BMW PUSHES UP THE TEMPO.
NEWTON's third law of motion states that every action has an equal and opposite reaction.
Well, Newton could well have been talking about the big German war on our soil. When Mercedes launched the heavily revised version of the E- class a few months ago you could have laid a wager that arch rival BMW would follow suit. So, in comes the updated 5- series this month.
Unlike the E- class, which has visible changes, the updates here are subtle. The car gets newer chrome surrounds for the grille, modified front bumper with restyled air intake and headlight units, which now get Xenon as standard across the range. At the back the lights now get LED strips in them. BMW is also offering the M- kit as standard on the top- end 530d version, which we've driven here.
T HE M- kit also means that the 530d gets sports seats at the front, which offer better bolstering. There's plenty of space for occupants inside the cabin, but the high- set transmission tunnel running through the centre of the car means that seating a third passenger in the rear seat will be a big squeeze. So in effect, this is only a four- seater.
You can access a host of features through the iDrive knob. Once you're familiar with the system, it's pretty intuitive to operate, even while on the move. Also, the BMW's heads- up display at the bottom of the front screen means you don't have to take your eyes off the road to check for speed.
The 530d is the only 5 series in the line- up to get a six- cylinder diesel. With 258bhp of power and 540Nm of torque it's the most powerful in the range too. The engine is one of the smoothest and quietest diesel motors around.
Power delivery is effortless and the eight- speed auto gearbox compliments it brillianty. Out on the highway doing around 120kmph the engine spins at a lazy 1,400- 1,500 rpm sounding like a distant hum, ensuring a very peaceful cabin. With BMW's Eco Pro mode this engine promises to be fuel efficient as well. Slot it in Sport mode and there is plenty of fun to be had from this rear wheel drive car. The suspension tightens up, the gearshifts are crisper and the steering talks back to you. The throttle response is instantaneous and the engine holds onto higher revs without any fuss.
Along with the visual updates we would have liked some revisions to the powertrain. That being said, the 5- series remains one of the best driver- focused luxury cars on offer and very hard to fault with. But rivals seem to be better rounded on most other fronts.
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