Error parsing XSLT file: \xslt\FacebookOpenGraph.xslt Our Fleet Test Drive Review: BMW 520d Touring - Final report
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Our Fleet Test Drive Review: BMW 520d Touring - Final report

Date: 15 June 2010   |   Author: Tristan Young

Category: Executive
P11D price: £34,790
Key rival: Audi A6

Sometimes you forget what makes a good car great. The first sign of a car being great is that you take it for granted, which was certainly the case with our long-term BMW 520d Touring M-sport Business Edition automatic (to give its full title).

It was the kind of car you throw everything in and drive in total comfort for hundreds of miles, which I frequently did [1]. Or you could be a bit more spirited and point it at your favourite b-road and have some fun (which I did less frequently).

If doing the former you could happily return an mpg fuel figure in the mid-40s, while even our overall average for the 9400 miles we had the car was still an impressive 38.7mpg. But if you were really going for feather-footed eco-motoring it was possible to exceed the claimed official 47.7mpg - my personal best for a tankful of diesel was 49.8mpg, which shows you how good BMW's Efficient Dynamics is.

Although the 5-series Touring is a big car, it is the plethora of smaller things that I'm now missing, such as the ConnectedDrive system [2], which makes using all the controls super-simple [3] and leaves the dash uncluttered. It does a host of clever things, but to me the most useful was that it enabled the sending of a destination to the satnav from any internet-connected computer via Google Maps. I never once had to programme a destination into the car manually. The car's on-board hard drive stored a large portion of my CD collection (which is great if, like me, you haven't quite got as far as an iPod, although apparently you could connect one of those too), and the Bluetooth phone connection was seamless, too, and it read your address book, making dialling numbers quick and easy.

For those of you with small children, I must mention the Isofix slots, which are the best designed I've ever seen and made inserting and removing child seats a one-second job.

The only 'issue' we had with the 5-series was with the brakes, specifically the front pads, which wore out at 7000 miles and cost nearly £180 to replace. Despite the dealer saying it wasn't a warranty issue, BMW HQ are adamant that this should not have happened.

Now the car's back with the manufacturer, their technicians are investigating the issue to see if, maybe, the brake bias is set-up incorrectly. As yet, I've not heard their findings, but a follow-up story could be in order.

Yet even with this issue my love of the 520d Touring wasn't dented. After all, it was just one small concern set against a host of positives, which is some achievement considering the car is towards the end of its life cycle. The replacement 5-series Touring due later this year has plenty to live up to.

BMW 520d Touring M-sport
Business Edition 5dr auto
Claimed combined consumption48.7mpg
Our average consumption38.7mpg
P11D price£34,840
Model price range£32,025-£69,930
CO2 (tax)154g/km (21%)
BIK 20/40% per month£124/£249
Service intervalvariable
Insurancegroup 16
Boot space (min/max)500/1650 litres
Engine size/power1995cc/177PS
Top speed/0-62mph139mph/8.6secs
Why we’re running itTo see if 520d Business
Edition can match rivals
PositiveExcellent efficiency,
great to drive, classy
NegativeShort life brake pads,