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BMW 525d

12th May 2010 7:00 am

BMW 525 D Test Drive

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  • Make : BMW
  • Model : 5 Series

It’s different this new 5-series and that’s good and bad. Its good because the car now has a broader appeal and its bad because its lost the one thing we loved about BMW’s – the complete focus on the driver. You would be forgiven for thinking that BMW is playing it safe.

Underneath the skin the 5-series is more complex than ever. This car comes with a new eight-speed automatic gearbox and the engine is heavily upgraded. This new-generation 5-series is built on the same basic platform that sits beneath the 7-series, 5-series GT and forthcoming 6-series. As a result, the ‘5’ has grown; at 2968mm it is the now the longest in class.

But, for die-hard BMW fans the most controversial change over its predecessor is the arrival of electrically assisted power steering. BMW believes EPAS technology has now reached a point where it offers sufficient feedback that the efficiency savings cannot be overlooked. And this car has BMW’s Efficient Dynamics programme features regenerative braking.

How is it to drive? The 3.0-litre diesel’s power of 204bhp and 45.8kgm of torque is impressive. The result is a 0-100kph time of 7.7sec, which is quick. Once away from the line, the turbo-diesel pulls strongly through each gear. Left to its own devices with a strong throttle input, the eight-speed auto will allow the engine to rev out to 4700rpm before slipping through another shift that drops the engine right back into the meat of its ample powerband.

Refinement is up from the old car too. BMW’s straight-six cylinder engine spins freely and quietly. The hushed cabin tones are not just down to fine soundproofing, they’re engineered at source.

An engine with such a broad spread of power doesn’t necessarily need an eight-speed automatic like the 525d’s, but when it shifts as slickly and intelligently as this one, it might as well have it. The advantage comes not so much from the fact that having so many ratios leaves the BMW in the right gear to provide performance, it’s that the higher gears mean the engine can be left spinning ever so gently to improve economy – as our 10.0kpl in the city figure will will testify.

The big disappointment is the steering which simply doesn’t feel like a BMW unit anymore. It’s got a dead zone around the straight ahead position and simply misses out of the feel that the old ’5’s steering had. BMW has also gone softer on the springs, which results in a ride that’s a lot more absorbent, but leads to excessive body movement over uneven roads.

Cabin quality as always is great, and now resembles the 7-series cabin, but we wished BMW had been a bit more adventurous with the design.

At the end of the day, the new 5-series is, in general, an excellent car to drive; it is quiet, it is comfortable, it soothes miles away with the same crushing ease. It will appeal to a lot more people now that it’s got a wider got a wider range of talents. At Rs. 47.61 lakh (on-road, Mumbai), it’s not all that more expensive either.

PRICE Petrol Petrol AT Diesel Diesel AT Electric
Price Range Ex-showroom - Delhi Rs 47.61 lakh - - - -
ENGINE Petrol Petrol AT Diesel Diesel AT Electric
Fuel Type / Propulsion diesel - - - -
Torque to Weight Ratio (Nm/tonne) 45.8 kgm @ 1750-2500 rpm - - - -
Power 204 bhp - - - -
TRANSMISSION Petrol Petrol AT Diesel Diesel AT Electric
No of Gears 8-speed automatic - - - -
EFFICIENCY Petrol Petrol AT Diesel Diesel AT Electric
City (kpl) 10kpl - - - -
STEERING Petrol Petrol AT Diesel Diesel AT Electric
Type of power assist Electric Power Steering (EPS) with Servotroni, optional: Integral Active Steering - - - -
BRAKES Petrol Petrol AT Diesel Diesel AT Electric
Front Single-piston aluminium swing-calliper disc brakes in frame structure - - - -
Rear Single-piston swing-calliper disc brakes - - - -
Dimensions Petrol Petrol AT Diesel Diesel AT Electric
Length (mm) 4899mm - - - -
Width (mm) 1860mm - - - -
Height (mm) 1464mm - - - -
Ground Clearance (mm) 141mm - - - -
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