Look beyond the miserly metrics and you still have a 184bhp executive saloon that’s great to drive.
Powered by a two-litre, four-cylinder diesel engine, the 520d ED doesn’t immediately smack of a recipe for fun.
However, look a little closer and a more nuanced picture emerges. With 184bhp on tap, it packs as big a punch as BMW’s original 530d, yet does so without the weight of a big six-cylinder engine in the nose.
Break out the stopwatch and the 520d will accelerate just as quickly
to 60mph, detaining you for just
8.1 seconds. BMW has built its reputation on building entertaining drivers and beneath that worthy Efficient Dynamics labelling is a car that’s been designed by keen drivers first and foremost.
You need to go looking for it though, harrying the 5 Series out of its default business suit sobriety. Peak torque of 380Nm arrives at just 1,900rpm, so you won’t need to give it huge gobs of throttle to maintain
respectable cross-country progress.
This generation 5 Series features much improved ride quality, the issue of unsettled comportment with run-flat tyres being long resolved.
The electric power steering is better than some of the old recirculating ball systems 5 Series’ were saddled with but never feels as natural as it could. This car weighs 1625kg and you’ll inevitably feel it in tighter corners but the electronic driver aids are some of the best.
It’s fair to say that the styling of the previous E60 generation model was something most of us got accustomed to but few loved.
This current F10 5 Series is a genuinely elegant thing that makes the Audi A6 appear lumpen and the Mercedes E Class deeply conservative.
The low-profile nose is subtler, while the deep bonnet contours and swage lines cut into the flanks bring tension to what is a very assured piece of vehicle design. The wheels are pushed right out to the corners of the car, creating very short overhangs front and rear and a planted stance.
The expanded wheelbase is made to count inside where there’s lots of rear passenger space, including an extra 13mm of knee-room compared to its forebear.
The seats split 40/20/40 and fold down, but even without them lowered, 520 litres of capacity is on offer in the boot.
The appeal of a well-built German executive car which is swift and discreet, yet comes with the tax liability of a shopping hatch is hard to resist.
The BMW 520d Efficient Dynamics serves up that exact recipe with its 62.8mpg fuel economy and 119g/km emissions.
There may be some of you wondering about the logic of a £30,000-plus car that merely gives your tax and fuel bills a haircut, but the fact is that the 520d ED will appear on some company car lists, where the standard 520d might well have been excluded.
That fact alone will help it notch up some significant sales.
Whenever arbitrary rules, bandings and brackets are used by governments to tax vehicles, manufacturers will strive to find ways around them.
The 520d Efficient Dynamics is a workaround, albeit a very well-engineered and ingenious one. It will appeal to the pragmatist but also has the latent talent to delight the keen driver.