Richard Bremner
25 September 2011

What is it?

As a result of BMW's engine downsizing programme, the 2.0-litre six cylinder turbodiesel in the 525d has been switched to a four for the 2012 model year 5 Series.

It is a change that has traded two cylinders for twin two-stage turbos and some handy gains in performance, economy and emissions reduction.

Power rises by 13bhp to 215bhp, while the 332lb ft torque peak streams in at 1500rpm to be sustained at that level for another 1000rpm. That's enough to score rapid 7.0sec sprints to 62mph, 149mph and 58.8mpg on the combined cycle - a 20 per cent reduction - and CO2 emissions that fall from 162g/km to 126g/km, an impressive result only diminished by the 119g/km achievement of the 520d EfficientDynamics.

Stop-start is now standard for the eight speed auto as well as the six-speed manual, while BMW's ambitiously named Driving Experience Control simultaneously alters the throttle response, ESP settings, power steering resistance and automatic transmission - shifts to produce Comfort, Sport, Sport+ and a fuel-saving mode called Eco Pro, which lowers the energy demands of the air conditioning and assorted electrical items.

Also new are some minor safety upgrades and electric closing of boot and tailgate, while BMW's already excellent head-up display has been further refined.

What's it like?

An extra 35bhp over the 182bhp 520d may not sound so much, but it's enough to noticeably enliven this 5-series, turning it into a pretty decent sports saloon. If you're laying out for the extra go over the 520d you'll want the variable dampers, too.

They extract more positive feedback from suspension that sometimes feels almost Buick-like in its soft-sprung divorce from the road below. Select Sport or Sport+ however, and the 525 feels lithe and energetic enough to inspire some hard driving.

The 2.0 litre diesel delivers it too, and with impressive smoothness and a stout low-rev surge that the eight-speed auto slickly capitalises on. It's sharp enough to make fingering the paddle shifts a worthwhile exercise too. When you're not in the mood, the 525 settles into an easy high speed cruise, spoiled only be the dull roar around the A pillars that emerges at higher speeds.

Should I buy one?

The 525d manages a very impressive 126g/km as an automatic (the manual is 132g/km), which is good enough to place it in the same 18 per cent benefit-in-kind tax bracket as the 520d EfficientDynamics (it's 19 per cent for the manual). That means the tax penalty for upgrading is not great, and the extra performance makes this a more satisfying driver's car than the 520d ED. If the temptation and the budget are there, this is an engine upgrade that's hard to resist.

 

BMW 525d SE saloon automatic

Price: £33,610; Top speed: 149mph; 0-62mph: 7.0sec; Economy: 43.5mpg (combined); CO2: 126g/km; Kerb weight: 1645kg; Engine type, cc, installation: 4 cylinder, 16 valve, turbodiesel, 1995cc, longitudinal; Power: 215bhp at 4400rpm; Torque: 332lb ft at 1500-2500rpm; Gearbox: 8-speed automatic

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Comments
34

Re: BMW 525d SE

2 years 47 weeks ago

It does seem almost unfair really. Great car, perfect engine for the times and with the technology they have used you get economy, low tax and performance.

Perfect car would be this in estate form with the auto.

I might be able to afford that when this car is 6 years old with 60,000 miles.

Re: BMW 525d SE

2 years 47 weeks ago

I really like this engine, and the similar E-Class 250 CDI. I think they're the pick of their respective ranges. All the performance you need and low running costs.

Since the next CR-V is going to be a munter I reckon one of these will get our business in a couple of years. Although, based on current leasing rates, the Mercedes is quite a bit cheaper.


Re: BMW 525d SE

2 years 47 weeks ago

More incredible figures from BMW, but I'm a little confused with Autocar's report:

Autocar wrote:
The 525d manages a very impressive 126g/km as an automatic (the manual is 132g/km), which is good enough to place it in the same 18 per cent benefit-in-kind tax bracket as the 520d EfficientDynamics (it's 19 per cent for the manual). That means the tax penalty for upgrading is not great,

If the 520d EfficientDynamics produces 119g/km doesn't that mean it's liable for 13% benefit in kind? Therefore the tax penalty for upgrading will be great. That's the whole story re: the efficient dynamics model, it has the competition licked, nobody else can compete with those figures in the executive sector.

That said, this 525d will be in the same tax bracket as Jag and Merc's ultra efficient models which means you'll certainly get more bang for your buck.

Re: BMW 525d SE

2 years 47 weeks ago

we have recently had war and peace on the new 2.2 diesel in the XF. In one stroke BMW have made that look very old fashioned. These figures, performance, economy etc form a car this big are truely amazing. Now if BMW could perform the same trick on the price as they do on the CO2 that would be very impressive

Re: BMW 525d SE

2 years 47 weeks ago

Very impressive figures; when I saw that it was a 525d, I assumed that it was a straight six. 215bhp from a 2.0 diesel is hugely impressive, and this engine would be great in the 3-Series.

Re: BMW 525d SE

2 years 47 weeks ago

Autocar wrote:
the 2.0-litre six cylinder turbodiesel in the 525d

It used to be a six cylinder 3.0, and now is a four cylinder 2.0. It has never been a 2.0 six cylinder in the 525d.

Re: BMW 525d SE

2 years 47 weeks ago

The 'old' 525d was a bit of a non-event; a poor-man's 530d.

This new engine has finally given this derivitive some real USP.

I'd be interested to see how the CO2 for the auto compares with the XF and Merc.

edit - Oops - I see that is the auto - manual box is higher... Case closed for business users then.

Re: BMW 525d SE

2 years 47 weeks ago

speckyclay wrote:
I'd be interested to see how the CO2 for the auto compares with the XF and Merc.

E-Class 250 CDI SE saloon is 129 g/km for both manual and auto. If you end up with the Sport Edition the auto is a less competitive 138 g/km.

XF 2.2D is auto only and 149 g/km.


Re: BMW 525d SE

2 years 47 weeks ago

4 Wheel drive please and I will ditch my A6 Quattro tomorrow. When you live the countryside in the North of Scotland, rear wheel drive can be nightmare; one I do not want to repeat.

Re: BMW 525d SE

2 years 47 weeks ago

Autocar wrote:
... hard to resist.

Not with that styling it's not. Brilliant engine though :-)

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Our Verdict

The BMW 5-series offers a compelling blend of all-round abilities, but wants specifying carefully

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