By Patrick James on 2017-10-13 - The author has been a motoring writer for more than 16 years. Formerly motoring editor at the Coventry Telegraph, he now produces motoring copy, on new car launches and road tests on a freelance basis.
BMW 530d xDrive M
THE battle for supremacy in the large executive saloon sector is fiercely fought.
The good news for the driver, apart from shelling out well north of £30,000 for the privilege, is that the competition means innovation and quality are at a premium.
Take the 5 Series BMW, arguably the leader in the executive saloon segment.
It has captured a certain type of customer who like what they get and are happy to pay for it, so evolution is the key to keeping them happy.
The latest version, the seventh generation, has a newly developed modular engine range with improved efficiency in both petrol and diesel power units and the introduction of a new plug-in-hybrid model. All model feature a slick eight-speed auto box, while the M Sport model tested here features four wheel drive.
It also offers a raft of hi-tech innovations such as gesture control, while retaining its superb road manners and sporty credentials. It also offers and increase on an already spacious boot.
This particular model offers serious performance, hitting 60mph in just 5.4 seconds, yet still delivering impressive economy.
It still looks an imposing vehicle, slightly larger than its predecessor the design is slippier, with a reduced drag coefficient for better economy. Economy is further enhanced by the lighter materials used in construction which reduce weight by around 100kg.
The trademark BMW kidney grille is flanked by standard LED headlights. To the rear the light clusters reach deep into the sides of the car, while the twin exhausts which are now arranged symmetrically on both sides.
The interior feels pure executive with high-quality soft touch finish and feels much roomier with better space for rear seats passengers thanks to the increased size of the car.
The leather upholstery cushions occupants in comfort while all the latest gizmos are placed within easy reach.
The lateral layout remains with the 10.25-inch touchscreen sitting in the middle of the dash, controlled by the rotary iDrive controller. This controls major functions such as navigation, the superb sound system as well as a number of connectivity apps and other hi-tech wizardry, the list it too long list.
A neat innovation is the parking cameras which gives a 360degree view from above, makes parking a breeze and even allows for remote self-parking.
The leather seats offer excellent safety and comfort together with multi adjustability. Gesture Control, is an option which allows, by means of a sweep of the hand, altering various functions, while the latest generation of the head up display is also available as an option.
It is also packed with the very latest safety technology.
On the road the car is a joy to drive, with blistering acceleration produced by the six-cylinder 265bhp beast under the bonnet, fantastic agility and limpet like road holding, especially with the four wheel drive.
The suspension set up means the driver feels in control at all times. Floor the throttle and you will be breaking the motorway speed limit before you know it. So care is needed. it's a thrilling drive though for such a big car.
There are three easily-selectable drive modes, Sport, Comfort and Eco Pro, which automatically select the engine , steering and suspension settings required for each mode.
Despite the rip-roading pace, the interior retains a cloistered quietness, with barely a murmur from the six pot diesel except under hard acceleration, while the slippery profile means wind noise is all but absent. The only intrusion came from the large tyres which became noisy on lesser quality road.
BMW 530d xDrive M Sport
Mechanical:265bhp, 2,993cc, six cylinder diesel engine driving all four wheels via 8-speed automatic gearbox
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