In recent times, the best deals you can find in BMW showrooms in Malaysia are often for plugin hybrid models which benefit from tax incentives aimed at locally-assembled energy efficient vehicles (EEV). But the Bavarian outfit has the knack of pulling off a nice CKD surprise from time to time. And it has done it again with the latest addition to its G30 5-Series line-up: the 520i Luxury.
While the 530i continues to top the range in its sharp M Sport suit, the 520i takes things down a notch with a smattering of chrome, 18-inch wheels and a detuned version of the 530i’s four-pot turbo. So it’s less sporty and less powerful, but also considerably less expensive.
At RM328,800, the 520i Luxury is RM44,000 cheaper than the 530i M Sport, meaning you can buy one with enough change for a backup car – think Proton Iriz or Perodua Myvi – for the price of the latter. RM328,800 also happens to be the sticker price for the recently launched 330i M Sport CBU, so that's something else to think about.
You still get a decent package for the money, though. Premium items like adaptive LED headlights, Dakota leather upholstery, four-zone automatic climate control, rear-view camera, Navigation System Professional (10.25-inch touchscreen multimedia interface), BMW ConnectedDrive and 20GB of memory for audio files are all part of a long list of features.
The powertrain itself isn’t too shabby. There’s 184bhp and 290Nm of torque piped to the rear via an eight-speed Steptronic auto. This output carries the 520i to 100kph from a standstill in a respectable 7.8 seconds, all the way to a top speed of 235kph.
The numbers aren’t as lofty as those of the 530i, but the 520i is naturally more economical with a combined fuel consumption of 6.2l per 100km.
Buyers who want even more economy will be delighted to know that BMW Malaysia also launched the 530e M Sport alongside the 520i Luxury.
Priced at RM338,800 – RM10k more than the existing 530e Sport and incidentally the 520i Luxury – the plugin hybrid 5er adds things like 19-inch M wheels, M Sport brakes and M Sport twin tailpipes to its eco-focused repertoire.
With 252bhp and 420Nm, the 530e M Sport’s hybrid output also makes it a swifter machine than the 520i on the straights – it does 0-100kph in 6.2 seconds. But the standout stat is obviously its 2.3l/100km rating complemented by carbon emissions of just 53g per kilometre.
Now all we’re missing is a diesel 5-Series. Or has that gone out of fashion?