Autoreview by Veeno Dewan
Generally acknowledged as the world’s best all round sports sedans. The BMW 5 Series now arrives in a new 4 cylinder version to join the venerable in-line 6 and V8 engined versions. A hybrid version will join the line up in due course.
Of course the 5 Series can be had in different versions from mild to wild with conventional rear wheel drive or xDrive All-Wheel drive. The most desirable is the formidable high performance M5 model.
For this review however we will look at the 2012 BMW 528i sedan which offers its own unique and attractive features. Notably its four-cylinder turbocharged engine.
On the exterior the test 528i looks suitable expensive and well attired in its dark lustrous carbon black paint, restrained styling and sharp looking alloy wheels. The long hood, wide stance and short deck make the car look much larger than the previous 5 Series. Only the xDrive badges denotes the car is something different.
The dedication to restraint and high quality is carried over to the cabin. BMW interiors are a rather intimidating blend of form, functionality and luxury. For example every surface of the Dakota oyster colored interior in our tester was finely detailed, exact and of the highest quality. Every knob, switch, button and control has a slick precise feel in its action. The dash is fastidious and neat with a central screen display and easy to read orange illuminated gauges. The BMW iDrive multi-function system has a bit of a learning curve, but offers a myriad of functions once you get the hang of it.
The power operated heated seats are super comfortable and finished in high quality leather.
The list of standard and optional equipment is way too long to list, but the base 528i model has all the power conveniences you could want and more. Our tester had the following equipment. Ready? Deep breath, Premium Package ($3,900) Including Automatic Trunk with Smart Opener, Comfort Access, Rear view Camera Through Loading System, Lumbar Support, Dakota Leather. Premium Sound Package ($1,200) Including: SIRIUS Satellite Radio Tuner, HiFi Sound System Professional.
Technology Package ($1,900) Including: High-Beam Assistant, Lane Departure Warning Active Blind Spot Detection, Surround View (includes Top & Side View Cameras) M Sport Package ($3,500) Including Sport Automatic Transmission, Fineline Anthracite Trim, M Sport Package, Comfort Seats, Aluminum Hexagon Trim, 18” M wheel, A/S RFT tire, M Rear Spoiler. Navigation Package ($2,000) Including: BMW On-Board Navigation Voice Recognition, BMW Apps ($300) Including: Smartphone Integration BMW Apps. Stand Alone Options included heated Rear Seats ($550). The price of the extras raises the price to heady $70,000 plus.
The rear compartment is also of a high standard and seats two large adults in comfort.
Head leg and foot room is good in all directions and of course the generous trunk can carry the obligatory two sets of golf clubs.
And now to the technical information. Found in the 4-cylinder 528i model, BMW’s TwinPower Turbo inline-4 is an absolute jewel of an engine. With a compact 2.0 litres and connected to a twin-scroll turbocharger, the four cylinder generates an impressive 240 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. All that power is available from 1,250 rpm all the way to 4,800 rpm. With a beautifully calibrated 8-speed autobox, the four cylinder 528i is capable of 100 km/h in only seven seconds.
Our BMW 528i xDrive was equipped with BMW’s xDrive AWD system. Even despite the heavier weight the 528I 3 can achieve fuel consumption numbers of less than 7-8 L/100 km. I managed around 9.L overall, which very good.
The BMW 528i offers a slew of gadgets to make life safer, more efficient and easier for drivers. The 528i xDrive Dynamic Driving Control that offer four different presets such as comfort, comfort+, sport and sport+ modes that can modify the sedan’s throttle response, Steptronic transmission shift points, suspension damping and stability assist of driver preferences.
“Comfort” works ideal in the city and on the urban grind on less than perfect roads while “Sport” tightens up the 528i for more involved highway performance.
However ‘Comfort” mode does not dull the big sedans reflexes and it remains responsive, stable and offer great traction courtesy of the xDrive system. Torrential rain and slick Vancouver roads did nothing to dampen the way the 528i carved up highways and urban roads. The 528i’s has a 5.9-litres-per-100-kilometres highway rating and also offers an EcoPower mode which aids in conserving fuel. Overall the turbo’s no- lag, low-end torque makes the car a real stormer.
Anything to criticize? Well very little. The four-cylinder engine is good, but the six cylinder is still smoother and more lush in its power delivery. And of course once you load up any BMW with the gadgets and luxury option they start becoming ever so expensive. Still the four cylinder proves BMW can make an economical four cylinder performance sedan with no comprise.
To sum up the 2012 BMW 528i xDrive is a world-class car offering engineering and pedigree as the gold standard in the high-end sports sedan market. Buy once – enjoy for a lifetime.
2012 BMW 528i xDrive priced from $56,900
(Price as tested $70,250)