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BMW 530i

Written By Nathen Bridgwater on Monday, November 14, 2011 | 10:54 AM

It's been four years since BMW's current 5-Series made its first appearance on the Australian stage. But while the passing of time has brought stronger, fresher rivals it remains the standout choice for luxury buyers, outgunning all to take the bestselling gong in its segment last year. Now we have a new, revised 5-Series to ponder, but don't go looking for major visual clues. While BMW has fiddled with the headlights, grille and tail-lights, the new Five looks much the same as before.
 
The 530i's majestic 3.0-litre straight six now pumps out more power, jumping 10 kW to 200 kW. The six-speed automatic has been extensively revised and picks up the trick electronic shifter first seen in the new X5. The result is even stronger performance. There are no holes to be found in the 3.0-litre six's power delivery, just a single, linear sweep that grows stronger in proportion to the revs used. It's butter-smooth, even when screaming towards its lofty 7000 rpm rev limit, and sounds fantastic. While ultra-keen drivers might prefer a manual gearbox, the mandatory six-speed auto isn't a ticket to Boredom County. Shifts are smooth, swift and it's not easily confused. The new joystick shifter, though, feels a bit plasticky when shifting manually.

But fuel economy is brilliant. We averaged an impressive 9.8 L/100 km on test, close to the official claim and a match for some four-cylinder vehicles we've tested. One obvious improvement over early Fives is ride quality, with our test car doing a decent, if not amazing, job of soaking up the kind of low-speed urban bumps that made their presence felt in the old car. BMW cites improved run-flat tyres, but our car's set-up - it ran standard suspension and 17-inch wheels, where others we've driven have touted a sports suspension and 18s - might have had something to do with it.

 BMW 530i
 BMW 530i Interior
 BMW 530i
 BMW 530i
 BMW 530i
 BMW 530i
 BMW 530i
BMW 530i
 BMW 530i
 BMW 530i
 BMW 530i
 BMW 530i
 BMW 530i
 BMW 530i
 BMW 530i
 BMW 530i
 BMW 530i
 BMW 530i
 BMW 530i
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