BMW 520d Gran Turismo M Sport - First Drive

 

Engine:
2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-charged diesel

Transmission:
eight-speed automatic gearbox

Power:
184 PS

Torque:
380 Nm

Fuel
consumption
(combined cycle): 53.3 mpg

CO2
emissions
: 139g/km

Top
speed
: 132 mph

Acceleration
(0-62 mph): 8.9 seconds

Price:
£39,905 (520d Gran Turismo from £35,705

Sometimes, a perfectly acceptable car struggles because it's aimed at the wrong sort of buyer.

One of the best examples was the short, cube-like and mostly unfairly-maligned Peugeot 1007, famous for its electric sliding side doors. Peugeot designed it for the young, urban and fashionable but anyone with elderly parents could see immediately that the 1007's sliding doors, huge side openings and high seating position made it perfect for less mobile geriatric motorists who sometimes struggle to get in and out of some of the more preposterously styled modern cars with their swoopy rooflines and heavily raked pillars. If Peugeot had pushed it through Saga, it might have had a hit on its hands.

A more recent example is the BMW 5-Series Gran Turismo, which went on sale in 2009, just before the current saloon and estate versions of the 5 were introduced. With its semi-MPV shape it offered lots of head and legroom, and its big talking point was supposed to be a hinged-in-the-middle bootlid-cum-tailgate. You can either open up the whole thing, like a tailgate on a hatchback or estate, or just the lower portion, leaving the rear window in place, like a saloon. Unfortunately, Skoda got there first with the second-generation Superb, so it was their clever tailgate that everyone ended up talking about rather than BMW's.

BMW seemed to be trying to position the 5 GT as some sort of glamorous lifestyley crossover for sophisticated continentals but professional drivers took one look at its space, quality and practicality, and thought “airport chauffeur car”. Only one thing stood between the 5 GT and its true vocation - its engine line-up, which consisted of powerful petrol and diesel straight sixes rather than fuel-sipping fours.

Now, though, BMW has finally bowed to the inevitable and produced a 520d version of the 5GT with a two-litre diesel engine - and it works rather well. The first thing to say is that the 520d doesn't really feel like the poor relation of the 5 GT range. It has the same spacious, luxurious cabin as the more expensive versions – it's one of the best around – with features such as leather upholstery and a full-length glass roof as standard. It even does pretty well out on the road, with the smaller engine providing plenty of go, thanks to generous torque and an effective eight-speed automatic gearbox. More impressive still; whereas BMW's diesel fours can feel quite rough in some other models, most notably the latest 3-Series, the one in the 520d GT is very refined, although enthusiasts will still miss the burbling engine note of the diesel and petrol sixes fitted to pricier versions.

Given that the 520d accounts for about 80% of all 5-Series saloon and estate sales, it always seemed a bit odd that there was no corresponding model in the 5 GT line-up. Now that anomaly has been corrected and you can expect the 520d GT to start turning up in large numbers in an airport drop-off lane near you pretty soon.

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
Written protest: Julia Donaldson, author of The Gruffalo, has sent an open letter to the Culture Secretary
books
Arts and Entertainment
The teaser trailer has provoked more questions than answers
filmBut what is Bond's 'secret' that Moneypenny is talking about?
Sport
Lewis Hamilton secured his second straight pole of the season
f1Vettel beats Rosberg into third after thunderstorm delays qualifying
News
Johnny Depp is perhaps best known for his role as Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean
peopleBut how did he break it?
Sport
footballDoes Hodgson's England team have an identity yet?
Travel
travel Dreamland Margate, Britain’s oldest amusement park, is set to reopen
News
news
News
Founders James Brown and Tim Southwell with a mock-up of the first ever ‘Loaded’ magazine in 1994
media
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

    £32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped commission: SThree: Does earning a 6 figu...

    Recruitment Genius: SEO Executive

    £18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: New Lift Sales Executive - Lift and Elevators

    £35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A challenging opportunity for a...

    Day In a Page

    The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

    The saffron censorship that governs India

    Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
    Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

    Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

    Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
    Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

    How did fandom get so dark?

    Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
    The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

    The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

    Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
    The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

    Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

    Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
    Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

    Disney's mega money-making formula

    'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
    Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

    Lobster has gone mainstream

    Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
    Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

    14 best Easter decorations

    Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
    Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

    Paul Scholes column

    Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
    Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

    The future of GM

    The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
    Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

    Britain's mild winters could be numbered

    Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
    Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

    The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

    The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
    Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

    Cowslips vs honeysuckle

    It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
    Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

    Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

    A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss