March 29, 2016 @ 04:13 PM

Review : BMW 520d Sport - How important is the M Sport badge to a regular BMW?

Base 5 Series gets an engine upgrade, also comes with a new specification. Buy or hold?

To be completely honest, the new engine in the BMW 520d Sport – notice the Sport doesn’t offer a spike in improvement over the previous model. But since you have no choice but to accept this new one as it is, then you are no means on the losing end. Here’s the difference: this diesel-powered Bimmer is 6bhp and 20Nm up from 184bhp and 380Nm of torque. Do the match and there’s 190bhp and 400Nm ready to be tapped. Paired with the faithful eight-speeder, this sedan can do naught to 100kph in 7.7 seconds with a top speed of 233kph. Naturally, being a diesel engine, you can expect good fuel economy from the 520d. In fact, BMW says that this car consumes only 4.1l/100km, a 9% improvement over the previous car.

The figures do justice to the car’s performance and you’ll know it the moment you stomp the pedal to the floor. A slight hesitation right up to 1750rpm, just so to give the turbos some spooling time, is all the car needs for a quick burst of speed. You’ll feel the power but only momentarily before the 520d settles down to speed rather quickly. 7.7 seconds feel just about right unless you have Sport mode engaged, then you’ll arrive at the same spot in marginally less time.

At speed, the 520d moves with a stately poise and feels stable through the journey. Tweaked chassis offers better body control and a more comfortable ride. However, with Dynamic Damping Control, you can throw out what the engineers have so hard worked on for something you think will suit you better. In any case, the springs and dampers are quick to adapt to any roads inconsistencies, apart from really craggy ones, to give the best grip possible. So you can, if you like, chuck this 5 Series into a corner and come out with a smile on your face.

Although driving fill with the racing spirit is fun, this 520d shines when driven with feathered feet. Go gentle on the pedal and you’ll have a hard time spotting a drop in the fuel gauge. Which is good considering the overall health of the country’s economy; every cent counts.

Speaking about money, you’d be pleased to know that the BMW 520d Sport is offered at a price of RM354,800. And here’s where the Sport bit comes in. This BMW 520d will come with an M Aerodynamic exterior kit complete with 18-inch double-spoke light alloy wheels. It is good to see that what is essentially the cheapest car in the 5-er range does not look basic.

Inside, it is only the leather steering that gets the M treatment. The three-spoke steering looks sporty enough, even if it lacks paddle shifters, and it becomes a magnet whenever skin touches it. I wish that they have just left it at that. Instead, someone inside BMW decided it was a good idea to switch out the analog meter cluster for a fully digital one. That’s right, the meter cluster has fully gone digital; I’ll organise a rally to bring the old one back. Maybe. No matter, the digital meter now changes its display and colour to correspond with the driving mode you’ve selected. So, you get your speed displayed in digits on the left and a rev meter on the right when you’re in sport. Hit up Eco Pro and you’ll get a ‘traditional’ speed readout while the right screen displays just how fuel-saving you’re driving is in real time. Alright, so it can be useful at times but on the whole, give back the analog meter cluster, please.

BMW is keeping the 520d Sport exclusive so much so that they are only selling 50 of such cars. It is a bargain really, seeing that it is being offered at the same price as a standard 520d. And taking into account the upgrades, and the possibility of a price increase next year, now really is the best time to get this car.

SPEC: BMW 520d Sport

RM534,800 without insurance

1995cc, inline-4, BMW TwinPower Turbo, 190bhp @ 4000rpm, 400Nm @ 1750-2500rpm

8-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive

0-100kph in 7.7s, top speed 233kph, 4.1l/100km


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