There’s a lot to be said for being a benchmark, it’s the point where everything is measured. That point where all other cars in the class are either better or worse, BMW got that point with the outgoing 5 series and as it happens there was nothing to beat it in the class.
Some will say that the new 5 Series is too tame looking, that it lacks that edgy styling that the outgoing model had. I agree, sort of. The new one has more angles on it than the old one, you just have to start looking for them.
Little has changed on the inside, you still know your sitting in a BMW, there’s a reassuring thud when you shut the door, all the materials used are top notch and everything in the cabin falls to hand nicely. Even the IDrive is easier to use, you’ll easily find all you need from the simple menu. The seats are leather as standard, the are huge and really comfy for the long drives you’ll want to take at the wheel.
When I picked up the car I was surprised that it was a manual, as with most luxury saloons they come with 6, 7 or even 8 gears. Not so in the 520ED, just a standard 6 speed gearbox. Between the manual gearbox, Efficient Dynamics and the Eco Pro mode I managed to get over 60mpg while I had the car, from a 2.0ltr Diesel that puts out 184hp! BMW have been busy making the cars more efficient, more Eco in every way but that doesn’t mean that the new 520 is just an eco box; far from it. It’s still a rear wheel drive and in sport mode it’s the best fun on the back roads.
There are three driving modes the first is Eco Pro, this turns everything down including the air con to make the car as efficient as possible, comfort puts the air con back on and the accelerator pedal more responsive. The last is Sport, this weights up the steering and turns on all the power; no matter what mode you choose the 520 is still hugely fuel efficient the modes just seem to make it more fun.
You might think that all this economy and style comes at a premium, no. This is the most affordable 5 series, standing at €44k you get dual zone climate control, parking sensors, leather seats, cruise control, speed limiter, IDrive and a host of other useful things as standard.
After spending a week driving around in the 520ed I really wanted to hold on to it because not only did I do over a thousand kilometres without having to refuel, I still had that pure driver feeling. It’s not just an Eco box, it’s a real Bavarian mile muncher with a sporty edge. On this price range there’s nothing to touch that rear wheel drive feeling.
You really have to drive it to understand, get into Conlon’s BMW in Rathangan where you’ll be able to see the full range 045 524345, you’ll never forget that first drive.