BMW 520d EfficientDynamics

Cleanest version of the BMW 5 Series is also the best

Overall Auto Express Rating

5.0 out of 5

The 520d EfficientDynamics proves that you really can have your cake and eat it. Not only does it tick all the boxes for performance and luxury, but it’s also incredibly cheap to run when it comes to tax and fuel consumption. If you’re after a large executive car that’s an eco-winner but requires no compromises from the driver, this is it. And as a result, it’s undoubtedly the pick of the 5 Series range.

A luxury saloon that’s as clean and economical as the average supermini – that’s the BMW 520d EfficientDynamics.

Costing just £405 more than the standard 520d, the ultra- frugal diesel executive impressed us on European roads, but does its business case stack up in the UK? 

The 520d ED emits only 119g/km of CO2, which makes it the cleanest car in its class. Business drivers will be pleased to learn it sits in a 13 per cent benefit-in-kind band and is cheaper to tax than the most efficient diesel Audi A6 and Mercedes E-Class (both 18 per cent). It trounces the Jaguar XF diesel, too, which has a 22 per cent banding.

Private buyers, meanwhile, will be happy with the fact that road tax is free in the first year, and only £30 thereafter.

And it’s very economical, with BMW claiming 62.8mpg – up from 58.9mpg in the 520d – which gives a range of over 900 miles between fill-ups.

So how does it achieve such incredible figures? Surprisingly, there have been only a few tweaks. Visually, the only differences are a set of aerodynamic alloy wheels, which come with low-rolling- resistance tyres.

Under the skin, the 181bhp 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine is untouched, but the six-speed manual gearbox has a longer final drive ratio, which lowers engine revs, particularly on the motorway.

On the move, you’d be hard- pressed to notice the difference between this and the regular 520d. In town, you might need a touch more throttle at low revs in second gear, but once the turbo is spinning, there’s lots of punch – 0-62mph takes 8.2 seconds (just a tenth of a second longer than the 520d).

Plus, with 380Nm of torque, there’s loads of overtaking urge, too, while on the motorway the 520d ED settles to an even quieter cruise.

The only real negative is that there’s no automatic version. All the 5 Series virtues remain intact – the handling is poised, the steering precise and the ride cushioned. Regardless of whether you are a business driver or a private punter, this is the 5 Series to go for. 

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