well enginered 'appliance'. You buy a 5 in the same way as a Toyota, for its inherent engineering integrity, not like an Alfa Romeo for its beauty. If BMW were to boot Bangle and return to their uber svelte European design roots the 5 would fly out (again). Bangle is a bottleneck to those extra sales won by cohesive designers. Audis success despite its poorer driving feel I suggest is precisely because their designs are sound and have picked up many ex-BMW customers wincing in pain from BMW showrooms
01 February 2009 17:58
Upload stories, photos or videos direct to the site, or email email@example.com.
Alternatively, call 01733 468 485 (+ 44 1733 468 485)
Seen a secret new car, fabulous exotic or have news we should publish? Then get in touch now.
Advertise with us |
Site map |
About Us |
Contact Us |
© Copyright 2013 Bauer Media Limited - All rights reserved.
Magazine Subscriptions | Motoring Magazine Subscriptions | Car Magazine Subscriptions | FHM | Zoo | Empire | MCN | Parker's | Today's Golfer