2017 BMW 520d Review | Asian Car Guide
April 4, 2020

2017 BMW 520d Review

2017 BMW 520d

Make no mistake, the latest generation BMW 540i is one of our favourite cars of 2017, wowing us with its supreme blend of power, comfort, refinement and advanced gadgetry. It is the epitome of a desirable German sedan and what has made BMW the coveted brand it is today.

And on reflection, we started to wonder, to what extent were we being bedazzled by 6-cylinder power and all the optional extras, as opposed to the car’s basic capabilities?

Say hello to the BMW 520d. The “20d” spells a frugal 2.0-litre diesel with 140kW of power and a potent 400Nm of torque and a price tag of $82,400 plus on road cost.

The BMW 520d is wider, longer and taller than the outgoing model, yet `thanks to a clever mix of high-strength steel, aluminium and magnesium. It is up 100kg lighter depending on model. And with a wheelbase that measures nearly three metres long, interior space is never an issue.

In material terms, it is every bit as luxurious as you would expect. The dashboard is adorned with large swathes of polished wood and silvers of brushed aluminium and practically everywhere else you can touch, you will find plush leather.

2017 BMW 520d

There are plenty of gadgets to play with. The main highlight you can use to astound your passengers is called “Gesture Control”, which allows you to switch radio stations or music tracks, adjust the volume or take phone calls just by waving or swiping your hand in front of the 10.25-inch touchscreen.

Another nifty piece of tech is the Display Key, a smart key fob with a colour screen that allows you to remotely check the car’s fuel level, whether the doors are locked, as well as start up the car’s ventilation system even as you are still walking towards it. It is definitely more head-turning when you put it in front of you at dinner than any brand-new smartphone.

Elsewhere, there is also Adaptive LED headlights, soft-closing doors all round, an ambient interior lighting package, a fully digital instrument cluster and of course the latest version of BMW’s iDrive infotainment system.

The 520d, like the 530i is a Luxury trim model so it only loses the M Sport kit that some might find more appealing but in day-to-day driving you lose very little otherwise: all the major safety, comfort and convenience points are still there, such as both 5-star Euro and ANCAP safety ratings, six airbags, iDrive with navigation, multi-zone air-con, keyless start and go, automatic tailgate, stability control and brake assist.

Like its bigger brother 7-Series, the 520d handles the twisty roads well. It is not floaty or soft. Like in many modern cars, fully electric power steering does mean very little feel gets transmitted through the steering wheel. The body control is hard to fault and body roll looking far more dramatic in the pictures than it felt in the car.

2017 BMW 520d

The 520d springs rough and pothole ridden roads well. The suspension does not give too much cause for complaint.

I was surprised the 520d is not noisy; the engine is wrapped in insulation to keep noise levels down. You can still heat the characteristic clatter on start-up or standing next to the car, but once inside, you can barely hear it, even at idle.

There is enough power in the four-cylinder turbodiesel to send the 520d to 100km/h in under 7.5 seconds. Once up to speed the 520d makes for an effortless cruiser, the eight-speed auto keeps the engine rpm low at a steady lope while offering seamless shifts if the need to overtake arises.

The calm and serenity inside the car is not all thanks to the drivetrain though; serious attention has been paid to aerodynamics, too. The underside of the car is full of channels that optimise airflow; the kidney grille has louvres in it that can close if cooling airflow is not required. There are air inlets and outlets in the front bumper and fenders that prevent the build-up of turbulence in the wheel arches.

In short, the 520d is much lowers the price of the 540i, but at least 90 percent as good.

2017 BMW 520d Luxury pricing and specifications:

Price: $82,400 plus on-road costs

Engine: 1,992.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel rear-wheel drive

Power: 140kW at 4,000rpm

Torque: 400Nm at 1,750 – 2,500rpm

Transmission: Eight-speed automatic

Fuel: 4.3L/100km (ADR Combined)

Fuel tank: 66 litres

CO2: 114g/km (ADR Combined)