BEHIND THE WHEEL: BMW 528i M
SUNDAY NOVEMBER 9, 2014
A 2012 528i from BMW has dipped close to a very interesting 250 thousand which begs for my curiosity. The 2-litre engine costs a fifth to tax and is impressive for being faster than the 3-litre it replaces. The first venue I went excavating was BMW's premium selection. There were quite a bunch to choose from pre-face lifted to 2014 registered ones that's equipped with adaptive LED headlamps, Harman Kardon sound system, new alloys and new steering wheel. Prices are down from 420 to 370 which isn't bad at all.
Bucks aside, I wanted to know how 6.2-second feels like to a hundred so I had the man moving a 520i that's in the way for me to drive a 528i. Initial impression was that the F10 is huge and starting off in comfort mode does make it drive like a cake. After 300 meters of imprinting, the salesperson had it going in sport mode before we approached some twisty bits. I drove on the safer side of the spectrum as its huge proportions is not very inviting on B roads.
Too large for its own good
Highly questionable acceleration time
0-100 km/h: 6.2s
Top speed: 250km/h
"The most impressive thing in this ultimate driving machine
is its adaptive dampers "
What impressed me the most was the ride quality, even on sports mode it was nowhere near uncomfortable. When I had it unleashed on the straights, it felt neither fast nor scary. It could be due to great insulation from the outside world.. or it is lacking in cylinders. The transmission was fast but isn’t as slick being pitted against the best of dual clutches. That aside, needles and gauges that have been replaced with a screen is pixelated and not as crisp as the one in a third generation Audi TT.
A strange discovery is that the same engine that is also used in a 328i sounded coarse but being put into a 528i, it sounded creamier like a 6 cylinders. Then again, it could be injected through the speakers like in an M5. As I was pushing the car through a roundabout, there was only understeer and no thanks to the itchy-fingered salesperson, sports + was not activated as most of my attention was paid chauffeuring this humongous car quickly.
Driving like your pants are on fire is only doable during public holidays or in the wee hours which brings me to the importance of a in-car sound system. We so often spend our time in the traffic thus what is another 10% for a state of the art sound system because BMW have always made terrible speakers. Disappointingly, the upgraded Harman Kardon couldn’t come close to the Bose system fitted to an Audi A6. If only the local dealers would offer the full-on Bang Olufsen as an option since the 5 deserves proper high fidelity system.
As a whole, it was a positive experience where I very much appreciate the level of comfort an F10 delivers. Since it is not meant to go mad on the straights or finding itself eating up the bends, why not pick the 520i that hovers about 320 thousand after having the same procedure done. The 520 loses to a 528 only on power, M cosmetics and head-up display which we can live without. As for the Harman Kardon system, it should be left on the shelves in their factory. The cheaper car may lack in non-essential items but more than makes up for it in value.