What is it?
Don’t worry, we haven’t gone blind. While the side gills, imposing front grille and conservative profile might scream 7 Series, this is in fact the latest 5 Series. We have already published a couple of drives covering six-cylinder petrol and diesel variants, but it’s the linchpin of the range we’re covering here - the 520d.
A quick flick through the spec sheet reveals that while the 5 Series might sit on an all-new platform, its 2.0-litre diesel engine is the same 1995cc lump that sits in everything from the Mini Cooper D upwards. In the 520d, it produces 188bhp - enough for brisk performance - and is mated as standard to an eight-speed ZF automatic gearbox.
More interestingly, there’s the option of four-wheel steering (dubbed Integral Active Steering, costing £995) to improve manoeuvrability at low speeds, and stability as the pace ramps up. It’s also possible to have all four wheels driving should you want the added traction of BMW's xDrive system, at the cost of £2000.