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Nick83a

The never ending 520d questions / rant!

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As a 520d owner I thought I could hopefully give something back to the forum and I would imagine it’s ideal for my fellow lurkers here!! It’s not technical I’m afraid as luckily I have only had to do one proper job to mine which was replace the turbo do if anyone needs pointers with that let me know.

 

Anyway, I searched long and hard for my 520d M Sport and it was hard not getting a 530d M Sport touring or even the 525d M Sport Touring which I was close to getting but it was out of budget. Sole income and a family of 5 I have to think about things like the price different on maintenance, mpg, insurance etc which I admit isn’t huge but a few savings here and there creates a better lure fishing budget!! However we have all seen the questions many of time and we have asked them about the 520d, should I or shouldn’t I. Essentially will I still be manly if I have a “poverty spec” 4 pot diesel?? Will it be slow  as hell?? Will it sound terrible compared to the 6 pot versions? The list of questions goes on and on and round and round but hopefully I can offer some advice to those in the same position as I was.


Yes, Yes, Yes and Yes but the damn 520d and here is why......

 

If you’re the type of gentleman like me who asks the MPG question then you have no place in anything other than the 520d for your daily!! Living in a rural and hilly area but fun to drive I can use a lot of fuel quite easily but the 520d really can make it quite reasonable but put it on the motorway and you really do appreciate the distance you can cover on a budget.  Last year we drove down to the south of France and we managed the trip down there on a tank and 15 litres. That’s 5 up, loads of luggage, a drive through sight seeing tour of Paris and let’s be honest who hasn’t chipped on a bit when in France!

 

Next up is one that bothered me a lot and is it underpowered? This one is tricky to answer because it is and it isn’t. In terms of what the car capable of the yes it is massively. The 6 pot boys will be grinning now! Seriously the M5 is a beast and of course the other larger engines but in the real world and daily driving then the 520d I not to be discredited!!! I think this also comes back to MPG for some as well but I can’t confirm as I haven’t had the chance to speak to other drivers. When I went to view and buy my 520d M Sport saloon we travelled down to Cornwall in my wife’s E87 118d, just outside of Exeter we went past a stunning 535d touring M Sport. It was stunning but we were going past it quite rapidly within the limits well plus 10%. Now this isn’t a one off I regularly go past many other 535d, and scores of 530d’s and I can only presume while I’m tanking along at 50+ MPG but making good progress they aren’t quite so fortunate!

 

Will it be fun? For this you have to define fun for you. For me I have owned a large variety of fun cars many of you will have owned. A long list of Golf GTIs, 205 GTIs 1.6 and 1.9s, numerous e36s and a stunning e46 325ci M Sport. The list goes on but most of these cars have one thing in common is that you can quite easily drive them on or near the limit everyday!! I can see honestly say when I am alone in the car you really can make it shift. Many of you asking these questions will be new to BMWs and maybe even rear wheel drive so the 520d makes perfect sense. Learn how to extract the performance out of the lesser engine before building up.  I find mine handles like a dream, well the 19inch spiders don’t like bunt country roads but it a great car through the corners just get your line balance the throttle and kiss the apex and boom. You will forget most the questions you asked especially when you fill up and they are quite agile for big cars!!

 

If you’re asking these questions just give it a whirl but go for the sport as it’s a nice place to sit!

 

On a serious note after saying all that I wouldn’t mind a 530d touring M Sport!!

 

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Well I have a e61 530d m sport & you won't be coming past me on the motorway ;)

Unless I'm pulling off then I generally slow down to 85ish.

Can't see the point in a big, powerful car & then drive everywhere at 60 so I can get 50 mpg :P

Mine gives 45mpg at 80 - 85 only when pushing past 90 does it start to drop below to 40 mpg.

I've driven both & know what I want plus it's for towing our 1600kg caravan :ph34r:

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My last 5 was a 520D touring, with the M47 2 litre engine. And i would say that variant is certainly underpowered. To get the best out of it, and its performance you had to drive it like a petrol and use the revs. Lower down in the speeds you could surf the torque band, it is not enough at higher speeds to quickly gain speeds - dropping down a gear is far more efficient. You also felt that the engine was continuously working, it was always at mid range (if that makes sense) and you have to be aware of where you are in the rev range. Perhaps in an auto it is slightly different, but i don't think it would be much different. 

I say all that in comparison to my 530D. Where you can feel the engine is ticking along nicely and is not stressed 70% of the time. Only when you're increasing the speeds from 30> with hard acceleration it is, but even where surfing the torque wave from 40>60 you can tell the engine is easily adapting to the increase. 

The main differences i feel/have found is i feel the weight up front more with the bigger engine vs the 520D, so handling wise the front end does not feel as nimble when on fun roads. But the counter to this is the bigger engine gives good stability at the higher speeds and under heavy braking. Pulling out of junctions, the 530 has me all day long - more than enough power to move 1.8 tons of metal with ease. The 520, as mentioned above, you had to really work it to get that momentum going. 

A big car like the 5 series needs a torquey motor, and the 2L in the E6X series only had a top of 250ish lb ft. 300, IMO,  is the right number to make the drive more effortless and easier on the engine/gearbox. 

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You mentioned 50mpg on the motorway while making progress. 
my 30d LCI auto does better on fuel at 90mph than it does 70mph. At 90 it’ll sit at about 47mpg. The turbo is going, the TQ is spinning giving momentum. All is good. It’s start and stop where the average of it drops loads. But even then, mixed driving with my average speed at 37mph my 30d gets 35.3mpg (on the computer). 

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I've often thought that slower (ie 57mph) may not nessarily mean better mpg. Does anyone know at what revs the 177bhp N47 20d is most efficient in top gear?

Sent from my YAL-L41 using Tapatalk

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17 minutes ago, sarahMtony said:

I've often thought that slower (ie 57mph) may not nessarily mean better mpg. Does anyone know at what revs the 177bhp N47 20d is most efficient in top gear?

Sent from my YAL-L41 using Tapatalk
 

What gearbox you have would be a factor. Autos tend to do higher mpg when engine is spinning a bit quicker. 

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