What is it?
Perhaps it would be more relevant to ask in this case what it should be, which is a strong contender for being the best car in the real world.
This is an all-new version of the car that has been our favourite mid-size executive for over 20 uninterrupted years.
And with BMW’s 3.0-litre diesel providing sparkling performance and bewildering economy, the stage is set for the same kind of class-crushing performance we now expect from each successive generation of the 5 Series.
Based on a shortened version of the 7 Series platform, the new 530d offers significantly improved interior space, mild improvements to power, economy and emissions, and the option of an eight-speed automatic transmission that will be taken by 19 out every 20 buyers.
Unsurprisingly given its origins, 7 Series suspension is used front and rear, while driving aids of disputable value, such as dynamic drive and active steering, rest firmly on the options list. However electric steering is now standard.
Performance is as strong as ever; 0-62mph takes 6.3sec regardless of which transmission you choose, a fact those planning on buying the more powerful, less torquey and all-but-identically priced 535i should bear in mind. It will only get you to 62mph 0.3sec quicker, but return just 33.2mpg instead of the 530d’s outstanding 44.8mpg (45.6mpg with the auto).
What’s it like?
The good news is that the 530d feels more complete and capable than its predecessor; it would be strange were that not the case. After all BMW, a company not known for sitting on its hands, has had seven years to make its improvements.
The driving environment is more grown-up, the living space more equitably apportioned between those in the front and those in the back, and more roomy for all.
Out on the road, the ride quality is impressive but still not exceptional despite all-new aluminium suspension, but when you start to seriously fling it around you can tell why BMW set it up this way: for a large four-door saloon, its composure under pressure is genuinely outstanding.