The mid-size luxury sedan segment, especially the one in which the BMW 5-Series and the Mercedes E-Class compete in is the most popular as far as luxury cars go because it offers a lot of backseat comfort and is almost 70% of their flagship offerings, especially now because of the latest generation G30 5-Series which resembles the 7-Series to a great extent. A few months back we reviewed the 520d and were mighty impressed by the car but we weren’t really in a position to tell you if the new G30 5-Series is better than the F10 5-Series. We now have a go in the range-topping 5-Series, the 530d M Sport and we already have the answers.
Motor Quest: It is a given that BMW cars are the best to drive around and have fun but the German carmaker went off the path with the F10 5-Series. Honestly, that car wasn’t as driver-focused as, say the E60 but now things have changed. In comes the G30 5-Series with the fun-to-drive factor and just for that ladies and gentleman, it’s got my money.
Exteriors – For the exterior design, the BMW 530d M Sport looks similar to the 520d but there are visual differences between the two. For starters, the 530d M Sport grade gets an M Sport body kit with a more stylised and aggressive looking bumper. The Active Air Stream kidney grille is finished in black and there are wider 275-section tyres (at the rear) with blue brake callipers. Rest all design elements like the LED headlamps with the LED DRLs and LED tail-lights are identical to the more affordable 520d trim. The executive sedan runs on 18-inch M light double spoke alloy wheels.
Interiors – The cabin of the 530d M Sport is again similar to the 520d but comes with subtle differences and slightly more equipment. For instance, the 530d M Sport gets an M multi-function steering wheel, comfort seats for the driver and front passenger. As is with almost every modern BMW cars, the dashboard is focused towards the driver. Other features on offer are a sunroof, Nappa leather upholstery, ambient lighting, launch control, auto parking with surround view camera, R/C parking with BMW Display Key and a 10.25-inch iDrive touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay connectivity and Navigation. While all these features are on offer even in the 520d variant, the 530d in addition to all the above also gets a full-colour Head-Up display, rear seat entertainment screens and an Anthracite headliner.
The iDrive infotainment is one the most intuitive systems in this price range and the ease of use it offers is just commendable. The system can be operated via the rotary knob in the centre console or via the buttons on the steering or via hand gestures or by touch as well. Too many options, isn’t it? Both the front and rear seats are supreme in terms of comfort and support. Knee room and shoulder room at the rear is decent while there is ample headroom.
Performance – While the on paper specifications may suggest that this is the same 3.0-litre diesel motor as before, actually, it isn’t. The all-new 2993cc TwinPower Turbo straight-six diesel engine makes 265 HP of power at 4000 RPM and a massive 620 Nm of torque at 2000-2500 RPM. That huge torque is available from as low as 2000 RPM and that makes the powerplant very quick and the plus side is that there is barely any turbo lag. This being an aluminium engine is surprisingly quiet and isn’t noisy at all, all thanks to the metal used inside the engine block. Refinement levels are what will mighty impress you for sure. In fact, this engine is so refined, it might pass off as a petrol motor sometimes. Higher in the rev range, the powerplant does get vocal but this isn’t the diesel clatter and instead is a sweet engaging sound. Where the 3.0-litre powertrain truly shines is the way it redlines. It pulls like a petrol and goes all the way to 5500 RPM and the best part is it holds there and makes you feel you aren’t redlining at all, wow!
Flatout acceleration in the 530d is so brutal that it is sure to give a run for its money for cars that cost twice as much. 0-100 km/hr comes in just 5.7 seconds and we did manage to crack the same timing as well on our VBOX. There’s also a Launch Control mode on offer, for which you will have to shift to the Sport mode, put the gearbox in Sport and turn off the Traction Control, left foot on the brake, right foot on the accelerator, rev the engine till 2500 RPM and the system will tell Launch Program activated. All you have to do now is dump the brake and voila! You are on the move. An 8-speed automatic gearbox (sourced from ZF) does the job of sending power to the rear wheels. The gearbox is super smooth as well as fast in shifts. There are paddle shifters offered for you to manually take control of things. In the manual mode, the gearbox doesn’t upshift unless and until you do so and that’s where the driving experience comes alive. The 530d gets three driving modes – ECOPRO, Comfort and Sport. ECOPRO gives the maximum mileage while the Sport mode is for an enthusiastic drive. Comfort mode offers you the best of both the worlds. In terms of efficiency, in the ECOPRO mode, the car will return you around 10-12 km/l in the city and around 14-15 km/l in the highway. However, put it in the Sport mode and push it hard, the mileage figures will drop to under 10 km/l.
Driving Dynamics – The previous generation 5-Series (the F10) wasn’t much fun to drive but with the G30 things have changed. The 530d stays true to BMW’s sheer driving pleasure tagline. Though the wheelbase is up by 7 mm, front and rear track are widened by 5 and 3 mm respectively, the luxury sedan weighs approximately 100 kgs lighter than its predecessor courtesy the extensive use of aluminium in the body. The 530d feels light on its feet and is a hoot to drive around the corners. There is a bit of body roll as the vehicle measures close to 5 metres in length and has a wheelbase of nearly 3 metres, however, it is well contained.
The steering offers immense feedback and is great to hold but we did feel it to be a size bigger. Ride quality is better than the F10 but there is some sort of firmness to the suspension irrespective of the driving mode you are in. The 530d gets adaptive dampers which adapt automatically depending on the road conditions. The car feels stable at high speeds and the grip from the tyres is stupendous. The 530d M Sport gets 245-section tyres up front and 275-section tyres at the rear. Braking performance is supreme and the 5 stops exactly where you need it to.
Safety and After Sales Service – The Bavarian automaker has got your back in terms of the safety features offered in the 530d. There are multiple airbags, ABS with BA, Dynamic Traction Control, Dynamic Stability Control, Crash Sensor and Runflat indicator. After sales service of the German automaker has been a pleasant experience for most owners.
Verdict – The BMW 5-Series is positioned as a Business Athlete and it stays true to its positioning because not only is it comfortable and loaded with tons of features but the Bavarian automaker hasn’t restricted some of the highlight features like the R/C parking and gesture-controlled infotainment system only to the top variants, even the 520d Luxury Line gets them. Now, many would start comparing the 5-Series and Mercedes E-Class but these two cars are as different as chalk and cheese. If you were in the market looking for a luxury sedan and would love to take the wheel on almost any given day, then paying the extra Rs. 10 lakhs for the 530d over the 520d makes sense as the former is a driver’s delight.
|Exterior Color||White Metallic|
|Interior Color||Leather Brown/Black|