The BMW 5 Series: The All-Rounder from Germany

“Simply put, the 520d Luxury Line has middle child syndrome. Slightly better than its smaller brother, but not as good as its older brother. No matter how hard it may try.”

I know Germany isn’t known for being a cricket nation, so perhaps its best for me to use a football analogy that works along the parallels of Germany: Football. The 5-Series in my eyes is seen as the box-to-box midfielder which often goes unnoticed compared to its higher end counterparts in the form of the M5 and M6 respectively. You will understand my reasoning soon…

Parking Lot SA recently reviewed the BMW 520d alongside SA’s most visited online motoring marketplace AutoTrader. The WesBank South African Car of the Year finalist is very impressive, considering the price and features you get. Needless to say, the model we had on the day was fitted with all the luxury-line extras which made for a pleasurable day of driving and filming.

Introduced in January of 2017, the luxury line 520d comes in at just over R845 000. The turbocharged 2.0 Litre Diesel engine will get you from 0-100 km/h in 7.5 seconds. Its not the fastest out the blocks but that is not what the 520d is all about. It will take you all the way up to 235 km/h, however the chances of you actually wanting to take it to those speeds are minimal. The reason I say this is because the 520d is not a car that you would want for its speed.

The essence of buying a vehicle like this – or any vehicle for that matter – is identifying what it is you are looking for in a car. With this car, speed is lower on your priority list. This makes more sense considering that sports suspension is an optional extra. Cruise control (with break functionality) is standard – although, I would take the optional adaptive cruise control to make my life that much easier.


The two-ton middle child comes with all the other comforts you would expect from a big BMW: Bluetooth connectivity, Park Distance Control (which you’ll need), Rain sensor wipers, retractable mirrors amongst others. I never had a chance to test the voice control on the car – I just hope it is better than all other voice control systems I have come across. Rebellious teenagers are more obedient than those voice control systems.


Moving away from the facts and figures, I found that the ride on the 520d was really good – if you are to compare it to its counterparts in the form of an Audi A4, Audi A5 Sedan or even its smaller brother – the 3-Series. The manual gearbox however could do with some improvements. It’s almost a frugal exercise but if you would like to be involved in the driving experience then perhaps the 540 is where you should look – with the addition of the M Package.

The 5 series is perfect if you are looking for something bigger than the 3 series. Given the compromise on the (19”) tyre size and weight, you do have less comfort compared to the 7-series. Simply put, the 520d Luxury Line has middle child syndrome. Slightly better than its smaller brother, but not as good as its older brother. No matter how hard it may try.



If you are buying the 520d you need to identify what you want from your BMW. If you are looking for speed, then perhaps a 540 with an M Package is where you should be looking. Additionally, you could get the M5. However, given insurance premiums and excessive depreciation I would go for the 540 M Package. If comfort and luxury is what you are looking for, without the price of the 7-series, then by all means go for 5-series. You may want to take into consideration a spec’d out 5-series may be a similar price to that of a base model 7-series.


BMW offers Sheer Driving Pleasure, the 520d may not be an A student in meeting that mantra. However, it is a strong B+.


Parking Lot SA would like to extend our gratitude to AutoTrader for the opportunity to film and review the vehicle alongside them. For all your motoring needs, feel free to head over to their website at

The AutoTrader SA Bike Festival powered by Discovery Channel is coming soon. Stay tuned for updates!

Author: parkinglotsa

WHAT IS PARKING LOT SA? Parking Lot SA provides media consumers with all the information in the motoring industry focusing mainly on car news and reviews. Parking Lot SA provides relevant content to people from all walks of life. For those who walk, sleep, dream and live cars; or for those who have a small interest in cars – we provide news and reviews that everyone can relate to. We focus on all cars. Ranging from everyday student cars, hot hatchbacks, sports cars & even your luxury cars. If off-roading is your cup of tea, we cover SUVs and 4X4’s too.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s