|27th August 2015, 15:28||#1|
BMW 530d M-Sport (F10) : My pre-worshipped beast
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|27th August 2015, 15:29||#2|
Re: BMW 530d M-Sport (F10) : My Pre-Worshipped Beast
Last edited by GTO : 3rd October 2015 at 16:09.
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|27th August 2015, 15:31||#3|
Re: BMW 530d M-Sport (F10) : My Pre-Worshipped Beast
After experiencing the ferocious acceleration, my inner circle has started referring to this car as The Beast. Many thanks to Rudra Sen for these beautiful exterior shots!
There were only 4 broad requirements for the next car of my garage:
3. Good looks.
The specific model was even simpler = BMW F10 5-Series. I've been a huge fan of this sedan since driving it for our 525d / 530d Official Reviews. Not that the previous-gen 530d was any less a car, but I just couldn't fathom looking at the E60's weird face in my garage (I hate Bangle's designs).
For a while, I toyed around with the idea of a majestic W126 or the gangster W140 (2nd & 3rd gen S-Class, respectively). The main problem is they're too old! The mechanically-simple W126s are usually 25 - 30 years old, while the complex W140 (which mechanics refuse to touch or understand) are between 15 - 20 years old. 2 decades is typically the end of life for an automobile. I drove some examples a couple of years back and it was a classic 'never meet your heroes' situation. The way these old cars are today, they drive like tired & sloppy old girls (and not the 'tanks' we refer to them as). Even a used Skoda Superb drives better / tighter than them! Of course, you can get the ol' Mercs back to past glory, although that requires a full restoration from the ground up. I already have a project car (my 18 year old Jeep) and was unwilling to make the time investment into another one. Sourcing parts, getting the right labour, troubleshooting online etc. take up a lot of effort, and the perfect build could run up to 20 lakhs over the cost of the car. Maybe at a later point in life, but not right now.
When I saw the F10 5-Series for the first time in person at the Grand Hyatt unveiling, I was in love. Finally, I thought to myself, comes a German sedan with timeless styling. The clean & proportionate design greatly appeals to my tastes. The only other sedan that makes me turn my head around is the beautiful Audi A6. I must say that I was very tempted by a couple of A6 3.0 TDIs on the block. Never considered the W212 E-Class as I find its styling quirky (boring to drive too), while the Jaguar XF has a poor reputation for reliability. Club that with Jaguar's horrible after-sales service and it was immediately off the list. The leaping cat has a long, long way to go in India before it becomes a strong contender.
This class of sedan is just the right size too; the 3-Series / C-Class / A4 are too small to be proper luxury cars, while the 7-Series / S-Class / A8 limousines are too big for someone in his thirties. Additionally, the long wheelbases of the 7-Series & company take driving pleasure away. Not that you miss out on anything either; this F10 5-Series is basically a shortened 7-Series. They're built on the same platform and share a majority of mechanical parts. It's nearly the same car with a smaller wheelbase. Trivia: BMW uses a modified version of this platform on the Rolls-Royce Ghost!
In short, alternatives considered = None.
Buying new was never an option. For the same money, what new car could I have bought? Thanks to ridiculous overpricing by the Germans, ~40 lakhs on the road gets you cars like the A4 & 3-Series (top-end variants) and the Mercedes C-Class (lowest variant). Heck, the small A3's fully loaded trim & Toyota Camry Hybrid cost north of 40 lakhs. Car to car, none of these can match a 530d. They didn't meet the 6-cylinder requirement either.
My love for the 530d aside, it just had to be practical to own. BMW's 6 year / 120,000 kms extended warranty option was a major draw. I was further encouraged by what BMW owners had to say about the brand's reliability. FlyingSpur has had a good experience with his 5+ year old 320d, as has Sahil with his 7 year old E60 525d (both cars have done between 75,000 - 100,000 kms). Specific to the F10 5-Series, this is what owners had to say:
No, I don't expect it to be a Toyota Corolla, but BMW's reliability appears to be better than that of Mercedes & Audi. I decided to buy the latest model I could get my hands on. The more years that the model has been in production, the lesser the odds of niggles & problems. For instance, there was a major difference in the reliability of our 2003 & 2005 W203 C-Class'. Why so? Inexplicably, just like we see with Tata & Mahindra products, German luxury marques take at least 2 years of the model being in production to iron out all the bugs. My BMW is a 2013 build; its mechanicals are nearly identical to the F01 7-Series which has been in production since 2008. That's a lot of time for BMW to sort out the teething issues. The F10 itself has been on sale since 2010, so a 2013 build would be nice & settled.
The M-Sport versions are perhaps the final update to the F10 before the next-generation car comes in. I don't like the new design language of BMW though, especially the way that the headlamps merge with the grille. We saw it first on the latest 3-Series, and it seems that trend will continue with the 2017 5-Series (link to image).
Last edited by GTO : 27th August 2015 at 16:51.
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|27th August 2015, 15:33||#4|
Re: BMW 530d M-Sport (F10) : My Pre-Worshipped Beast
Love the long bonnet + short boot look. The sheer 4.9 meter length makes it longer than a Safari Storme & Fortuner!
I started screening the used market only recently, and ended up with the right 530d in a relatively short span of time. The time taken from search to delivery was less than the waiting period of some new cars like the Elite i20, Polo GT & Octavia TSI. What's more, I've been lucky to get factory warranty for the last 3 cars that I've bought pre-worshipped (1st-gen City Vtec, Civic MT and this BMW). All 3 have had low mileage too (respective km readings were 3000, 7000 and 19,000). They've been relatively "safe" used cars in that sense.
During my search, three things stood out immediately. One, there was a plethora of 520ds, E250s & A6 2.0 TDIs available. Because of the massive price difference between the 4 & 6 cylinder variants, over 90% of folk stick with the smaller engine. Through the eyes of the common man, they're essentially the same car, yet 10 - 15 lakhs cheaper, more fuel-efficient and have lower service bills. 6-cylinder 5-Series & E-Class are becoming a rare breed.
The second thing I noticed is the w-i-d-e playing field. In the 30 - 50 lakh window, pre-owned choices are endless. You can have any kind of car you want (including 2 doors & convertibles) with whatever engine you lust for (up to V10 petrols & diesels). Just across the lane was a lovely 2009 BMW 750Li with a 4.4L turbo-petrol! Company maintained and in immaculate condition. It had been on sale for over 6 months with an asking price of 32 lakhs, albeit no one was biting. The 750's engine has a notorious reputation. Then, there was a stunning 2011 S500 (V8 petrol, asking 40 lakhs), innumerable Audi Q7s, an older Porsche or two and a Jaguar XF-R V8 petrol for only 24 lakhs. Among BMWs, there were two fast E60 M5s (troublesome SMG gearboxes keep everyone away). I could go on & on, but you get the gist. In the same price range, you probably have 20 new cars to choose from. In the pre-worshipped market, it's more like 200 models.
The third was how sibling dynamics change with time. An S-Class might cost twice the money of an E-Class in the showroom. However, once it's 5 years old, that gap diminishes to hardly anything. There's no real price difference between an immaculate E350 & S350 once they age. At the most, it's a handful of lakhs. I saw many E & S-Class' and 5 & 7-Series of the same vintage at prices that were within an arm's length of each other.
Within the F10 family, I came across two fabulous 535i's. These were imported by BMW as CBUs with an on-road price of 70 lakhs! 5 years down, they have few takers even at 25 lakhs. 4 kmpl? Thumbs down from the used market. The 535i has a 6-cylinder petrol with 306 horses on tap. A very accomplished sedan in every way. Though they met the 6-cylinder requirement, I didn't test them as I wasn't keen on cars from the first model year. None of them would have any warranty left either, this was a big no-no for me. On working days, I don't have the bandwidth to co-ordinate repairs & replacements for my cars. With European cars, I anyway prefer diesels because:
• The diesels are generally more robust & reliable.
• They run on regular diesel just fine (unlike performance petrols which need high octane fuel).
• Longer highway tank range.
• Easier to sell. Try moving a high-end German petrol and you'll know what I mean.
A reputed dealer told me that 530ds are suddenly in demand. I had no reason to doubt him. There were a couple that sold within 10 - 14 days of hitting the block. I saw a 2013 530d with 30,000 kms go in less than 2 weeks of being on sale. A 2012 white 530d was gone in a week of its listing. Infinity BMW @ Worli had a 2010 530d with 20,000 kms and an asking price of 30 lakhs. They offer a 1 year warranty on all cars sold through their official used car channel, and you can buy another year's coverage for 80 - 90k. Once refurbished by their workshop, she was available for a test-drive, but I was away on a road-trip. By the time I was back, the car was sold (for 29.50 lakhs, I'm told). One thing was certain...if I found a car that I really liked, I'd need to move fast.
2012-2013 models were hitting the sweet spot. There were a number of 2014 cars available, although they hadn't yet depreciated (asking prices of 55 lakhs). Frankly, I don't think a used 530d is worth 55 lakhs. For that kind of money, you'd rather buy something more exotic (like a Porsche).
Because of a brutal work schedule, I didn't step out during working hours. Cars were checked out only in the evenings or over weekends. The first 530d I test-drove was a 2012 build with 35,000 kms on the odo. It was a white car with cinnamon brown interiors (my favourite combo). The car was clean and was still under BSI coverage. On the flip side, it was currently with its 3rd owner which sent the alarm bells ringing. What made it worse was that the two guys in charge gave me different stories on its ownership background (I intentionally asked them separately). As good as the car was, I walked away. Sometimes, you get a negative vibe and it just doesn't make sense to proceed half-heartedly.
Next up was a white end-2011 example and the 2013 M-Sport I finally brought home. Honestly, there's not a world of difference between them. These luxury Germans are built to impeccable standards and age gracefully. The white car was awesome: single-owner, 37,000 kms and had BSI coverage until September 2016 (thus, zero risk).
The contender was in good nick too. Wore a body cover at all times:
At about the same time, I came across my carbon-black 530d. It was delivered in November 2013 and had merely 19,000 kms on the clock. This car was used by someone senior at Cadbury. He left the company, and the lease with Orix was apparently foreclosed at 59 lakhs. I took her out for a spin and she felt really tight. Spent a little time checking her out and honestly, there was nothing to look out for. She felt brand new.
I liked both of these cars and decided to choose between them. Further research would definitely provide more information...information which would help in making a calculated decision. In the end, two things went against the 2011 white car. Its primary driver was a very young teenage enthusiast. I came across a picture of him driving with the speedometer maxed out (and ESP switched OFF!!!). I'd rather buy a car that was used by an old corporate guy than a petrol-head who just got his driver's licence. Then, I was told by BMW that I could extend BSI coverage up to 2017, but the 6th year top-up cost would be a ridiculous 3 lakhs or so. In what is a stupid move, you can top up a BSI ultimate package with that only (piecemeal warranty not offered as a top-up). The 530d is a complex automobile with cutting-edge technologies! I was very firm that I'd buy one with a long warranty covering my back.
Things were tilting in favour of the carbon-black 2013 530d. Even though it was more expensive, there were a number of advantages:
• Being less than 1.5 years old, it was still in FACTORY warranty. This was a big plus. I still have 6 months of factory warranty left, and have already purchased the 6 year / 120,000 kms extended pack. Essentially, I don't have to worry about any repairs until year 2020. Buying a pre-worshipped German with a long warranty is like having your cake & eating it too.
• Company-registered car. Thus, I could buy it in my company name and avail of depreciation benefits. A quick call to my CA confirmed that I'm looking at net tax benefits of 8 - 10 lakhs over 5 years.
• The M-Sport kit. It looks sweet!
• Many updates to this model year. 255 horses (instead of 245 for the pre-2013 cars) and 560 Nm of torque (vs 540 Nm earlier). Increased ground clearance of 158 mm (earlier 141 mm). Staggered tyre set-up. Sport seats with adjustable under-thigh support. And some other minor things. Mercedes, BMW & Audi are very smart. They keep adding new features & updates every year to their range of cars. Not only does this keep the product fresher, it also helps the resale value. Maximising residual value is a key part of their business strategy.
• As it was a late model, we can safely assume that the 2013 car will have better long-term reliability.
• Mumbai registration - this was a plus. A problem with premium cars (more so than with sub-20 lakh cars) is that a large number of them are registered outside Mumbai to save on the 5% Octroi tax. Most premium car owners have a holiday home on the outskirts. If they register it there, the savings can be huge. On a 50 lakh car, you're talking 2.5 lakh Rupees saved in Octroi.
Rubbing my hands with glee, I pulled up the Team-BHP Used Car Checklist (link to article). Trust me, it's worth its weight in gold and I urge all of you to follow it to the T before buying your pre-worshipped ride.
• First things first, before paying any deposit, I had the 530d sent over to Navnit Motors for a complete pre-purchase inspection. This was the best 8K I've spent in my life. BMW said it wasn't required as the car was under factory warranty, but I got it done anyway. Better to be over-prepared than under in a pre-owned car deal. Navnit screened the car with a fine-toothed comb over 1.5 days. They confirmed that it's had no accident or flood damage. They further confirmed there hasn't been a single warranty replacement or part failure on the car (lemons can show their true colours rather early on in life). This 530d had been serviced on time (at Infinity Motors) and the factory warranty is indeed valid on the car. After taking a test-drive, Laukik from Navnit Motors messaged me one word = "PERFECT". A full report was later emailed to me. They pointed out that the rear bumper was touched up earlier. I asked the used car dealer who sheepishly admitted that the rear tow hook didn't have a cap and it had been repainted. Navnit's attention to detail impressed me when they pointed out that the LHS sunvisor mirror was cracked (I don't check for such minor things in my test-drive).
• Concurrently, I got a background check done at the insurance company (thanks F50!). There hadn't been any major accident claim on this car. Two small claims were made (25k & 40k), but they were unimportant. On the lines of an ORVM and the like.
• Decoded the VIN online. The details added up.
The dealer was Amit from Quick Car World in Lokhandwala. We agreed on a price on Saturday evening, the car reached Navnit on Monday morning, the dealer gave a clean chit on Tuesday afternoon and we completed all formalities on Wednesday. Important to mention that the entire process was completed in 3 working days...right from my desk. Except for one Saturday evening that I stepped out to test-drive this car, I didn't again for a single thing. Everything was completed via phone, email & WhatsApp. Credit to Amit, he moved blazing fast from his end. Work was done promptly - right from sending the car for the pre-purchase inspection to the documentation. In the end, he made a statement that I really pushed him, and that he's not seen a buyer as organised .
When it comes to cars, the higher you go, the harder you fall. Translated: The more expensive the car, the more value it loses & fast. With a Mumbai number plate and in company registration, a new 530d costs a whopping 80 lakhs on the road (about 70 lakhs with individual registration). I got mine with 19k kms, 17 months of use and factory warranty for about 50% of that. A car that's used for 10% (or less) of its life for half the list price! Ah, the beauty of the pre-worshipped market...you simply can't beat the value proposition on offer. Of course, prices have gone up in the last 2 years, and there are fat discounts on the list price too. When Cadbury bought this car, they paid approximately 68 lakhs for it. I got it for 38% lesser than that. I'd much rather buy pre-worshipped and let someone else take the initial depreciation hit. Must say, it was a good deal. At the time that I bought mine, Infinity had a 2013 530d listed for well over 50 lakhs!
When you walk down the pre-owned route, the benefits are twofold: You save money at the time of purchase & lose less at the time of resale. Example: I bought my pre-worshipped Civic V-MT with 7,400 kms at ~8 lakhs (new one was over 15 lakhs at the time). Considering its worth about 4 lakhs today, I've lost only 4 lakhs in depreciation. If I'd have bought a new Civic, my depreciation loss would be in the range of 7 - 8 lakhs! The Honda might go on sale in a month or two.
I could have taken delivery on Thursday itself, yet decided to wait until Friday as it was my sister's birthday as well as a holiday (Maharashtra Day). Can tell you it was one hell of a sleepless night . We've had 3 Mercs before, while my siblings have an Audi, Infinity & Land Rover between them. This is the first BMW in the family. And what an engine to start the relationship with! My family & friends have started referring to the 530d as 'the beast' because of its ferocious acceleration. In my house, this is also the first automatic. All of our other cars till date have been with manual transmissions.
The carbon-black colour (actually a blue / black) is unique to the M-Sport. It's not my first choice though. In fact, from all the colours available on the 5-Series, it's the last. Dark colours simply don't look as nice without sunfilm. I would prefer white or silver as they really bring out the subtle highlights of these understated designs (otherwise hidden in darker clothes). It's why I pushed my brother to pick silver for his Jetta (he wanted black). With used cars though, it's not recommended to choose an example based on its colour. The car is important, not the colour. The one good thing with shades like dark blue & black is that they're easier to colour-match at the time of repairs. My C220's driver's door was repainted and you simply couldn't tell the difference (even 7 years after the repair). On the other hand, one can easily point out the repainted panels on my Civic (as white becomes yellowish with time).
There are some cars that you just feel at one with. I felt that with the 525d at the time of our official review, then with the 530d test-drive. When I took delivery of my 530d, I was at home before even starting the engine. I can tell you this: Of all the sedans on sale in India today, there's no other I'd rather own. My 525d official review had this statement toward the end:
Ready for delivery with ribbons and all. BMW calls this blue-black shade 'Carbon Black', introduced only on the 530d M-Sport. Looks like black most of the time, except under direct sunlight when you can see the tinges of blue:
Me & my brother enjoying a light moment:
Mom blesses the 530d (that's my kid brother alongside her)...
...while God blesses 'em 6-cylinders:
6 year / 120,000 kms warranty. This on a pre-owned German luxury sedan is akin to having your cake & eating it too:
Last edited by GTO : 27th August 2015 at 17:12.
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|27th August 2015, 15:41||#5|
Re: BMW 530d M-Sport (F10) : My Pre-Worshipped Beast
The M bodykit gives it an M5-like personality. Fit & finish are impeccable:
Notice the custom Team-BHP sticker . F-A-T tyres bring a meaty stance. Classic Bimmer butt, can't mistake her for anything else. Rear sunblind gives it a nice tinted look:
Sticking to our ownership review guidelines, I'll list my observations in line with The Team-BHP Review Checklist.
Number of kms at the time of writing this review:
I've driven the car for approximately 2,000 kms. She currently has ~21,000 kms on the odometer.
Your usage pattern:
Not much of daily running, and I do have other cars to split the driving up with. Additionally, there are a lot of cars that I have to drive for testing & Team-BHP reviews. I'd say the Bimmer will run between 7,000 - 10,000 kms a year tops. While this will be the primary car I use, she'll be heading out mostly on nights, weekends & highway trips. 5 highway runs up already in the first 3 months!
Except on the rarest of occasions, it won't be given to the family chauffeur. It's too powerful & potential repairs too expensive to trust a driver with this car. Only exception will be after late nights out where the driver will bring us back home.
Exterior styling & design:
The F10 looks like a shrunken 7-Series. It has the same character & proportions of the timeless E39 5-Series. Gone is the controversial love me / hate me approach of the E60, this car wears clothes with broader appeal. The 530d is a large sedan, very long & very wide. She has phenomenal street presence, especially with the M-Sport body kit. Thankfully, it's still a low car. The E39 was the last 5-Series to wear a clean look. This 5 wears classic BMW-esque clothes again. Its clean, its low, its proportionate and definitely a car that will look great several years down the line.
The styling is one of the main reasons I love / bought this car. If she looked anywhere as quirky as the E60, I wouldn't have.
Overall build quality, fit & finish, paint quality and panel gaps:
Premium construction with impeccable levels of quality, wherever you look & touch. Worldwide, the 5-Series sells more than the 7-Series and is the car responsible for upholding BMW's image.
Don't come looking for a solid 'thud' though. The doors feel surprisingly light for an über-German car and have an ordinary, unsatisfying 'thud'. Primary reason being, this is the first 5-Series with aluminium doors (each door is ~5 kilos lighter than a regular one). In comparison, those of my C220 felt vault-like. In addition to the doors, the bonnet, front side panels and suspension components are made of aluminium.
These premium European cars also age very slowly. That was a contributing factor to my choice. Our C220 still felt tight at the time of sale (9 years, 100,000+ kms).
I'm going to list the kerb weight of the Indian 530d M-Sport here since it'll help others (was a task to source it). BMW says that my car weighs 1,785 kilos ("ready for road, with 75 kg driver, tank 90% full"). EU calculates the kerb weight with a 75 kilo driver, so let's remove that & the weight of the diesel. Without the driver & diesel, the 530d weighs 1,655 kilos. That's substantial, yet lighter than the 1,800 kilo Mercedes E350.
An irritating factor = All the F10s I've driven with 50,000+ kms on the odometer had some creaks, squeaks & rattles. While they weren't excessive, car guys like us will surely notice them. Google up F10 rattles / creaks and you'll see innumerable owners whining. In comparison, my C220 had absolutely no rattles or creaks at 100,000 kms!
Wheels & Tyres:
The 530d M-Sport has a staggered set-up with massive 275/40/R18 tyres at the rear and 245/45/R18 at the front. These tyres stick to tarmac like superglue! That said, despite the thick 275s, floor the accelerator and you'll feel the rear of the car slide a little bit, until the electronics kick in and bring the butt back in line.
The 18" rims greatly enhance the stance of the 530d. I didn't like the rim design in pictures, yet they look fantastic in person. The rims also have a bit of a deep-dish effect.
It sucks that BMW didn't equip this car with a spare wheel (the 2014+ cars get one). I'd like to meet the dimwit who came up with this harebrained idea. Worse still, there's no spare wheel well in the boot (E60 had one). I'm going to buy a space saver spare soon. Whenever that is in use, the car will be running 3 different tyre sizes at the same time!
I hate runflat tyres. Their sidewalls are too hard and they're too expensive to replace. The maximum distance that you can drive on a runflat puncture is either 240 kms (Driver + 1 passenger), 145 kms (Driver + 3 passengers) or 48 kms (Driver + 4 passengers + luggage). All of this at a maximum speed of 80 kph. I’d much rather pull over and change to a spare in 10 minutes. To add to that, if you drive the stipulated distance on a flat tyre, you will need to replace it. Click here to view an interesting discussion on runflats.
Fortunately, I'm going to have to replace the tyres in 5,000 kms at the most. Will be switching to regular (non-runflat) Yokohama or Michelin rubber soon. That'll further improve the ride quality & handling.
The 1,655 kilo kerb weight & mad power delivery mean that the 530d chews through its tyres (life of 20,000 - 25,000 kms per set). The 275 / 245 size makes it an expensive affair too. Looking at about one lakh rupees at each tyre change.
The good and bad about its features:
Dad always said, "choose only the topmost variant of any car you buy". He would've been happy with the feature list of the 530d. I can only imagine how Dad would smile as I walk him through one gizmo after another. All of our cars - with the exception of the beater Sunny - have always been the top trim level.
Now available only in the 'M-Sport' variant, the 530d is loaded to the brim with equipment, features & technology. The ones that I particularly like are the different driving modes (big difference in Comfort vs Sport), paddle shifters, HUD, iDrive, multitude of seat adjustments for the driver, mind blowing xenon headlamps, headlamp washer (nifty on highway drives), ambient lighting for the cabin, rear entertainment and the rear screens + sunshades. The Auto-Hold feature is another favourite.
The bad: It's ridiculous (and so inconvenient) that the 530d doesn't have pure keyless entry. You have to take the key out of your pocket, press the unlock button and then park it back in your pocket as the car has keyless go. This 'halfway there' approach sucks. International versions get an area on the door handle called 'finger touch' that you can press to unlock the doors (without removing the key from your pocket). No height-adjustable seatbelts & no temperature controls for rear passengers either! The seatbelt warning is there only for the driver, and not for the front / any other passenger (can be enabled via coding).
It's a bit annoying to read the owner's manual and see all the features that Indian cars don't get. We pay top rupee for luxury cars here - double of what USA customers do - and there's still some missing equipment. E.g. comfort access (opening the trunk by waving your foot underneath), hill descent control, ORVM cameras and more. All that is still okay, but a small & useful feature like the 'trunk locking' button inside the glovebox has been removed? In Int'l versions, slide this switch to secure the boot, lock the glovebox and take the glovebox key with you before giving the car to the valet. That's cheap; you pay BMW 70 lakhs for a 530d and they delete a 100 rupee feature? International variants also get ventilated front seats which would've been awesome in the hot Indian climate.
That said, the 530d's equipment levels are far superior to the stingy E-Class. The BMW's feature list runs much longer than the Mercedes.
Safety & related equipment:
Absolutely love the safety provided by this car. It's truly a moving tank. There are 6 Airbags for front & rear passengers, and every electronic driving aid you can think of (ESP, Traction Control, ABS etc.). That the F10 5-Series has scored 5 stars in the European NCAP tests is reassuring.
The 530d also has Active headrests (link), Brake Assist, Tyre Monitoring and other safety features. BMW's pre-crash system is similar to Mercedes' pre-safe. If you slam on the brakes, or the 530d goes through severe understeer / oversteer, the car 'readies' itself for a crash.
Of course, what's most important is the active safety. The remarkably strong brakes, solid grip & handling and excellent high-speed stability result in safer driving.
The Angel eyes serve as DRLs. Very bright even under the afternoon sun. I prefer these to the 2015 530d's eyes which have a flat bottom & look like spectacles (link to image):
A lateral shot:
Tiny orange LEDs light up when you start the pilot lamps at night:
Chic sticker placement, wot?
Headlamp washers work like a charm and are a boon on long highway drives. They activate automatically, every couple of times that you use the windscreen washer:
This l-o-n-g bonnet is essential for accommodating the straight-6 diesel underneath. Be sure to account for its sheer length when driving:
12-slat kidneys styled the way they ought to be. Unfortunately, they're getting weirder & weirder with every new BMW launch (example of the 2015 7-Series):
Massive air-dam feeds the intercooler. Perfectly positioned parking sensors (4 each at the front & rear). Foglamps are sufficiently powerful:
ORVMs are just the right size. At a time when integrated blinkers are associated with 'premium', BMW bucks the trend...
...and places them on the front fender. This image also illustrates the beefy wheel arches, the curvature of the rims and that big gap in the wheel well! 2010 - 2012 530ds had a sweet planted stance (albeit with lower ground clearance):
14-spoke 18" rims. Runs a staggered setup with 275 tyres at the rear and 245s at the front. I never liked these rims from the pictures and they were on top of my upgrade list. After seeing them in person though, I've decided to keep them. Look closely and you'll see an ///M logo on the wheel:
Hefty kerb weight & mad torque result in a tyre life of merely 20,000 - 25,000 kms. Continental runflats are due for a change soon. I'll be getting regular Michelin / Yokohama tyres:
Right from my childhood, I loved the products that Cadbury sold. This one isn't edible, yet it's the sweetest!
Auto headlamp & wiper sensor on the windscreen:
The IRVM uses two sensors - one on the glass area (like most cars) and this one behind it. The system compares the light between the two sensors before dimming all the mirrors (the 530d is equipped with auto-dimming ORVMs as well). I believe this same sensor is used for the 'high beam assist' feature (not present on Indian F10s):
A total of 3 washer units. These two on the left side (one closer to the middle) and another on the driver's side. 6 jet sprays in all (3 from each unit):
Chunky door handles. In what is an inexplicable move, BMW deleted the door handle sensors on Indian cars. Shockingly, no pure keyless entry! You have to remove the smartkey from your pocket & press the unlock button to get inside:
Incredibly classy! Unlock the car at night and puddle lamps from the door handles will illuminate the entire area below. Healthy spread of light:
The 530d gets BMW's shadowline treatment = minimal chrome on the outside (only on the kidneys and door handles). See the glossy black window frame here? The 520d gets them in chrome instead. In fact, the 520d wears excessive chrome all around the car. I like how, in an era where new cars are getting more & more chrome, the 530d has only a minimal amount of it:
Prominent sharkfin antenna at the rear. Among other things, it's used by the onboard navigation & for cellphone signals (if you utilize the smartphone cradle under the driver's armrest):
Side skirt comes out wide at the back (see how it tapers at the front):
Rear passengers won't be troubled by the sunfilm ban. These retractable screens (covering the quarter glass & windscreen too) are very effective:
V12 called & made a touching comment. According to him, I finally live up to my first forum handle = M5 (that was my name on Formula India, the daddy of Team-BHP). How? He said this is a 5 and it has an M-Kit, so the requirement is fulfilled (related link):
Bright tail-lamps are a mix of LED bulbs & LED strips. Regular bulbs deployed for the rear foglamps & reversing light though. Reflectors sit much higher up than in the 520d:
Look at the size of that rear disc! It's bigger than the front disc of many cars:
Compact reversing camera is tucked in & out of sight:
The badge that makes all the difference. If it weren't for the 6-cylinder diesel, I wouldn't have bought this car:
Got IND style plates installed. Common, yes, but these suit the mature nature of the 5. My favourite are the DC-style fonts...just think they'd be too young for the 530d:
Yep, even the tail-pipes have been de-chromed (as part of shadowline). They're black now, although this is one part I'd have preferred in chrome. While on the wishlist, the 530d should have had one tail-pipe on each side of the car (like the 535i does). Would've looked wicked:
Increased ground clearance means you can effortlessly park the nose over those kerbs outside restaurants:
Nearly all components are covered under the car. Keeping Indian road conditions in mind, the protection plates should have been built of strong metal. They're on my to-do list (have seen F10 metal plates online):
Double wishbone front suspension with adjustable dampers. There is a lot of lightweight aluminium in here:
Picture from the side:
The rear end:
Got her treated at 3M so that the family has faith in my 'like new' pre-worshipped philosophy. Detailing is most important for a used car. It helps bring back that new car feel:
I'll give 3M's new outlet at Worli an 8 / 10 rating, not the 10 / 10 I'd expect after spending 10 grand. Job was good, but attention to detail was missing:
Damn, this is what the next-gen 5 Series looks like. I hate BMW's new design direction, especially how the headlamps meet the grille. (Pic Source):
Last edited by GTO : 16th November 2016 at 23:03.
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|27th August 2015, 15:55||#6|
Re: BMW 530d M-Sport (F10) : My Pre-Worshipped Beast
Thanks to S2!!! for putting the car through a full Team-BHP photoshoot!
Interior design & quality (plastics, upholstery, fit & finish etc.):
They say true German luxury starts with this class of car. You have to sit inside to believe it. This is sheer q-u-a-l-i-t-y.
The interiors are very welcoming, and you feel special each time you're in the driver's seat. Part quality, fit & finish reek of German excellence. Everything is soft & well-damped in here. Each button feels tactile and there's felt lining everywhere - including in the door pockets. The design is tasteful & mature (not funky, it's very similar to the understated 7-Series). Nearly all surfaces are soft to the touch. My car has beige interiors, but my first choice was the tan brown (link to image) that's seen on the white & black 5-Series.
Interior Space & Comfort - Front:
Because it's a low sedan, Mom - a Senior Citizen - has to make an effort while getting in & out. However, I prefer low-slung sedans compared to taller ones.
Special mention of the incredible driver's seat. It is supremely comfortable and infinitely adjustable (including the seatbase angle). You can continually finetune it to get your PERFECT driving position, and then save it in the seat memory. A+ support over long drives. The M-Sport further gets adjustable under-thigh support (picture included in the interior set). I have a complaint though; I prefer the steering all the way down as my driving position is low & laidback, but the steering doesn't adjust as low as I'd like.
The cabin is w-i-d-e, this leads to a sense of spaciousness. The driver & front passenger sit far apart, separated further by the fat center console. Room at the front is obviously good.
Driving position, ergonomics, controls & MID:
Sit on the comfy seat, hold the chunky steering wheel, shift the wickedly-shaped gear lever and you know you're in a special car. Ergonomically, the 530d is spot on. Even the paddle shifters fall right into your hands. The footwell & center armrest are wide; the latter can be used by the driver & passenger together. It's not adjustable for height, but is positioned perfectly.
The only thing I don't like is the speedometer being to the left of the revv-counter (I prefer it vice versa). The instrument cluster is easy to read and changes its illumination colour, depending on whether you're driving during the day (white) or night (amber). The iDrive interface offers you an endless amount of information on the car, your trip and more.
Visibility & size of mirrors:
No issues with frontal or lateral visibility. The A-Pillars are thick, although not as bad as in my Civic & C220 (those create insane blind spots).
Rearward visibility is terrible. It would be a pain to reverse & park this car if it weren't for the camera. The rear windscreen is short & the boot lid is placed high up. The C-Pillar's design makes things worse. The reversing camera & parking sensors come in handy here. I've never been a fan of parking aids and prefer to park the old-fashioned way. With the poor rearward visibility though, the 530d needs these gizmos.
The mirrors are alright. They do the job and there aren't any serious complaints in this area.
Air-conditioner cooling & effectiveness:
In one word, exceptional. You naturally have high expectations from the air-conditioner of a premium sedan. The 530d will exceed them, no matter how high. The Bimmer's climate control can chill you to the bone. What's more impressive is how quickly it can make the cabin cold, even after the car has been parked under the hot afternoon sun. That 'Max A/C' button is particularly useful at such times. Press it and the air-con runs at full blast. I've never needed to keep it on the 'max a/c' setting for more than a minute or two. I'm the kind of guy who always needs the air-con on full blast, whether it's in my room, hall or office. In the 530d, I have to turn the temperature dial up. It's too damn powerful.
What's interesting is that, in 'auto' mode, the system even decides where the airflow should be. When it's too hot, you'll notice it sending cold air to your feet for a short while. If you so prefer, you can also set the desired fan speed in 'auto' mode.
Yes, the Bimmer has dual-zone climate control at the front. Hit the 'ALL' button and any change in settings is for both, the driver & passenger. If the passenger changes the temperature or fan speed on his side, dual-zone climate control kicks in.
'Auto recirculation' is a cool feature. It automatically keeps switching between 'recirculate' and 'fresh air' modes. You don't have to remember to 'refresh' the cabin ever so often...let the computer handle it for you. That said, the system isn't perfect. Even in 'manual / full recirculation mode', pass a stinking area and a little stench from outside does enter the car (I noticed this on the roads next to the Worli & Bandra sewages).
Another major positive is that the air-con isn't loud. At blower speed 3, it's barely audible. Even at blower speed 4, the sound is within acceptable limits. It's only at max speed (level 5) that you'll find it noisy (note: 5 levels of fan speed in 'auto' mode and 9 without auto mode).
Downside? No temperature controls for rear passengers. The Mercedes E-Class gets that, and an LCD display too (link to image). Doesn't make the Mercedes better though. The E-Class' air-conditioner is known to struggle in hot Indian summers. The BMW's cooling capability blows the Merc out of the water.
Interior storage, practicality & boot space:
I like the fact that the door pockets are deep, the driver-side dash storage drawer is accommodating and that both seats have nice seatback pockets. The B-Pillar's bag hook is nifty to carry takeaway food parcels.
What I don't like is the shallow center glovebox. It's barely two inches deep (not the bucket type that you get in most cars)! You can hardly place anything there. The door pockets can't hold 1 liter bottles (note: cup-holders ahead of the gearlever can) and the main glovebox is medium-sized. The C220 & Civic offer far superior in-cabin solutions.
The boot is a healthy 520 liters in size and has useful storage buckets inside. The main drawback = No spare wheel well. You simply can't drive around in India without a spare!! Once I get my space-saver wheel, it's going to occupy a fair amount of floor space (sample image).
Any other unique or noteworthy points about the interiors:
Covering all of them in detail via the pictures.
Inviting cockpit. Wide dashboard is nearly identical to that of the F01 7-Series. See how the center console tilts toward the driver (it didn't in the E60). Like the exterior, the interior design is timeless. Part quality is incredible:
Classy choice of veneer. I like this interior colour combination, although my favourite is the black + tan brown (link to image):
T-h-i-c-k steering is meaty to hold:
Same wheel as the M5 (link to image), except for the stitching & M1 / M2 buttons:
Paddle shifters instantly respond to your commands:
High quality construction too:
The usual lot of steering-mounted controls (audio, phone, cruise control). MUTE button is sorely missed. For all their attention to detail, the Germans can sometimes miss out on the most useful of things:
Electrically-adjustable steering via a 4-way toggle switch:
Typically BMW instrument cluster. Top speed electronically limited to 250 kph. Diesel can revv to ~5,400 rpm! I prefer the rpm counter being to the left of the speedometer, not like this. The bottom part of the dials (efficient dynamics gauge) is an LCD (you can turn that area off if you like it simple). White illumination during the day...
...and amber at night. The colour switchover happens only when it's dark outside. This system thinks independently of the headlamps. Say you switch on the headlamps during the day, the dials won't change to amber:
The 530d gets a 'full black panel display'. The cluster gets its name because it shows up as a completely matt black surface with no numbers or other indicators displayed when the car is switched off:
Unbelievably cool: If you activate 'cruise control' or the 'speed limiter' function, a tiny green dot marks the set speed. This dot moves fluidly as you increase / decrease the speed. It's in green when the car is controlling accelerator input. Changes to orange when there is manual intervention from the driver (the orange showing you the speed the car will resume when you activate cruise control again):
HUD is sharp! Thought it's a gimmick until I actually started using it. You can adjust the HUD's vertical & horizontal positions as per your preference. It's visible only to the driver:
Detailed navigation without ever taking your eyes off the road. The HUD further shows you critical warnings (e.g. door open) and cruise control information. I'm planning to add the song list here via coding:
The engine start button. Press it without brake pedal input to access the ignition on / audio mode. Right below is the button to deactivate the engine's start / stop function when idling (highly annoying feature to save fuel); have to manually deactivate it on each drive. Yes, there is a way to keep the idling start / stop feature disabled by default (coding):
Control stalks have a European orientation. Toggle through the MID via a button on the tip of the LHS stalk, and activate the auto wipers via a button on the RHS stalk. That serrated dial controls the sensitivity of the rain sensors (4 levels of adjustment):
Euro-style headlamp knob. 'Auto headlamps' have a fast response time and work like a charm. At the bottom left of this image is the 'HUD off' button:
Big brake pedal & organ-type accelerator, as is typical of high-end German cars. Dead pedal is perfectly sized & positioned. OEM floor mats wear thick & luxurious carpeting:
Stylish gear lever is a lesson in ergonomics. Awesome to hold. 'Park' and 'unlock' buttons are electronic. Manual mode available, but I prefer to use the paddle shifters instead. Manual mode layout is stupidly inverted (i.e. move gearlever up for a downshift and vice versa):
To the gear lever's right is the driving mode selector. Choose sport or comfort, depending on your mood. OFF button to disable the electronic nannies (not recommended on public roads):
Driving mode selection shows up on the meter console & the iDrive screen (pictured later):
3 immensely useful buttons. 'P' is the electronic parking brake (handbrake); pull to engage & push to disengage. 'Auto H' is the automatic brake hold feature that you'll love in traffic - no need to keep your foot continuously on the brake pedal when stationary in 'D'. On the bottom right is a button to activate the parking sensors. While the parking sensors automatically activate when you engage reverse gear, there are certain situations where you'd want them in 'D' too (e.g. driving the car out of a very tight compound):
The iDrive controller is a breeze to use. Over the years, it's gotten more & more user-friendly. Various iDrive screens listed in detail later:
530d has a bigger 10.2" screen than the 7 incher of lesser 5-Series. The reversing display is mandatory due to the car's poor rearward visibility. Screen is crystal clear, even during the day. Look on the right and you'll see a bird's eye view of the car with obstacle information - very convenient. Display overlays lines for the maximum you can turn in each direction (shown in red), as well as your current trajectory (shown in green). Especially cool are the colour-coded vertical planes (squares) informing you how near or far obstacles are. If the object isn't close enough to be a threat, the plane is green. As it gets closer, the plane turns yellow, and finally red:
That's all the head-unit you get! Buttons marked 1 - 8 are custom shortcut keys. I've set up iDrive shortcuts on them (e.g. no. 4 takes me directly to the rear entertainment settings on the iDrive screen). Attention to detail, you ask? Get this = place your finger on any button (without pressing it) and you'll see a preview on the iDrive screen of where that shortcut key will take you. Ze Germans really spoil you!
Dual-zone climate control will chill you to the bone. 'Max a/c' feature is nifty when you just get into the car and need the air-con on full blast. See the two different fan settings? You can set the blower speed even in 'auto' mode. Auto mode not only maintains the cabin temperature, but also directs air flow to your feet if the foot wells get warm. At the bottom right is the recirculation button marked 'A / M'. In auto mode, the climate control automatically switches between fresh air & recirculation modes, as it deems fit. Easy-to-read display has a matt finish to keep reflections away:
Ribbed air vent dials are sweet to use. See the blue dot on the center knob? Useless feature in India, yet good for countries with harsh winters. It'll allow you to have different temperatures between the air coming on your face and that going to your feet:
A look at the front cup-holders. Dedicated slot to park the smartkey. Happy to see a cigarette lighter as standard (quite rare today). This area has a lid for when not in use:
An illuminated ashtray too (over & above two at the back). Wikipedia says 'Germany has the largest number of cigarette vending machines per capita in the world'!
Large sunroof is a hit with the kids. Whoever said you can't enjoy a sunroof in India doesn't know what he's talking about:
Electric sunroof cover. Some manufacturers skimp on this & give you a manual cover instead:
Doorpad has a soft leather insert where you rest your arm. Sadly, no bottle holders in the pockets (you can squeeze in smaller bottles, but that's not the intended purpose). Lower half of the doorpad is in black, definitely practical for India (unlike my Civic which has all-beige doorpads & lots of shoe marks to show for it). Speaker & tweeter (on top) are both powerful:
Doors open in 3 stages. They feel surprisingly light for a car of this class. Disappointingly, no solid & satisfying 'thud' :(. Reason = they're made of aluminium. In comparison, my C220's doors felt like they were sourced from a 'tijori' manufacturer. All doors get that red safety reflector:
///M door sills are a neat addition to the 530d M-Sport:
All power windows get auto up / down functionality. Button on the bottom right is to operate the shade on the rear windscreen:
Tasteful ambient lighting...
...in the door pocket as well! Ambient lights dim / brighten along with your instrument cluster setting:
Two memory settings - these store the position of the seat, steering & ORVMs:
The infinitely adjustable, supremely comfortable 'sports seat'. Side bolstering too is satisfactory:
Full electric adjustment, along with 4-way lumbar support tweaking (ditto for front passenger seat). Hidden trick for 5-Series owners: Push the seatback button vertically to move the neck restraint up & down:
Very unique, very capable = Adjustable under-thigh support on both front seats! Extremely comfortable. Tall drivers will be thrilled:
Large headrests offer fore & aft adjustment. Equipped with BMW's active neck restraint system (more information) for safety:
Notice how the seatbelt goes into the seat (at the bottom), and isn't mounted entirely on the B-Pillar like regular cars. It's connected to a motor and is part of BMW's active protection system. Start driving and the front seatbelts will tighten up, find where you are, then loosen up just enough. They give you a slight tug every time you wear them. Tip for 5-Series owners - slide that clip (& seatbelt buckle) higher up, else it'll make a clanking sound from hitting the B-Pillar's plastic cladding:
Shocker: All that technology and no height-adjustable seatbelts! A dimwit move, no doubt:
Fixed armrest area for the driver. No scope for adjustment, yet it suits my driving position just fine:
Twin-door opening mechanism. Unlike most cars that offer a deep storage bucket underneath, the 530d has an incredibly shallow storage area. Honestly useless - can't hold anything, except for some small / flat items. USB & AUX ports located here. To fit your smartphone perfectly into that cradle, BMW does sell adapter kits (for the iPhone etc.). You can lock this area with the valet key:
In a car of this segment, I'd expect the glove compartment to be taller (it's way too short). Also, the glovebox is illuminated, but not cooled or lockable (with the valet key). On the other hand, the DVD changer's integration is fabulous. Pull on that grey lever and it slides down smoothly. Load 6 DVDs and push it back in, out of view:
Open the secret door on the LHS to access the fuse box:
Rare storage area in the BMW that's actually useful. A deep compartment to the right of the driver. Placed my HTC One there to give you a perspective of its size. This is where I usually dump my house keys & stuff:
The front passenger will find this nifty net in the footwell. Since the door pockets don't have bottle holders, this is where you'd park the Bisleri:
Driver & passenger sunvisors are identical. Both get a ticket holder, vanity mirror (with sliding door) & light (activates automatically):
Front cabin lights & the sunroof controls. Pressing the main light button (in the center) starts all cabin lights, including those above the rear seat. See those two amber lights? They throw out a warm glow on the gearshift area below:
Two bluetooth mics cover both sides of the cabin. In this image, due to the camera flash, you can also check out the Anthracite headliner package that the M-Sport comes with. The entire top half of the cabin (including pillars) is covered with this black material. Offers a smart contrast to the beige and feels durable too:
Auto-dimming IRVM does the job:
ORVMs offer a satisfactory view of the action behind. They are auto-dimming as well. Recently drove back from Pune at night and the trucker headlamps didn't bother me one bit. Outside edge is convex:
A-Pillar is thick, albeit not as obtrusive as in the Civic or C220. It's like that of any other modern automobile:
Horrible rearward visibility for the driver, due to the high boot lid & short windscreen. Objects close to the car are easy to miss. You're going to need the reversing camera:
Press the BMW logo to lock the 530d. Bottommost diamond key fires up the exterior lights (might need it when approaching the vehicle at night). It is a smartkey but, because BMW foolishly removed the door handle sensors, you need to press the unlock button to get inside (car has 'keyless go' though). Keys are also linked to driver profiles (settings, driving position, favourite keys & more), so if you share the car with someone, give that person his / her own key:
A closer look at the rich carpeting. Mind-blowing quality!
You might have noticed in the pictures above...every compartment has premium / felt lining:
Including the door pockets:
Know how some cars get leather cladding on the gap left open by steering adjustments? The 530d uses a fine cover here:
And impressively - under the steering rack! Who would ever look down here? I couldn't help but smile when I caught this:
Normal cars use hooks. The 530d deploys round velcro patches on all 4 floor mats to hold them in place & prevent slippage:
Last edited by GTO : 12th December 2016 at 13:09.
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|27th August 2015, 16:01||#7|
Re: BMW 530d M-Sport (F10) : My Pre-Worshipped Beast
Audio system & sound quality:
My car has a 12-speaker sound system which includes two subwoofers under the front seats, and a center tweeter + midrange speaker on top of the dashboard. Audio quality is excellent, and I don't see any reason to upgrade the hardware at all. The sound is crisp and the bass is punchy.
Two things I don't like here: Once the track starts playing, the iDrive screen doesn't automatically switch to the music display + song name (you have to hit the 'media' button for that). Second, my library's album art isn't shown on the display. Might vary from phone to phone (I'm running Android Lollipop).
I wish the iDrive offered a proper equalizer which would allow me to tune the sound in line with my tastes. The only available settings are the basic ones for treble & bass. My workaround is using the equalizer of my smartphone's rocket player app. This has greatly improved the SQ.
The ICE has all the usual inputs (DVD changer, USB, AUX, Bluetooth), but no SD card slot. I use Bluetooth exclusively as my 64 GB smartphone carries my entire iTunes library. A neat touch: After I return to my parked car and start the engine, the bluetooth-streaming automatically begins from where it last left off. I don't need to press the ICE power button or anything.
The main iDrive menu. No, it's not a touchscreen. iDrive has evolved over the years and is now easy to use (a pleasant surprise as Germany isn't the last word in software design & usability):
20 GB of onboard storage (early F10s had 12.50 GB). As you can see, it's got little utility in today's era of smartphones (my HTC One carries my entire iTunes music collection - close to 4,000 songs!):
User profiles, just like a Windows computer. Terrific if you're sharing the car with someone, as the Bimmer offers a high degree of user-level customisation. There's even a 'guest' profile . What's more - like a Windows computer again - you can export your profile settings to a USB stick (for backing up or transferring to another BMW):
The 'parked car ventilation' system. It makes the 530d draw in fresh air & ventilate the cabin while it's parked (and you are away). Say you've parked under the sun and plan to drive at 4 p.m. Set it to start ventilating at 3:30 pm. Thus, when you get to the car, it's not baking hot inside. Useful for smokers too (i.e. taking cigarette smell out of the cabin at night):
If you so wish, you can switch the rear camera off and have only the parking sensors guide you. BMW appears to have taken my feedback - In my 525d review, I'd commented that a vertically-arranged car would be more intuitive to refer to (link to earlier display):
The onboard computer not only tells you when the next service is due, but also keeps you in the loop about individual maintenance items:
Tyre pressure monitoring:
Checking the engine oil level:
Unable to get my album art onto the infoscreen. Before shooting this picture, we'd activated the voice command system (as you'll see on top):
For all that technology onboard, sound tuning is shockingly limited to basically two options! How absurd. As a workaround - and an effective one at that - I use the equalizer on my smartphone's rocket player:
Can't be a simpler way for owners to understand their cars. Choose the corresponding number to know more about a particular part:
Including stuff in the engine bay:
There are video explanations too:
The entire owner's manual is fed into the iDrive system. Everything you need to know about the 530d is in here:
There are even helpful guides on basic maintenance & replacements:
Maps integrated with the iDrive, but you'd rather view directions on the HUD. Super convenient that way (no need to take your eyes off the road). Navigation provided by MapMyIndia:
Night mode is easier on the eyes at...well...night. Speaking of which, you can switch off the entire iDrive display if it bothers you on the highway:
iDrive has got your back. System will warn you even for mundane things like the washer fluid being low:
Toys for FE lovers. Choose what speed ECO PRO gives you a prompt at & whether the climate control runs in economical mode or not:
A graphical representation of how your 'ECO' performance has been (<sarcasm>like this is the most efficient of cars</sarcasm>):
The 530d's bigger iDrive display allows you to comfortably have two screens of information (i.e. split screen). Example in this image - navigation on the left, trip meter on the right:
Among the many customisations, you can select exactly what shows up on the meter console:
How the key & doors function:
Speed limit warning:
Rear entertainment settings:
The iDrive is internet / apps ready. Take a look at Karan561's excellent thread at this link:
Last edited by GTO : 27th August 2015 at 16:02.
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|27th August 2015, 16:03||#8|
Re: BMW 530d M-Sport (F10) : My Pre-Worshipped Beast
Interior Space & Comfort - Rear:
The rear door opens wide enough, but ingress / egress are far from effortless. Due to the side skirts, you're looking at lifting your shoes for about 10" of lateral travel to get them in. The gap between the B-Pillar & wide seatbase is strictly average, and anyone with a large shoe size will need to twist & turn. The rear seat is placed low and you have to sit down on it. Not a user-friendly car for the elderly, I can tell you that. Mom has to make an effort to get to the back.
For a car that's so big on the outside, you'd expect a spacious back seat. Sadly, that's not the case. Rear seat space is not a virtue of this car at all. A tall adult will find it impossible to sit behind my driving position. Two 6-footers seated one behind the other? Forget about it. You will remember that I didn't complain about this aspect in the 525d that I tested in 2010. How come? Well, BMW updated the seat design in 2012 for more comfort (link to post). The new 'comfort seats' are supremely supportive, albeit they're also thicker. Their padding is markedly improved. Later, the front seats were updated to a new design with adjustable under-thigh support. As a result, rear legroom is limited, and noticeably lesser than in the 2010 - 2012 cars.
In a sedan costing 70+ lakhs, the legroom is a disappointment. In fact, there's hardly any advantage over the F30 3-Series (despite a wheelbase that's 158 mm longer). The 5-Series is wider...yet in terms of legroom, there's no difference. It's disconcerting to buy such an expensive car, and then be forced to move your seat ahead when there's a tall occupant getting in at the rear. BMW's interior packaging skills suck. Honda would've been able to add 3 spacious seat rows in this wheelbase! Of course, inline-6 engines are known to eat into cabin space (that's the reason V6s are commonplace).
What makes things worse is that the front seatback is rock hard (note: middle portion of seatback pockets & bottom area where you park your feet are soft). The rear entertainment screens also take away the feeling of space as they jut out and are 'in your face'. Headroom is just about enough (not excessive) for me thanks to the sharp C-Pillar design, although a 6-footer will find his hair brushing against the roof liner. If you're going to spend a lot of time on the backseat, please consider the E-Class instead.
The backseat itself has a lovely, relaxed recline angle. My family loves the stellar support it offers, and how the sunscreens (covering the windows & rear windshield) keep the light out. It feels like you're on a cosy sofa. When you want some light, you'll find the rear glass area to be sufficient. The under-thigh support surely feels better than it did in the 2010 5-Series I test-drove, and the headrests are soft & comfortable. The soft center armrest is very wide & perfectly positioned too. Once you're on the rear bench, you're going to love it (except for the legroom).
Like at the front, the cabin's rear is wide too. Two adults will be comfortable. The super-tall & thick transmission tunnel means a 3rd adult isn't welcome. He'll feel the hard edge (of the center armrest) on his back, while his headroom is even more limited as the roof is lower above him (to accommodate the cabin light console). It's better if the 5th occupant is a kid and not a full-size adult. On the rare occasion that a 5th passenger is there, he'll have his own 3-point seatbelt.
Rear doorpad has a storage pocket, but again, no bottle holder. The area where you'd rest your arm is clad in soft leather. Surprisingly, the rear door shuts with a more satisfying 'thud' than the front. Speakers aren't mounted on the door (they're on the parcel tray):
///M door sills at the back too. As impressive as the cabin's front is, it's mostly downhill at the rear. You'll realise this right from the time you start getting in. The clearance between the B-Pillar & rear seat is just about enough for most of us. Those with large shoes will have to twist & turn their feet in. Then, due to the side skirts, the base that you have to lift your feet over is nearly 1 foot wide. Just look at the width in this picture! The rear door opens out enough, but ingress / egress are far from effortless:
Anyone who has been on the rear seat of my car has - unfailingly - expressed their disappointment at the legroom. Image shot with 5'10" S2!!!'s driving position:
He jumped in behind his own driving position and had a small gap from the front seat:
On the other hand, with my relaxed driving position (I'm 5'10" but use the space of a 6 footer), rear legroom simply vanishes! BMW's interior packaging skills well & truly suck! The Fortuner is a shorter vehicle than the 530d, yet offers 3 spacious seat rows - BMW can't even give you two. Heck, the Honda City & Toyota Corolla are more spacious! If you plan on being chauffeur-driven, please look at the E-Class instead:
This lack of legroom is a shame because the sofa-like seat is just so comfortable. The backrest angle is perfect, as is the luxurious seat compound:
Including a picture of the 2010 525d's rear seat in this set. Compare the two back to back and it's obvious that the newer car has a beefed up bench, albeit one that eats up space:
In our sunfilm-less world, the rear sunblinds do a fabulous job of keeping the sun & heat out, while also lending some privacy. Even the quarter glass gets its own blind. The rear sunblind is electrically operated (very silent operation) while the ones on the side are manual:
Two rear entertainment screens that can play DVDs or video files off a USB. Yep, kids can hook up their Playstation to it!
And they're tiltable so you get the ideal viewing angle:
The remote gives you full control, and emulates the iDrive interface using its scroll wheel:
Big headrests are soft and offer 5 levels of height adjustment. Shortage of headroom for 6 footers due to the coupe-like C-Pillar styling:
Rear armrest is perfectly positioned. Healthy width can easily accommodate 2 large forearms. The main resting area has soft leather, although the top part is hard plastic:
Two cup / bottle holders, a wide + shallow storage compartment and a felt-lined sunglass holder:
Rock hard plastic behind the armrest (some cars give you soft material instead). International 5-Series has a ski-pass hole here:
Seatbelt buckles are neatly recessed into the seat. They don't protrude out like in other cars. Mandatory to buckle up on the back seat, you don't want your face hitting the hard entertainment screen!
The air-con unit has individual airflow adjustment for each vent. No temperature control like the E-Class (link to image). Storage compartment has a slope & grippy rubber mat to prevent items from sliding out:
DVD player, media inputs & headphone jacks for the rear entertainment system, along with a 12v power socket:
RWD = massive transmission tunnel! One of the many reasons that this car is a 4-seater, not 5:
Foot-level air vent and subwoofer placed under both front seats:
Handy seatback pockets. One major issue is that the entire seatback (& border of the seat pocket) is made of rock hard plastic. Only the seatback pocket's center portion is soft - you can't bury your knees into the seat as you would in other cars:
Rear door pockets house an ashtray too. However, these ashtrays use up 50% of the storage space inside:
ISOFIX child seat mounts on both sides of the rear seat:
Light console placed above the rear bench. It also emits orange ambience lights at night. Individual reading lamps have an angled reflector to direct light right onto the laps of those sitting on the side:
All passengers get 3-point seatbelts. Neat seatbelt slots on the rear tray:
Rear airbags mounted on the C-Pillar:
Useful bag / coat hooks on both B-Pillars:
Hooks on the spring-loaded grab handles as well:
Yep, the rear window rolls all the way in:
Boot has a healthy 520 liters of capacity & a practical layout. On the flip side, the donut spare will use up a fair amount of floor space. It can be placed on top of baggage though (when the boot is loaded). Nope, the rear seat doesn't fold down. Not that I'd use this car for big cargo...the Jeep serves that purpose:
Deep storage bucket on the right side of the boot. Notice the ribbed bottom:
Handy spot to park the Duster & some oddities:
Second fuse box behind a door in the trunk (over & above the one accessible from the glovebox):
No such storage bucket on the left. I believe the ICE amplifier is located underneath:
Hidden storage compartment under the boot floor:
For all that storage, it's a design failure to not provide a spare wheel well - what a brain dead decision!! Battery placed at the rear for weight distribution & protection from heat / temperature fluctuation:
BMW harps on about its 'made in India' initiative and high levels of localisation. Can't it source a battery locally? This is usually the first item to be localised:
Solid metal brace to protect the battery from the weight of luggage above:
Illuminated boot. While the boot lid's underside has a premium cladding, it's unfitting to leave naked metal like this in an expensive sedan (this is the underside of the tray area):
Lots of hooks to tie cargo down:
A tow hook, screwdriver, medical kit & warning triangle are neatly arranged in a flip-out compartment under the boot lid:
This has got to be the most comprehensive OEM medical kit I've seen!
So uncool! I would've expected rich plastic cladding on the boot hinges:
Got an unused body cover from the previous owner:
The car's welcome kit was lying around in the boot too:
Last edited by GTO : 27th August 2015 at 16:04.
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|27th August 2015, 16:06||#9|
Re: BMW 530d M-Sport (F10) : My Pre-Worshipped Beast
iDrive screen confirmation whenever you change the driving mode:
The Driving Modes:
Before I review the 530d's on-road performance, let me explain the different driving modes. It's very important to choose the right driving mode based on the road quality & intended driving style. For instance, 'sport' mode will be too firm for broken city roads, while 'comfort' will be too soft for a fast ghat section.
Comfort Mode - This is the ideal mode for city commuting, or when calmly cruising on the highway. The steering is light, suspension softer and gear changes seamless. You can tell that throttle / gearbox behaviour is dulled, with a focus on smoothness (rather than response). The engine maintains low rpms, upshifting at the slightest opportunity, thus becoming almost inaudible. The softer dampers make a noticeable difference on bad roads.
Sport Mode - Engage Sport mode when you want to drive like an enthusiast. I engage sport mode on night drives, and whenever I hit the highway. Here, the steering weighs up more and the suspension / dampers firm up. The gearshifts are lightning fast, and usually maintain a lower gear (than comfort) to keep the engine in the meat of the power band. Throttle response is sharp.
Sport+ - This is sport mode with lesser intervention from the electronic driving aids. Traction control is still active, but you'll see more wheel spin. ESP is also watching over you, although its threshold is raised. If you so wish, you can switch the electronics off entirely via a separate button on the center console...good idea only on track (not public roads).
ECO PRO Mode - I've never driven around in ECO PRO (who buys a 6-cylinder German for economy?). If I want FE, I'll take out the Sunny, thank you. ECO PRO makes the engine, transmission & climate control work in economy mode. A counter on the instrument console tells you how many kms you've gained by driving in this mode. BMW says you can get as much as 20% bonus kilometers in ECO PRO.
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|27th August 2015, 16:08||#10|
Re: BMW 530d M-Sport (F10) : My Pre-Worshipped Beast
258 horses & 560 Nm of torque from the 6-cylinder. Motor is surprisingly revv-happy for a diesel:
Engine performance & driveability:
My favourite part of the review !
It's this engine that makes the 530d the special sedan that it is. It's the 6-cylinder diesel that gives this car its special character. Simply put, if this 6-cylinder diesel wasn't offered in India, I wouldn't have bought a 5-Series. Conversely, the main reason I bought the 530d is because of the engine.
First, the stats. Power is rated at 258 horses (@ 4,000 rpm) & 560 Nm of torque (1,500 - 3,000 rpm). In other words, the 530d has more torque than a Ferrari 458 or an Audi R8 V10! Floor the throttle and the rear will slide out, despite the fat 275 mm tyres. The 530d is a seriously fast car in a way that family sedans haven't been (in the Indian landscape). The torque will never fail to bring a grin to your face.
Unlike the V6 diesels of the E-Class & A6, this is a classic BMW inline-6. BMW says inline-sixes are more refined due to the inherent balance of this design. The inline-6 sounds better too. On the flip side, they are too long (compared to V6s). That's why the long hood of this (& some other) BMWs.
As is usually the case with big German diesels, there is no turbo-lag at all. Throttle response is instantaneous (in sport mode). Floor the magic pedal and the 530d lunges forward with terrific ferocity. Give her some open road and the car literally flies. The acceleration is brutal, and that push-into-the-seat feeling is very, very addictive. BMW says the 530d can do the 0 - 100 run in 6 seconds (2015 model with 'launch control' can do it in 5.8 seconds). You can see the massive bonnet rising up ever so much under hard acceleration. The 530d has the performance to embarrass some 'sporty' 2-door cars, and nearly all of the modified rides in India. In stock form! What's equally impressive is the revv-happy nature of the 6-cylinder. The rpm needle climbs surprisingly quickly for a diesel. Making things more enjoyable is the sound. This is a rare, sweet sounding diesel over 3,000 rpm. Whenever I take her to the redline, the inline-6 snarl leaves me smiling. As she's climbing up the revvs, you'll love the mild muscle-car like growl of the motor.
During overtaking, the mid-range can be devastating (to the vehicle being overtaken). Press the accelerator, the transmission willingly drops a gear or two and the 530d shoots forward. 1,700 kilos of metal aren't supposed to move with such savagery - it's defying physics. The 560 Nm of torque always makes its authority felt, and I'm left amazed at the way that the speedometer leaps up. Any gear, any speed, kick down the throttle and the 530d jumps forward menacingly. Every drive is an occasion. I frequently find myself taking the longer route home...just to enjoy the car.
What's equally stunning is the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde nature of this motor. The engine is competent in crowded city traffic. All you need to do is give it a light foot to move around Mumbai. Power is delivered in a smooth & linear style. Here, the 530d is pretty much in 'snooze' mode; 99% of the time spent in the city, the needle is below 1,500 rpm. With a light foot, the gearbox is in a hurry to upshift. Cruising on Marine drive with traffic @ 50 kph sees the revv needle at merely 1,200 rpm. I must add, on empty roads in the city, you have to consciously make an effort to keep it at slow & safe speeds (the HUD's speedo readout helps).
The 8 ratios lend the car with relaxed cruisability. 100 kph is seen at only 1,250 rpm in 8th gear, while 120 kph is at ~1,500 rpm! Keeping her long distance stamina in mind, I can't wait for the first drive to Goa. Must admit, it's hard to cruise when you see an empty road. On one highway drive, my family asked me to take it easy. The sudden surge in acceleration - and resultant front & back movement for them - was making the family uncomfortable.
The 530d is an effortless car to drive fast. Anyone can sit in the driver's seat and fly. This is unlike other cars; for example, my Civic is reasonably quick too. But to drive it fast, you need to work the Honda with full concentration. In comparison, your sleepy grandmother could drive the Bimmer fast.
With this level of performance from a stock car, I don't have any plans of a remap. At least not until the extended warranty is valid. Remaps from some reputable shops to take the engine to 300 BHP are available.
Just like the 1.3L MJD is the national engine of India, this ZF 8-speed transmission is the AT of Europe! Having made its debut in the F01 7-Series, the ZF 8-speed gearbox is now used by several manufacturers......right from Audi to Jaguar and Maserati to Rolls Royce. Take a look at its Wikipedia entry. For those interested in the technicalities, www.thetruthaboutcars.com has an informative article on it - link.
As far as automatic transmissions go, the ZF gearbox is as good as it gets. The gearshifts are so butter-smooth that you simply can't tell when they're taking place. Unbelievably seamless! The only giveaway is a dip in the rpm needle as it upshifts. The AT is also lightning fast (upshift time of 200 milliseconds) and the ratios are perfectly chosen for the lethal engine. 8 gears help a proper distribution of power & torque.
In comfort mode, the gearbox delivers a calm driving experience. Its reaction times are dulled too. There's a 0.5 second delay between flooring the accelerator and the car responding. In 'Sport' mode, the response is instantaneous.
The paddle-shifters are perfectly positioned (left one for downshifts, right one for upshifts) and the electronics give you a surprising amount of leeway in manual mode. The set limits aren't conservative at all - I give it a downshift command at 3,000 rpm and it obeys. That's very good for a diesel! I'm a big engine braking guy; the paddle shifters are used heavily on ghat sections or twisty / curvy roads where I rely on engine braking. I can work them really hard and they co-operate. The paddles are also useful to downshift & get the car in the meat of the torque band before overtaking. Doing this, the 530d simply leaps past whoever is in front.
In sport mode, the paddle-shifter's reaction time is quick. Give the command and the gearbox responds. In 9 out of 10 such gearshifts, they're faster than would ever have been possible with a manual transmission. Equally, I must add that paddle-shifters are more fun with a petrol because of the wider revv range you get to play with.
I use the paddles so heavily on the open road that it's become second nature. I'll never be able to enjoy an automatic without them, especially if the car has a fast engine. Are they as much fun as a manual? No way in hell. Do they offer a higher degree of control than a regular AT? You bet.
Manual mode can be further accessed via the gear lever, but it's redundant really. This is probably in place for the lower variants which don't get paddle-shifters. The tiptronic layout isn't intuitive either. That is, you have to pull the gear lever down for upshifts and vice versa. I prefer it the other way around. Even the Tata Nano AMT is more logical (up for upshift, down for downshift)! No thanks, I'll stick with the paddle shifters.
The gearbox has a 'Sport' mode that works independently of the car's Sport settings (move gear lever to the left for sport mode). Meaning, you can keep the steering & suspension in 'comfort' mode, engaging 'sport' for the gearbox alone. A good thing as you can have a quick gearbox + comfortable ride over bad roads. As mentioned earlier, sport mode keeps the engine in the torque band. This helps with instant punch. Mash the throttle in sport mode and you'll see upshifts taking place at 4,500 rpm (you can take it to 5,000 in manual mode).
Overall NVH levels:
The 5-Series has outstanding cabin insulation. Once you shut the door, the outside world truly stays outside. You only realise how busy the world is when you lower a window to pay the toll or something. Additionally, one of the reasons that the car is able to mask high speeds so competently is because of the excellent insulation.
BMW's 4-cylinder 2.0 diesel might be noisy, but not this 3.0. At city / cruising speeds, forget diesel sound, you can't hear the engine at all! And when the rpm needle climbs, it's got a wicked muscle-car like growl. Revv hard and the diesel sounds awesome on the move. It's easily one of the best sounding oil-burners around (thanks in no small part to the inline-6 layout).
The engine might be an all-rounder in terms of performance & NVH, however fuel economy is a weak point. I've been getting merely 7 - 7.5 kpl in the city and 10 - 11 kpl on the highway. It's only on the arrow straight Mumbai-Pune expressway where I've seen 13 kpl. On a regular Indian highway like the Mumbai-Nashik one, the car will deliver ~11 kpl. For the record, the ARAI rating is 14.69 kpl.
You now know why these big cars are getting 8 speed gearboxes. They need the super tall 7th & 8th ratios to deliver fuel efficiency that doesn't shock you. With a 6-speed gearbox, highway fuel economy would probably be in the single digits, earning them the reputation of gas guzzlers.
Frankly, I'm not someone who cares about the kpl factor and only put the 5 through the full tank to full tank test for the purpose of this review. The efficiency is poor by diesel standards, yet it's more liveable than 6-cylinder petrols which usually deliver between 5 - 6 kpl in the city. The 530d does have an 'ECO PRO' driving mode for efficiency; I've never used it. I didn't buy a 6-cylinder 250 BHP car for dulled throttle responses or lower air-con cooling.
The diesel tank has a healthy 70 liter capacity. You'll get a range of ~500 kms in the city and ~700 on the highway.
Suspension & ride quality:
The F10's ride & handling package is far more liveable than the previous-gen E60. This is a superior balance for Indian conditions. The E60 was an out & out driver's car, but suffered from a bone-smashing ride on bad roads. The E60 didn't offer the flexibility of comfort / sport driving modes via variable dampers either. Fact is, the F10 on 18 inchers offers a more comfortable ride than an E60 on 17" rims. That BMW has softened the F10 is old news. It's the adjustable suspension that gives you added flexibility = Comfort when you want to cruise and handling when you want to push. On the same uneven roads that the E60 would get all jiggly & unsettled, the F10 is calm & composed. The E60 would make you grit your teeth on bad roads; with the F10, you can smile through them.
'Comfort' mode is best for the city. The suspension is surprisingly comfortable for a car running on low profile tyres with 18" rims. Low speed ride, in particular, is very nice. As the speedometer climbs, ride quality remains compliant. The runflats can take some plushness away though; no escaping their stiff sidewalls. Sharp + large bumps come through to the cabin strong. A tubeless tyre swap (with softer sidewalls) should help the car absorb these sharp bumps at speed. That's when it'll be truly cushy. Still IMHO, 17" rims with a taller tyre profile (like the 520d Prestige variant) is a more sensible choice for India.
Drive on a fast highway with undulating roads in 'comfort' mode and the soft dampers bring more vertical movement & bobbing than I'd like. My stiffly sprung C220 used to ride flatter on such uneven roads at speed. Engage 'sport' mode on these roads to firm up the dampers. It'll result in a flatter - but not absolutely flat - high speed ride on wavy tarmac.
Handling & on-road behaviour:
When you hit the highway or your favourite ghat section, engage 'Sport' mode. You'll immediately feel the dampers becoming stiffer. Ride quality is now firmer, and the body roll more controlled. Leave aside the driver's seat, I can tell the difference between the two modes from the passenger's chair. The grip levels - as you would imagine from this chassis & fat tyres - are enormous. On an early morning, I took her out to my favourite Igatpuri ghat section. After going up & down once, I took a u-turn and did the entire lap again. RWD is RWD - enough said. In Sport mode, the 530d takes corners with massive confidence. You wouldn't realise the cornering speed if it weren't for the HUD. What you do feel is the sheer size & weight of the car. It's not nimble - the bulk is very evident. Hard cornering doesn't make her nervous at all, but there is more body roll than in the tight E60. Corners that the E60 would take flat, you'll see noticeably more lean from the F10. If the E60 got a 10/10 rating for its dynamics (by sedan standards), the F10 gets an 8. The handling isn't as on the edge as the E60, yet grip is damn good in its own right and the tyres stick like a leech to the road. What advantage the E60 has on the limit, the F10 makes up with more power (a full second quicker to 100 kph), higher torque & fatter tyres. There'll be no difference in their times. Still, while the F10 will leave you grinning, the E60 would bring tears of joy. The E60 had just stupendously good feel that's not been seen in any European sedan since.
Using that 560 Nm of torque, I could hustle the 530d up the Igatpuri ghat in a way that few family sedans can. Where regular sedans will be braking, you can still be accelerating, and then take the corner 50+ kph faster (than a regular sedan). The mad engine is eager to use up all the available grip and it's a lot of fun taking both to the limit. Spend some time understanding the beast and you'll be able to snake up & down your favourite mountain pass. Experience is important though: I bring up the size & weight again, which you need to get accustomed to. In comparison, the Civic is like a go-kart! The 530d is very bulky. Push her to the limit and you can feel the rear end slide out ever so much, until the electronics step in and bring the butt back in line. Good thing that BMW's ESP isn't as sensitive as that of Mercedes. The electronic safety aids step in only when they need to save your neck (you can raise the ESP's threshold in Sport+ mode, or switch it off altogether). Mid-corner bumps? No problem. Due to its superior damping, the F10 actually handles better on uneven roads than the E60 which would get all skittish. The F10 is more planted on broken roads.
High speed stability is exemplary. The 530d is solid as a rock. Whenever I've asked passengers to guess the speed, their response is usually 50 - 60 kph below the actual speed. Importantly, she's not affected by strong crosswinds either. I'd taken the 530d to the Creta review event and Moralfibre showed me a spot on the Mumbai-Pune expressway that is particularly vulnerable to crosswinds. The same stretch on which the Creta was affected by crosswinds, the Bimmer was absolutely stable. I didn't feel a thing.
There is a flip side (as mentioned in the ride quality report): On undulating up & down roads, especially in 'comfort' mode, the bobbing & vertical movement is noticeable. Sport mode does improve matters, but not entirely to my satisfaction. The C220 used to ride much flatter on these wavy roads. Must add, this bobbing wasn't as much in the pre-2013 cars with the lower 141 mm ground clearance (it's not got a mention in my 2010 525d review).
The 530d is an awesome long distance cruiser due to the refinement, comfortable ride quality & awesome seats. There's something about this car...you can step out after a road-trip as fresh as you were at the starting point.
The electric steering is certainly NOT the pure hydraulic unit of the E60. Feedback & feel are decent, but you just don't feel as connected as in the E60 530d. On the positive side, the steering is direct & sharp; it's been tuned well for an EPS. In sport mode, the steering weighs up sufficiently. S2!!! actually thought it's a hydraulic unit when driving on the Bandra-Worli Sealink. The directness results in agility, you can literally chuck the beast in and out of corners. Within the city, the steering is light, making urban driving easy (in comfort mode). The EPS has none of the low speed “heaviness” of the E60 5-Series (unanimous owner complaint of the older gen).
The steering might lack the sheer magic of the E60, yet it is a competent unit in its own right. The EPS feels much superior to Audi's dead steerings. To put things in perspective, if the Audi's EPS gets a 5 / 10 rating and the E60 a 10/10, I'll give the F10's EPS a 7 / 10. You'll miss the E60's purity, but you'll still enjoy the 530d's steering.
BMW appears to have improved the electric steering over the years. In the M-Sport, it feels great (decidedly better than the 2010 530d). The low profile tyres also help, I guess. However, there isn't a doubt that BMW has overcompensated. In certain conditions, the steering tries to give you artificial feel & centering action. It feels damn fake - BMW shouldn't have tried this gimmick.
Lastly, BMWs with low profile well-worn runflats have a tendency to tramline. The steering follows changes on certain uneven road surfaces - including road camber - in the 50 - 80 kph window. Not so much at speeds higher or lower than that though. Tramlining should reduce once I switch to tubeless tyres, but not entirely, due to the low profile setup. My City & Civic - both with very low profile tyres - tramlined on Marine Drive's uneven surface all the time.
The almost 6 meter turning radius is bigger than the Mercedes E350's 5.6 meters. Yikes, it's even wider than that of the Safari Storme & XUV500. This is a known problem with BMWs. The wide turning circle gets annoying if you have to execute a u-turn in a tight lane. I definitely have to make more 3-pointers than necessary.
With massive discs all around, fat tyres and a multitude of electronics watching the driver's every move, it's obvious that the 530d has awesome braking ability. The brakes are mega...capable of shedding serious speed, quicker than you expect. They greatly enhance the driver's confidence on the highway. I'll give the brakes a 10/10 rating for feel & effectiveness.
They aren't flawless though. One fault is that the car doesn't come to a stop seamlessly. There is a very mild jerk felt as the brakes grab. It's not perfect. They bite a little too firm & a little too fast in the final kph before 0. Starting off is seamless, albeit without the auto-hold. If you have activated auto-hold, start off from 0 kph isn't seamless either. This one is mild too. Most owners probably won't notice it, but hey, we're enthusiasts with an eye for detail!
The Auto-Hold feature is superb & I have it on all the time. Press the Auto-Hold button on the center console and, in traffic, there is no need to continuously keep the brake pedal pressed when stationary (with the gearbox in “D” mode). Press the brake pedal once at 0 kph and the BMW will stay put in its place. You can take your foot off the brake pedal then. The minute you touch the accelerator, the auto-hold function automatically deactivates. No, you don't need to look at the display (every time you stop) to see if auto-hold has engaged. You can feel the brake pedal going in slightly and automatically, whenever auto-hold engages. For a car of this size, the auto-hold feature, light steering and automatic gearbox make it easy to pilot in bumper to bumper traffic.
BMW says that the F10 is equipped with a regenerative braking system (à la Formula 1). There's an efficiency gauge on the instrument console to make you feel good too. Well, they're dishing out hogwash; it's just a marketing trick. What the F10 has is an alternator with its own clutch. When accelerating (with the battery charged), the alternator is completely disengaged. When you take your foot off the accelerator or during braking, the alternator's clutch kicks in & charges the battery. It's a smart system...just not regenerative braking. Wish BMW had named it suitably, instead of trying to mislead owners. Reminds me of how Mahindra calls its start-stop system 'micro hybrid'.
The 2010 - 2012 F10s had 141 mm of ground clearance. Based on owner complaints, in 2013, BMW increased the ground clearance of the 5-Series (and 3-Series too) to 158 mm. The additional ground clearance is welcome. What the car has lost is the smart, low and planted stance of the earlier F10s. Go back to the exterior pictures and see that gap in the wheel well!
With their non-sagging suspensions, German cars don't scrape that easily. I've taken my C220 to various places over 100,000 kms and it hardly ever scraped. The BMW is no different, if initial impressions are anything to go by. The 530d has been on 3 highway trips already and the underbody has stayed well clear of speedbreakers & the like (including the super tall toll-naka bumps). Note: I haven't taken her out with a full load of 5 onboard & luggage though. Will update this review if any problems come up, although I'm not concerned due to the increased 158 mm clearance. A tip for 530d owners: Use Sport mode when the car is loaded. Because the dampers firm up, it won't sag.
What I am worried about is the gearbox which doesn't get a proper metal plate for protection. Imagine the ordeal Androdev went through with his 5-Series (link). Even though his car was the older spec with lower GC, I'm going to look out for a metal guard online (if it doesn't affect the aerodynamics in any way).
Any niggles, problems or part replacements:
The car has had zero warranty replacements in 21,000 kms and I hope it stays that way. I'm glad that BMW offers the 2nd longest extended warranty in India (Honda is no. 1 with its 7 year coverage). I've taken the 6 year / 120,000 kms extended warranty. In effect, I don't have to worry about any repairs until year 2020.
Quality of after-sales service:
BMW & Mercedes are known for their exemplary service standards in Mumbai. My experience during the pre-purchase inspection with Navnit Motors was A+. Will update this thread as she logs her service visits.
Cost of upkeep & maintenance:
Exorbitant. While regular services cost between 15k - 30k, major services can go up to Rs. 80,000. Over and above that, spares are priced ridiculously high. Once the car is out of its warranty period, she'll be visiting a specialist independent garage. That's the only way to own Germans in the longer term. With my C220, the price difference between the authorised & independent workshops was as much as 70%.
You could switch the electronic nannies off, though that's probably not a good idea on public roads:
Inline-6 layout (unlike the V6 competition). They say that the engine makes the car. Can't be any truer in this case. Battery not placed here, it's in the boot. Jump start terminal provided on the top left:
Engine is fully imported in my car. Recent news articles suggest that BMW is localising its assembly now:
The bonnet insulation sheet. Inside, its stuffed with more insulating material:
Gas strut on both sides to lift the heavy bonnet up:
Firewall has heavy insulation. Interestingly, there's an insulating sheet on the engine side too!
Solid strut braces. The long rectangular box (bottom left of this image) houses the ECU:
Shell has since replaced Castrol as BMW's official supplier. My only car to use this brand of engine oil (I stick to Mobil 1 otherwise):
OBD port located in the driver's footwell:
Each time that you start the car, the system tells you when the next service is due:
Cute & graphical service booklet. She's been through only one service before entering my garage:
Among the many hidden menus is one that shows you the onboard voltmeter (thanks to Androdev for pointing this out). 12.65v = 100% and 11.89v = 0%, thus my battery has worn out about 50%. Once it drops below 12v, start looking for a new battery:
The paddle shifters are awesome! They allow an aggressive style of driving & have a fast response time. In manual mode, you have 8 gears to play with. Ignore that gimmicky 'efficient dynamics' meter below - it's a marketing sham. The BMW does NOT have regenerative braking; it's just smarter alternator management:
Trust Ze Germans to overcomplicate matters. Try telling a layman to decipher this!
Read carefully = no additives! Pure, regular diesel will do just fine. Hole below the fuel cap is the overflow / spill drain (so that diesel doesn't mess up the body with smear while filling):
Sturdy bonnet catch, one on each side:
The locking mechanism. Look carefully and you'll see a mini Stabilus Stab-O-Shoc damper inside:
Body colour stamped under the hood:
Never seen this in any other car before. Plastic nets to let water - and nothing else - through. Notice the water drain right below the net:
On the other side:
Completely covered underneath. You can't see the ground at all:
On the other side (lots of heat reflective sheets here):
Last edited by GTO : 30th September 2015 at 10:32. Reason: Correcting ARAI rating
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|27th August 2015, 16:12||#11|
Re: BMW 530d M-Sport (F10) : My Pre-Worshipped Beast
• This is my first thread since my 'thanked' count exceeded my 'post count'! Thank you. Was looking forward to the big moment like I was for Team-BHP to cross 1 million posts.
• I see 2010 530ds listed for as low as 20 lakhs in Mumbai. I hope this detailed review helps you in getting your beast. The nature of this car is such that it will find a place in many BHPian's homes. Beware of up-badged heroes though. There are some 4-cylinders parading as 530ds & E350s in the market. Open the hood and take a look. Be sure to run a VIN check!
• BMW recently had a scheme where they were offering a new 520d for 39.90 lakhs. If you aren't keen on 6-cylinders, a 520d is probably better for you. IMHO though, true German luxury starts with this class of 6-cylinders. You won't get that special experience with a 520d. In a way, seeing the new 520d's price brought a feeling of déjà vu. When I'd bought my 1 year old Honda City Vtec, the 2nd-generation City (dolphin-shape) had just launched. Dad asked "why are you buying a used older-gen car when you can get the fresher, brand new model at the same price?". I told Dad "let's go for a spin, I'll show you why the ol' 106 BHP Vtec is worth more than the 77 BHP new Honda City". Check out my beautiful Vtec here - link.
• The 530d's 0 - 100 time is quicker than the recently launched Rs. 2 crore Maserati Quattroporte V6 diesel!
• They say the F10 5-Series is 85% of the F01 7-Series....at 60% of the price. Primary difference = rear legroom. On a related note, the change in character is down to fundamentals. The E60 was a larger version of a sporty sedan (i.e. 3-Series), while the F10 is a smaller version of a luxury sedan (i.e. 7-Series).
• Incidentally, the model nomenclature (F10) matches my birthday (February 10th)!
• My car has the P337 M package with variable dampers. Akshay1234 mentioned that BMW is thinking of dropping the variable dampers from the 5-Series. If that's true, it's just shocking. The variable dampers make quite a difference. They're all the more useful in Indian conditions where road quality varies bigtime.
• In 'comfort' mode, shift the gearlever to the left and you can have the 'sports transmission' with a soft suspension. Big flaw = You don't get the opposite! Say I'm cruising with my family at 120 kph and want a relaxed engine & gearbox, but a firm suspension due to the speed. I can't! If I engage 'sport mode', the engine is spinning at a higher rpm which takes away from relaxed cruisability. Here, the 2010 530d was the superior, simply because it allowed you to selectively choose whether the transmission OR suspension are affected by sport mode (related image). In the 2013+ cars, it's either all or nothing in sport mode. No worries though, you can get that menu option back via coding (related link).
• Noticed that the HUD console / housing creates an unwanted reflection on the windshield in certain driving conditions with the sun right ahead of you. Further, when driving on unlit highways too, you will notice the HUD housing's reflection (you can switch the HUD off at night to solve this).
• Phenomenal xenon headlamps. Very powerful = safer night driving & lower stress on the eyes.
• The steering moves up when you switch off the engine...for easier egress. It comes back down automatically after you sit back in and start the engine.
• No need to switch things off one by one when you park the car. Hit the remote's 'lock' button and the headlights, stereo, air-con etc. all switch off. Even if you left a cabin light on, it's turned off when you lock. No drained batteries!
• At the end of your trip, simply hit the engine stop button and the gear lever engages 'Park' mode automatically. If the gearlever is in 'sport mode' and you switch off the car, it automatically & physically moves to the right (regular position), and back into "P" mode.
• The electronic parking brake automatically engages after you switch off the car (if you drove with 'auto-hold'). It automatically disengages if you've shut the door, have buckled up, press the brake pedal & engage D (or R). That's one less thing to do before / after driving.
• Appalling! Indian BMWs don't come with a security alarm system. Moderator Aah78 has put up a lovely installation guide if you need one - link. I'm not planning to get it installed as I have safe parking and this car isn't exactly easy to flick.
• The auto wipers & auto headlamps features work flawlessly. I never have to reach out for the wiper stalk or the headlamp knob. The auto headlamps' reaction time is quick: Enter a tunnel, they are on. Exit the tunnel and they switch off. The auto wipers start / stop and vary their speed perfectly (depending on the intensity of rain). In our 530d official review, we had commented that the wiper speed sucked; it was too slow for torrential rains. In my car, I've driven through heavy rains, but not had a chance to test the wipers continuously at high speed. Will update this review if I face a problem.
• You can code a lot of stuff on the 530d. I plan to disable the irritating auto start / stop function by default, add the song list + turn signals + incoming call information to the HUD, enable auto-folding mirrors (have to hard-press the remote's lock button right now), remember last audio volume setting etc. For F10 owners, here's a cheat sheet from Bimmerfest.com.
• The 'windshield washer fluid low' warning came on. I asked my man to bring a liter of water which went in quickly. Told him to bring 1 more liter. Went in, but still not filled up. Me & my man are looking at each other. He came back with two 1 liter bottles. The washer reservoir guzzled them up. I bend down & look under the car to check if there's a leak. None. Only after he got the 5th 1-liter bottle was the tank replenished. Windshield washer reservoir capacity = 5 liters!! Of course, this also serves the headlamp washers. Low level warning comes on when there's about 20% remaining.
• Currently, every time I start the car, I have to remember to engage 'auto-hold'. There should be a way to keep it activated by default via coding.
• Say I reach my destination and switch off the car. After I come back & start the engine, the music automatically resumes from my bluetooth-connected smartphone. No need to manually start the stereo or press any button at all. For someone who lives with music 100% of his waking hours, this is a lovely feature.
• Uncool: I can't see the song list on the iDrive screen (bluetooth-streaming), and there's no album art either. Will try to find a way to display these via coding.
• Features dual-stage adaptive brake lights. If you brake harder than usual, and / or the ABS activates, the brake lights illuminate brighter and the light area becomes larger (to warn the vehicles behind).
• Smells amazing inside...like a 5-star hotel suite. It's one of the reasons I still haven't lit up a Marlboro inside the cabin. Want to preserve the awesome smell.
• I'm worried about the fuel pump packing up. Saw it running on fumes the first time I test-drove the BMW. Even when I took delivery, the distance-to-empty counter showed a range of 10 kms . Gave a piece of my mind to the dealer.
• Am uncomfortable with the fact that the fuel lid always remains unlocked, even when you are driving with the doors locked. The only time the fuel lid locks is when you park the car + lock it with the smartkey.
• Has a typically European horn. Nice & deep. Loud on the outside too.
• The onboard computers have completely got your back covered. Among other things, the iDrive screen will notify you when the brake pads have worn out, a service is due, if the washer fluid / engine coolant is low, the air filter is choked, a bulb needs replacement etc. It even warns you if the smart key's battery is on its way out.
• I can't place my CDMA smartphone next to the BMW's smartkey. There's radio interference between the two, which results in the key being undetected by the car. This problem is primarily with CDMA phones and has been reported online. Because my smartphone is usually parked in the cup-holder (ahead of the gearlever), I don't place the smartkey in the dedicated slot there. Instead, it remains in my pocket.
• Top grade window glass. The sun doesn't sting my right arm as much as it does in the Civic or Sunny. And I'm talking after a highway run in harsh May! This is very welcome in our sunfilm-less era.
• Cross 40 kph and the ORVMs fold out automatically (if you didn't open them yourself). Another safety feature = the front neck restraints / headrests cannot be removed. They are locked in place.
• Yep, the iDrive has voice commands too. I don't use them. Would rather press a button than interrupt the music.
• Typical German eccentricity: There's a full procedure to lift the wipers (e.g. when you want to change the blades). How stupid, it isn't supposed to be this complicated - Related Link.
• Even if you're operating the wipers at full speed, they return to normal speed when you come to a stop. Yes, she has automatic wipers with an adjustable level of sensitivity.
• For all their smartness, no delayed final sweep from the wipers! You know how some cars automatically give a final sweep, a couple of seconds after you've used the washer, to clear up those last drops of water rolling down? The 530d doesn't! You have to manually do it (by pushing the wiper stalk down).
• No need to press the gear lever's 'unlock' button when moving from R -> D. Helps to quickly squeeze her into tight parking spots.
• You can activate 'Park Distance Control' anytime you want. Taking the car out of a tight basement and unsure whether the front end has clearance? Just press the parking button and the sensors activate.
• The parking assistance is very accurate. Yes, it's a little conservative, but it never misses spotting an obstacle.
• Because the car is so loaded, and I have a 6-year warranty, the 530d will probably remain stock for the longest time. It's even got a body kit. This is one of my rare personal cars which isn't going to be modded for a long time. A tubeless tyre swap will be the only change.
• I'm a big 'extended warranty' guy. Whatever I buy, I take an extended warranty on it. Even my Dell laptop has the full 5-year onsite warranty package.
• The 530d has key-specific profiles. If you're sharing the car with a family member, give that person his / her own key. When he uses the 530d with his key, the settings (iDrive, seat, ICE etc.) will be personalised for him. Just like a window's login! There's even a 'guest' profile on the iDrive! Like Windows, you can transfer your profile settings to another BMW (via USB).
• The sunroof has anti-pinch protection.
• The onboard computer tries as much as possible to stop the battery from running down. Say you have music playing with the engine off. If the battery's charge gets to dangerously low levels, the ignition will switch off to preserve enough juice to start the engine. Further, the car's complex electronics consume power even when she's parked. If the battery level drops too low, the computer will switch some functions off so that you are able to start the car.
• If you don't need 4 doors, the incredibly handsome 640d Coupe has started trading hands at 50 lakhs. Check it out.
• BMW has gone overboard with providing DVD / CD slots. Too many of them! 6 DVD changer in the glovebox, a single slot on the dashboard and yet another one below the rear air-con. Ironically, no SD card slot!
• The ground clearance & diesel diet make it practical. I know someone who has a Jaguar XJ petrol, but he never takes it out of Mumbai. Why? Because the luxury barge won't clear tall speedbreakers (GC of 100 mm). He's also worried about getting the petrol quality that the 5 liter V8 needs. No such apprehensions with the 530d. I don't have to think twice before taking her out to Pawna - the approach to which has fairly broken roads. Fuel? Pure, regular diesel satisfies her stomach just fine.
• The 2010 530d had a TV Tuner which would pick up the free-to-air Doordarshan channels. This isn't there in my 2013 build. Just as well, I guess, in our era of smartphones & YouTube.
• Safe & convenient: Say you have to pick up something quickly and Mom's on the backseat...I can take the key with me & lock the car - leaving the engine & air-con running. In case of an emergency, Mom can unlock her door & get out (no deadlock).
• To prevent unintentional door opening on the move, pulling the door handle once only 'unlocks' the door (doesn't open it). Pulling it a second time opens the door.
• Got my spare tyre! Link to report.
• I compiled 60% of this review and then, 10 official reviews came up (Nano AMT to the Creta). I had to grudgingly stop writing it and push back this release!
Last edited by GTO : 31st May 2016 at 16:26. Reason: Adding point on the HUD's reflection which I just noticed
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|27th August 2015, 16:14||#12|
Re: BMW 530d M-Sport (F10) : My Pre-Worshipped Beast
The Smaller yet Significant Things:
Snaking her into the garage isn't a task for the fainthearted, due to the narrow entry, sheer vehicle width & poor rear visibility. She just about fits inside. The car's left side has to literally stick to the wall to allow enough room on the right for the driver's ingress / egress:
Engage reverse gear and the left ORVM tilts down to show you the kerb. If you don't want it to, slide the ORVM's adjuster switch to the left:
I've updated the software on my laptop & smartphone, but this is the first time I did so in a car! Visit BMW's Update Site, enter your VIN, download the software onto a USB drive and plug it into the car:
Whether you're buying a pre-worshipped Alto or a Rolls Royce, a professionally conducted pre-purchase inspection is mandatory. Best 8k I ever spent:
Turn indicators consist of 10 small light clusters:
She usually ends up getting priority parking at hotels and the like:
When you buy a high-end German car, you are officially part of the 'rip-off club'. Leave aside the extraordinary pricing of spare parts, a map update for 10k within the warranty period - seriously? Jeez, Hyundai gives 3 years of free map updates on the Creta! Call me old-fashioned, but if a customer paid me 70 lakhs for a car, I'd give him free map updates for life:
The outside world stays outside. Just look at that t-h-i-c-k & beefy door insulation...
...and felt-lining too:
Over & above the door handle lights, all 4 doors get puddle lamps underneath. When you get to the car at night, in all, there's about 20 lights to welcome you (puddle lamps, door handle lights, headlamps, tail-lights & cabin lamps all fire up when you unlock the car at night):
Awesome! ORVMs are India-friendly and won't break if a biker moves them the other way. My C220's ORVMs weren't:
If you prefer a simpler look, you can turn off the gimmicky 'efficient dynamics' meters:
The front passenger's footwell. Why am I showing you this? Take a look at that circular hole next to the lamp. Internationally, BMW provides an additional 12v socket here for a dashcam, passenger's smartphone etc. BMW India conveniently deleted it :
Won't drive if the driver's door is open. The gearbox will stubbornly remain in 'P'. If you are moving slowly and open the door, the car will stop, refusing to move again until you shut the door:
The instrument console shows you what needs to be secured:
When not in use, the center headrest can be flipped down to improve driver visibility:
Stylish infrared sensor-like door lock / unlock knobs:
High quality glass blocks the sun's heat from stinging you:
The rear windscreen's motorised sunshade has tiny wheels. They come into action just before it locks into place at the top:
Retract the sunshade and it sits in clean without causing any protrusion:
Fixing points on the roof for a Thule box, bicycle rack etc. (example):
Even something as small as the child-lock switch feels so well built :
On top of the dash sits a speaker unit:
The HUD projector, as seen from outside:
If your smartkey's battery is worn out, stick the smartkey to the RHS of the steering console to start the engine:
Spiked deflector keeps air draught & turbulence to the bare minimum when driving with the sunroof open:
While the front passenger seat has a weight sensor that automatically detects a child & switches off the airbag, you can disable it manually too:
In addition to the OEM car cover & welcome kit, Cadbury left behind BMW's manual & document pouch too. Nothing is missing from the car!
Classy door lever design. Pull it once and the door will only unlock, but not open. Pull twice to open the door:
What a 530d does to you - this is Moderator Ajmat during our official 530d test-drive in 2011:
Quite a balanced garage, wot? Accompanying the 530d is a high-revving petrol MT, an offroader and a comfy chauffeur-driven beater. Each ride has a unique purpose:
Last edited by GTO : 27th August 2015 at 17:11.
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|27th August 2015, 17:20||#13|
Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (4th Jan 2016 update)
What happens when you drive a 530d like a 520d? I just found out today.
Why did I? Well, there were two sleepy girls in the car (one of which is 74 years old ) on this morning's early highway run. Because they wanted to sleep, it meant no sudden acceleration and maintaining as smooth a momentum as possible.
For the first time, this morning, I drove for a good amount of time in ECO PRO mode. What does ECO PRO do?
- Makes the engine run in economy mode. Throttle response is dull (difference from sport is night & day).
- Transmission is keen to upshift early & stay in higher gears.
- Climate control works in economy mode, although I didn't feel much of a difference as it was 12 degrees outside when we started in Deolali!!
- I also noticed that ECO PRO reduces steering assistance. Steering got firmer than in 'comfort' at many parts of the drive.
So, what was the end result?
17 kpl from a 250 BHP 1,700 kilo 6-cylinder sedan! And this was after we entered the city. The highest reading I saw was 17.3 kpl averaged. I found it hard to believe and thought the computer is playing a trick on me. Filled the tank right up to the brim and the calculation matched (16.9 kpl to be precise). Do note that this was on the Mumbai-Nashik highway which isn't an arrow straight expressway. Far from that. The FE number would've probably been higher in a Mumbai-Pune run. The average speed was 75 kph before we entered the city. Since the others were sleeping, I was usually between 100 - 120 when the roads permitted. But no, it wasn't an empty highway. Monday morning = light to moderate traffic.
Unbelievable eh? Truly a car with many talents. However, this ECO PRO test was just a one off. I doubt I'll be using it anytime soon. On seeing a good road in front of me, trust me, it required will power to not floor the accelerator all the way in.
Just for comparison sake, in Sport mode (which I usually choose on the highway), the car delivers between 11 - 12 kpl.
One more point:
Last edited by GTO : 4th March 2016 at 19:42. Reason: Adding update
|27th August 2015, 17:29||#14|
Join Date: Jan 2015
Thanked: 230 Times
Re: BMW 530d M-Sport (F10) : My Pre-Worshipped Beast
Congrats on the beast GTO ! Awesome review of an equally awesome car ! The car looks great both on the outside and inside. Wishing you many more happy miles with your beast .
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|27th August 2015, 17:39||#15|
Distinguished - BHPian
Join Date: Oct 2009
Thanked: 11,399 Times
Re: BMW 530d M-Sport (F10) : My Pre-Worshipped Beast
Whoa GTO you have outdone yourself with the review. Absolutely exemplary details !
I just had a quick look at the write-up and pictures, yet to go through each line of the review but the 530d with the //M Kit looks brilliant, absolutely showroom fresh. Many Congratulations for the very gorgeous F10 Sir Ji !!
gto's bhp !
Rated a truly deserving 5-stars !!
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