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Old 7th April 2011, 02:58   #1
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Default BMW 520d Initial Ownership Report EDIT: Transmission Breakdown in 520d

Title 'inspired by' Ravich's http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/test-d...laura-tsi.html (BMW 320d CE Initial Ownership Experience and a comparison to Laura TSi) While he focused on the 'drive' aspects, I tried to focus on the regular buyer's point of view in terms of luxury and comfort. I am not much of a driver though I like cars - I belong to the 99% :-) Also I tried not to repeat what has already been covered in the excellent review report by GTO here: http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/offici...ve-review.html (BMW 525d : Test Drive & Review)

Decisions decisions!:
After toying with lot of options and going through the several posts on the forum, finally bought home BMW 520d (f10) on last Saturday 02-April (on the day India won ICC World Cup 2011) after parting with 50L (37,22,800 Ex-Showroom, 19.8% road tax, 90K insurance, 60K BMW Secure, 35K handling, 3L BSI 5yrs/100K km)

The new car itch started with an intention to replace my Laura (2007 L&K). Had a budget of ~30L. After considering Superb, used BMW-5, used A4 3.0 TDI, etc. I dropped the idea of upgrade altogether because either Bangalore used car scene is really sad, or the new cars within my budget were not appealing enough. Few weeks went by. Itch still persisted. I thought instead of making it a personal car purchase I should make it a family purchase. More budget and less guilty feeling. Family purchase proposals were thwarted in the past. They see it as a big waste of money. So to avoid getting thwarted again, I decided to book the car without telling anyone. It's easier to ask for forgiveness than it is to get permission.

The idea was to buy an entry level luxury sedan and BMW 520D seemed like an obvious choice. 530D is nearly 10L more expensive in Bangalore. E-class exterior design was a deal breaker. BMW has excellent maintenance package. A6 is due for replacement. The f10 styling is just perfect - doesn't scream and yet looks the money. So BMW 520D it is. I bought this car without a TD. In fact I didn't TD any car for this purchase. Power of team-bhp! This is such a strong package in the BMW/Merc/Audi range as of now. BSI (service package) and BMW Secure will ease the tension of owning these cars. BMW is more aggressive in the market and they have plans to offer BSI packages for longer than 5 years in future. Internationally this package is available for 10yrs/200K km I think.

Pics:
Wanted to take better pics, will do it during some trip. The domestic background is not that inspiring :-)
BMW 520d Initial Ownership Report EDIT: Transmission Breakdown in 520d-520dimg_4484.jpg

BMW 520d Initial Ownership Report EDIT: Transmission Breakdown in 520d-520dimg_4520.jpg

The exterior colour is "sapphire black" which is the only black available for 520D and it is actually a lighter shade of black. I would have preferred "Jet Black" but it is not available in India. For instance, Laura looks deep black even at close up. Like central 'channel?' on the hood. Exceptionally clean and elegant design all around. Some may find it bland, but no one ever say it is ugly in any culture/year.
BMW 520d Initial Ownership Report EDIT: Transmission Breakdown in 520d-520dimg_4448.jpg

The cinnamon brown interiors is a bit reddish under certain lighting situations, so you better check it in person before picking this colour. Had it been a darker shade of brown, it would have been awesome. If I have choose an interior colour again, I would probably go with this same colour. It is a trade off between beige and black. Like the dark wood trim. Laura L&K plastics are very good and 520D plastics are much better. Money well spent. Interior space is so-so when you consider the large exterior dimensions.
BMW 520d Initial Ownership Report EDIT: Transmission Breakdown in 520d-520dimg_4474.jpg

Buying experience:
Happy ending but had a rough ride dealing with Navnit motors Bangalore.

Called up the showroom and asked them about the availability of 520d. They said "blue with beige interior" color choice is available. Asked them to block it for me and collect the cheque for booking amount. Later in the day I was informed that the blue car was allotted to someone else because multiple sales people were working on the same pool of cars. Bad start.

They informed me there are no more cars available before March-31 because this is last week of March and it is mad rush. I was shocked to know that these cars move so fast off the shelf! They promised me they will do everything possible to get me a car. Next day I get a call informing me that "black with brown" is available. I asked them to book it for me and made the advance payment. Told the sales people that I would like to see the car before paying the rest of the money. They said just to arrange this car for me they did a dealer swap and it is in transit and more importantly since it is a dealer swap, and they are taking a lot of trouble to get me the car - they can't give me discount beyond the token discount. Getting worse. My panic antenna is now fully deployed. A week goes by, no sign of car.

Sales person told me it was March 31st and she had to invoice the car or new pricing would be applicable so have to make the complete payment. She promises me that they won't pass off bad cars to customers. More tension. Still transferred the full amount through RTGS.

Next day (1-April) I got a call to inspect the car at their main showroom on the outskirts. I reached the showroom and informed the front desk. No one came to show me around. Made a scene and eventually someone came and showed the car allotted to me. Car was all looking good except for the lousy polish marks that I have resigned to accept during every car purchase. I asked for shipment delivery papers to verify when the vehicle was delivered to the Bangalore showroom. It showed 05-March!! ***!! Unless they were doing april-fool on me. I blasted everyone and wanted an explanation from super boss for not delivering the vehicle if it had been with them for so long. After the usual "oops sorry" boss said allotments keep shuffling because some people who block cars don't pick them up. He promised to deliver the car by next day 11AM.

Car delivered next day (2-April) by noon. We all drove back home in the new car. I checked the VIN decoder through some internet site and it said production month is Dec/2010. Ooops!! Serious ooops. Waited for the long weekend to get over. Spoke to few people and tried to ascertain the production month. Spoke to our Lawyer to see what should be my course of action in case it is indeed Dec/2010 when they have promised and documented it to be March/2011. After a tense several hours it was confirmed that it is a Feb/2011 car. *Phew*!! Following picture shows where to find the production month for BMWs sold in India. Look for a two letter code. Mine is BB, (Feb 2011).

BMW 520d Initial Ownership Report EDIT: Transmission Breakdown in 520d-bmw_e90_3series_01.jpg

Note about BMW Secure and BSI (BMW Service Inclusive):
BMW Secure is add-on option to the regular insurance. It offers the equivalent of zero-depreciation insurance including run-flat tyre damage coverage, hydrolock engine damage, breakdown assistance within 100KM of covered cities, hotel/taxi compensation outside 100KM range. I have not seen a better insurance coverage. This is a global program by BMW and not specific to India. Some insurance companies started offering zero-depreciation add-ons so might be worth checking out. But it is better to take dealer insurance because the claims would be hassle free. BMW Secure is 'supported' by Allianz globally and Bajaj Allianze in India but it can only be bought from the dealer and not from Bajaj Allianz.

BMW Service Inclusive: BSI is also a global program by BMW and not specific to India. It comes in three flavours globally (BSI, BSI Plus, BSI Ultimate) and the term can be up to 10 years/200K km. However in India, BMW only offers BSI Plus and BSI Ultimate for a maximum period of 5yrs/100K km. BSI Plus covers all maintenance and wear-and-tear expenses (consumables like oil, wear-and-tear like brakes, clutch) but does not cover repairs. BSI Ultimate will also cover repairs ("Warranty prolongation" or "extended warranty") including labour costs for such repairs.

BSI packages can be purchased anytime, however the package validity (no. years/no. KMs) will be counted right from the start of delivery. So if you buy 5yr/100KM km package on a 4yr old car with 70K km, you will be paying the full price of 5yr/100K km package but will only have 1yr/30K km validity left.

Another important information. BSI price is decided by the BMW global and hence it is non-negotiable. Spend your negotiation efforts on other heads like ex-showroom price, etc. See the attached price list for BSI.
BMW 520d Initial Ownership Report EDIT: Transmission Breakdown in 520d-bsi-pakage.jpg

Brief ownership experience:

To be seen in the context of a Laura owner. I tried not to repeat what has been said in other posts.

Apprehensions I had:
Size: If you have driven Corolla/Laura size car, you can easily drive 520D without any hesitation from the very first minute.
4-pot 2L engine: Power is not an issue at all (of course it won't do crazy 0-100kmph) and it is very easy to drive in the city, on the highway, etc. Poor refinement though, it will remind you that you are driving a 4-pot diesel. Smooth power delivery unlike my PD engine on Laura.
Visibility: Good visibility including the ability to see the massive hood.
Ride on run-flats: No worries in this edition. Ride is very good. Have to find a solution for the spare - long drives with no-spare is not acceptable.
Fun factor with A/T: No match for MT. Sudden overtaking might be an issue.
Can I tell RWD vs FWD: Cornering is unmistakably far superior.
A/C better than Laura: Yes. Laura AC is super weak.

Pleasant surprises:
1. Auto-hold is very good. I am using it most of the time.
2. Has a "passenger airbag off" option (between front passenger door and the dash)
3. Has valet key (to lock your glove box, etc. with valuables)
4. No plastic beading anywhere. Plastic beading shows age and hard to do wax job.
5. No wiper nozzles on the hood unlike E60 (easy to wax the hood)
6. When you call Bajaj Allianz the IVR menu says "Press 6 for BMW". Cool :-)

Unpleasant surprises:
1. No dead pedal for right foot. I can rest my right foot in Laura (has dead pedal) and Fabia (has gap next to the pedal with slope)
2. No parking ticket holder on the windshield
3. No shopping hooks, luggage net in the boot
4. Steering wheel blocks information display on the instrument cluster. They should have used the upper half of instrument cluster for this info.
5. Too little information displayed, I would prefer to see fuel consumption in front of me (iDrive display is too far)
6. Seat memory buttons should have been on the seat base instead of door panel.
7. Indicator stalk doesn't stay 'pressed' and 'return' after the turn is complete. It returns immediately but blinking stops after the turn. Indicate-by-wire, eh?
8. Seat belts feel cheap, tight, color-mismatch (black belt on brown leather), without height adjustment
9. No bottle holders?
10. My colour sapphire black is a lighter shade of black. "Jet Black" is BMW's darkest black shade and it is not available in India. If I am putting up with black colour, I would rather take the deepest black!
11. Poor GC for Bangalore roads. Complete halt recommended while going over blore-signature humps.
12. Laura underbody is way more rugged than BMW. In case of Laura, rear suspension is completely enclosed, whole underbody has metal plate shielding. BMW underbody looks more exposed. Laura also has fantastic GC.
13. Driver headroom is barely enough?
14. BMW India has no customer support phone number. Just an email which always attempts to route you to the dealer first.

Missing equipment at this budget:
1. Goodies for the rear passengers (AC controls, ICE remote, etc.) - who will buy 7 eh? 530d has rear entertainment but no rear AC controls!
2. Spare tyre thingy - must for a long drive (apparently E60 space saver touches the brakes when fitted on f10 without spacers, need to investigate)
3. Heated seats? (have used them on Laura on early winter morning drives, but not such a big deal)

Few takeaways:
1. AT cars can never be as much fun as MT (for me). This is very bad news for me, MT and Luxury seem to be mutually exclusive in Indian market.
2. VW/Skoda cars are great cars for the money (and they have MT). I am not overwhelmed by a 50 Lakh BMW car because my 4 years old Laura L&K had nearly all the features and some more thoughtful bits. Of course 520D >> Laura, no doubt. But bulk of the price difference is due to brand value which I was fully aware of before buying as it was meant for the family. But for someone not keen on BMW brand, say for a personal daily driver car, compelling options exist at a lower price point.
3. Don't buy during 'rush-hour' months and make sure refund option exists till the end. Use emails and avoid phone for documetary proof. I did not find anything premium in the sales experience - except of course no one was rude even when I lost my temper. What should have been a simple walk-in buy, turned out to be a near disaster.
4. Bangalore used car market is hopeless. And the crazy road tax makes it prohibitive to buy the car from outside.
5. If 530D had rear AC controls and a spare-tyre option, I would have gone for it. Right now 6-pot engine is the only significant attraction.

Many thanks to the following members for helping me at various stages during this purchase:
ajmat, diffsoft, PlatzdaTurbo, PY1963, Ricky_63, S350L-E240

Turned out to be a lengthy post, hope you enjoyed reading it!!

Last edited by suhaas307 : 28th January 2012 at 22:36. Reason: As per your reported post.
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Old 7th April 2011, 10:03   #2
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Default re: BMW 520d Initial Ownership Report EDIT: Transmission Breakdown in 520d

Nice pics and enjoyed reading it. The BSI packages look attractive to keep one tension free. I hope I follow your car choices sometime in the future

Look forward to more reports.

Cheers,
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Old 7th April 2011, 11:18   #3
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Default re: BMW 520d Initial Ownership Report EDIT: Transmission Breakdown in 520d

Wow, its To the mark review. Very well composed indeed . Loved the beauty in the first pic. Enjoy the ride to the fullest.
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Old 7th April 2011, 12:03   #4
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Default re: BMW 520d Initial Ownership Report EDIT: Transmission Breakdown in 520d

Quote:
Originally Posted by androdev View Post
Unpleasant surprises:
1. No dead pedal for right foot. I can rest my right foot in Laura (has dead pedal) and Fabia (has gap next to the pedal with slope)
Hi sir, Congratulations for purchasing a great car. Hope you have enjoy the car to the fullest.
But as quoted above, dead pedal for right foot? Why is that?
Or was that meant to be left foot? And doesn't the 5 series have a dead pedal for the left foot?
Thanks for clarifying in advance.
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Old 7th April 2011, 13:06   #5
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Default re: BMW 520d Initial Ownership Report EDIT: Transmission Breakdown in 520d

Wow!! Awesome review!! Congratulations!
Do enjoy her to the fullest and post some more pics.
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Old 7th April 2011, 13:11   #6
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Default re: BMW 520d Initial Ownership Report EDIT: Transmission Breakdown in 520d

Quote:
Originally Posted by eshwar.mohan View Post
Hi sir, Congratulations for purchasing a great car. Hope you have enjoy the car to the fullest.
But as quoted above, dead pedal for right foot? Why is that?
Or was that meant to be left foot? And doesn't the 5 series have a dead pedal for the left foot?
Thanks for clarifying in advance.
Thanks diffsoft, neoonwheels and eshwar for your wishes. You can see the right dead pedal on Laura here. BMW doesn't have one. It is a bit inconvenient at long traffic signals.

BMW 520d Initial Ownership Report EDIT: Transmission Breakdown in 520d-dsc01049.jpg
BMW 520d Initial Ownership Report EDIT: Transmission Breakdown in 520d-img_0094.jpg

Last edited by androdev : 7th April 2011 at 13:13.
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Old 7th April 2011, 13:24   #7
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Default re: BMW 520d Initial Ownership Report EDIT: Transmission Breakdown in 520d

Your review is from a different angle, but thats way it should be, all of us want different perspectives. And it has cleared few of my questions too. A good review nonetheless. One thing I want to ask you is, how much different is it driving the 6 cylinder one from your perspective?
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Old 7th April 2011, 13:30   #8
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Default re: BMW 520d Initial Ownership Report EDIT: Transmission Breakdown in 520d

Congrats androdev !

Super report for a super car ! You heft roadtax does ruin the part, for that kind of money you could have got a 530d elsewhere. Nonetheless you made a good choice.

I am glad BMW has put more attention to the interiors. I have the a similar natural brown color seats in my 520d but I was disappointed that just the seats and door pads had that colors. The lower part of the dash, door handles,carpet,etc remained black. Whereas beige and grey interior options had full color matching treatments. However with your car BMW has matched the color all over the interiors which is a good sign, no cost cutting has been done like in the past.
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Old 7th April 2011, 14:40   #9
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Congrats on this lustful beauty. At times my dreams are scripted with me in a beamer on a high speed chase, while in seventh heaven I can feel the torque and the blood rush on the slightest twitch of the acc-pedal and boy you have it for real, vow !

Living in Bangalore its really hard to digest the 20% odd road tax, more like day light robbery that too on a car of this stature - 7 lakhs as tax . You have a big heart to donate so much of your hard earned cash to 'The Govt. of Karnataka', commendable. The GC issue seems to be a pain in most luxury sedans. As you rightly mentioned a flight over Bangalore signature humps would require F1 level concentration and control. I wish like Parktronic and Tiptronic someone thought about Humpotronic. It could prove to be a major selling point.

Congrats again and concentrate on the hump ahead.
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Old 7th April 2011, 15:20   #10
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Default re: BMW 520d Initial Ownership Report EDIT: Transmission Breakdown in 520d

Quote:
Originally Posted by EP. View Post
Your review is from a different angle, but thats way it should be, all of us want different perspectives. And it has cleared few of my questions too. A good review nonetheless. One thing I want to ask you is, how much different is it driving the 6 cylinder one from your perspective?
I have not driven the 530d. Based on the few other cars I have driven (india, abroad, etc.) I am reasonably qualified to comment on this :-)

Top speed: 530d will get to 200+ (I really wonder why any one would drive at 200+ in India) effortlessly. 520d will get there eventually. But high speed driving in India is very treacherous - those who have paid the price would know what I mean. 530D doesn't get a better chassis or brakes or any other safety harness compared to 520D. So in theory, factor of safety is better on 520D. I drove some V6 cars in USA and it was frustrating to drive those awesome cars within those speed limits! Here in India, we have speed limits imposed by traffic congestion, bad roads, etc. and it is equally frustrating.

Acceleration: 530D will be outstanding. And you will enjoy it at every opportunity you get. But 530D being an automatic, the joy is significantly diluted (at least for me).

Power Delivery and Refinement: This is probably the strongest reason for a regular driver to buy a 530D. Ample power all through the RPM range and no over-working-noise/vibrations. Butter smooth ride with superlative refinement.

Fuel efficiency and tank range: Even if you don't care about the fuel bills, you will be rewarded with a superior tank range with 520D.

Snob value and other emotional reasons: Well, we are in the BMW territory so might as well get the top-end to show that you have a real BMW. They say if not buying a 6-cylinder why bother buying a BMW. If not quattro why bother buying an Audi, etc. That is all enthusiast talk, doesn't reflect in sales. Btw, 2L diesel happens to be the best 4-pot and can be considered an exception to the rule of "BMW must be a 6-cylinder"

In summary, had it been a manual transmission 530D would have seriously tempted me. Given it is an AT, then I am paying more for 530D mainly for the refinement and smoothness and getting a lower tank range. No extra kit either.

This is just my opinion ;-)
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Old 7th April 2011, 17:22   #11
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Default re: BMW 520d Initial Ownership Report EDIT: Transmission Breakdown in 520d

Wow! That first pic! Awesome!

Super car! Congrats and please post some more pics. This is a super eye candy!
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Old 7th April 2011, 19:33   #12
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Default re: BMW 520d Initial Ownership Report EDIT: Transmission Breakdown in 520d

Congrats on your supercar androdev !! The first pic is TOPCLASS !!

I thought in 5 series, the gear can be pushed to the left extreme or so to make it manual !! Had seen that in OverDrive TD of some 5 series!! Dont you have this option in 520D ?

And yeah, the Bangy Road Tax plays a spoilsport !! Forgot to wish you MILES & MILES OF SAFE & TROUBLE FREE MOTORING !!
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Old 7th April 2011, 20:57   #13
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Default re: BMW 520d Initial Ownership Report EDIT: Transmission Breakdown in 520d

Congrats androdev on the fantastic and practical purchase. You say BMW offer a darker shade of black internationally but i dont know if its the pictures but this shade of black looks dark and classy enough for me as well.
You are right in saying that the 530d would have provided the ultimate driver satisfaction experience but trust me ,this 520d will keep you more than satisfied.
Enjoy her
Cheers
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Old 7th April 2011, 21:22   #14
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Default re: BMW 520d Initial Ownership Report EDIT: Transmission Breakdown in 520d

Congrats on the car, neatly written.

And oh, the first pic is my wallpaper,please don't mind
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Old 7th April 2011, 21:59   #15
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Default re: BMW 520d Initial Ownership Report EDIT: Transmission Breakdown in 520d

Nice report androdev. Well written, and yes, awesome pics. I absolutely love the cinnamon brown interiors. Nice choice!

Quote:
Originally Posted by sachinj12 View Post
And oh, the first pic is my wallpaper,please don't mind
Mine too.

Happy mile clocking! Congrats on the car.
Cheers!
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