BMW’s heritage as a purveyor of engaging luxury was not built on two blue stripes and a red one. Its M cars are remarkable. But M Sport accessories aren’t mandatory ingredients when cooking up a good Bimmer. Which is why it’s always refreshing to see BMW Malaysia add a Luxury Line product to its portfolio.
The BMW 520i Luxury is the model the G30 5 Series should have debuted with from the start. Sure, the 530i M Sport was a hoot to drive; its perkiness and manoeuvrability made it feel like an upsized 330i. But its distinct sportiness, in spite of the similar four-pot turbo architecture under the hood, masked the qualities that were unique to the latest 5er.
For starters, the look and feel of the 520i seems more thematic with the five-meter-long physique of the G30 platform; the Luxury Line’s subtle use of chrome is tasteful and stately beside the arrogant aesthetic of the M Sport exterior. The story is similar within the spacious confines of the 5er. Don’t get us wrong, M Sport cabins are great. We just feel BMWs tend to be underappreciated in their more rudimental forms.
The 520i’s no-nonsense interior – plush and solid, just minus some pizzazz – gives occupants an accurately calming preview of what’s to come once the car launches into motion. The ride is supple in the most welcoming way, thanks in part to 18-inch 10-spoke alloys which look nearly as good as the 19 inchers propping up the pricier 530i.
Factor in the stellar NVH insulation and you have a mid-sized exec that’s genuinely unafraid of losing sales to the Mercedes-Benz E-Class for reasons falling outside the driving department.
Given that it only has 184bhp and 290Nm of torque at its disposal, performance isn’t the 520i’s strongest suit – not by segment standards anyway.
You can feel this output straining to pull the 5er’s 1.6-tonne heft at times, especially when driving in the default Comfort setting. This remained our preferred configuration whenever we had passengers on board – the eight-speed auto’s silky shifts really work a charm here. But we dialled things up to Sport quite often when going solo for a little bit more zest; it’s never going to be as quick as a 530i, but the sharpened throttle response still hits the spot.
What the 520i Luxury Line has got going for it the most is an overall specification that seems just as well-equipped as its higher-spec nameplates, be it in terms of safety, connectivity and quality.
On paper, the most significant absence is that of the Driving Assistance package. But the average buyer who’s inclined to switch Lane Departure Warning off once it goes into a chorus on the Federal Highway is not going to miss it anyway.
In having a competent number lurk in the shadows of the equally impressive 530e and 530i, BMW Malaysia has set the bar high from the baseline. It’s hard to go wrong with any of these, such is the broadness of the G30’s skillset.
M Sport accessories aren’t mandatory ingredients when cooking up a good Bimmer.
|Exceedingly comfy ride and tasteful subtlety lost on louder M Sport variants||B48 engine could use a few extra horses. Feels as big as a 7 when parking|