How I acquired a 2018 BMW 530d: Ownership experience, likes & dislikes

The G30 530d was a true return to form for BMW. It ticked all of the boxes for me and ever since a test drive back in 2019 where it completely blew me away.

BHPian d3mon recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

This is the story of how I came to acquire a 2018 G30 530d. Trie.

As with everyone else, my opinions are heavily biased and influenced by my personal automotive journey, so a brief recap is well warranted.

In 2012, I got my first personal car, a hand-me-down Swift LDi. Being my first car, I have tons of fond memories associated with the car. However given the fact that it had zero safety features, I decided to go in for an upgrade.

In 2015, my heart was set on finding a good pre-owned Jetta. However, I was unable to find one and instead ended up getting a new Ford Aspire TDCi instead. It was a fantastic car for its segment, but it was no match for a Jetta. The itch to upgrade came on too quickly once again, but this time I wanted a proper upgrade.

In 2019, I decided to get a pre-owned German sedan. I test-drove a couple of options and finally found a very well-maintained 320D, which had done just 33K KMs in 5 years and had a full-service history. While the 20D engine does not have a very good reputation on this forum (too noisy, lack of power etc), I was very happy with the torque on offer and the ZF8 gearbox which always kept the engine in the right rev range was a huge plus. A stage 1 remap from Pete's meant that it had more than enough power for 99% of the roads, and a 0-100 time of 6.5 seconds meant that it was really quite fast. I'd also unlocked the Sports Automatic Gearbox on the car, which meant that the gearshifts were super quick & crisp, with a very sporty jerk during upshifts that only added to the feeling of acceleration.

The 320d was great. It was easy to maintain, was super reliable and never called for anything besides regular maintenance. And it was super fun to drive - the turn-in and steering response was amazing, and so was the ultimate grip on offer with RWD dynamics.

So why did I want to upgrade? Well, no real reason except that I wanted to, and if I had to, no point wasting the years of our life away, waiting for something you want, right?

So the criterion for my 2022 upgrade was set:

  1. More fun to drive
  2. Great ride & handling balance
  3. A reasonable number of nice-to-have toys
  4. Budget of about 30-60L (I know it's a huge range, but when looking in the pre-owned market, you can't narrow down your filters too much)

Cars considered:

F10 530d - The obvious value choice.

I did not really want another F series BMW - familiarity breeds contempt after all! Plus the N57 had some scary engine failures at close to 1L km, and even the newest cars were fairly old by 2022. I just kept it as a backup option but I was kind of afraid of getting bored too quickly.

G20 330i - The forum fan favorite

If I didn't already have a 320d, this one would've been really high up on my priority list. However, the engine didn't really feel like a big upgrade to me, vs my remapped 320d. It had slightly lower torque and slightly higher peak power, but the difference was not something that I felt was substantial enough to spend big money on. On top of that, even the MSport version lacks a lot of features which I wanted - like Adaptive dampers, a better sound system, usable headlights (G20 LEDs are quite hopeless as per owner's reviews), comfort access, lumbar support etc. Hence dropped.

E350 CDI (W212) - The unexpected entrant

During one of my regular trawls online, I came across a very low mileage W212 E350 Cdi which was very reasonably priced (30L for the 2015 model, just 21K kms). The extremely tempting price made me think that I might be able to overlook the slight differences in the Fun-to-drive quotient vs the equivalent 5, but one drive in the car was enough to tell me that I was completely wrong. The power was immense - there's no arguing with that V6 diesel with 620NM of torque, but the gearbox was slow, the steering was slow, and the throttle pedal was slow. Apart from the flat-out power (which it only delivered when really coaxed), it was no fun to drive at all and I did not connect with the car at all. Dropped.

M340i, S5 & C43 AMG - The gasoline seductresses

Now nobody (least of all me) needs a 6-cylinder turbo petrol for Indian roads. However these cars were special, and what kind of an enthusiast would I be if I didn't already lust after one? Sadly I only ever saw an M340i for sale in BLR, which was outside of my budget. And I dropped the idea of the C43 AMG after one drive in the W205 C300d AMG. The C300d was super stiff and skittish over even the slightest of blemishes on the road. It gave me a newfound appreciation for the fantastic ride of the F30 3 series and reinforced my requirement of having a good ride/handling balance. The S5 was my last preference (Famous Audi understeer) among these three and I never found a car worth checking out anyway. A recent ride-along in Robi's M340i confirmed that it does have a totally livable ride quality, but I guess it was just not meant for me.

G30 530d - The perfect sedan (for me)?

The G30 530d was a true return to form for BMW. It ticked all of the boxes for me and ever since a test drive back in 2019 where it completely blew me away, I kind of knew that I had to get one, one day. The only issue was availability and it took almost 1 year of looking on and off in the crazy post-covid market (especially in BLR) to find a great example at a reasonable price.

The buying process:

I was clear that I would not buy a car from any of the used car dealers in BLR, both because of their shady practices and the hyperinflated prices. This meant that the search process was quite long. But I was in no rush as my 320d was in great shape and it was still a ton of fun to drive. The BLR used car market for luxury cars is vanishingly small, much smaller than Delhi/Mumbai ones for example, and almost all cars are immediately lapped up by the used car dealers (some call themselves as 'investors') and then relisted with 10-15% markup. And this is the best-case scenario which only involves a price markup - to speak nothing of the other shenanigans that are usual practices.

One fine day, I noticed a new 530d listing on Spinny Max. It looked pretty interesting - 2018 530d with just 10K km on the clock, listed at a price within my budget! I knew it was a recent listing as I had checked out another 530d with them recently (which was driven much more & wasn't in great condition) so I immediately booked it by paying a 25K token advance. The test drive was booked for the next day.

The TD went great - the car was in mint condition inside & out. And the drive was perfect - no vibrations at high speeds or while braking. The service history checked out and the car had a genuine 10K km on the odo. After I came back from the first TD, I quickly called my wife and took another quick spin around the block, just to preempt the possibility of finalizing the car before she'd even seen it.

Post the TD, I was ecstatic. Was this really the one I'd been waiting for? Was I really getting a 5-3-0-D? Well, I had a lot of work to do before I could finalize it so I got down to the background checks.

  • The service history was provided by Spinny - nothing unusual. I double-checked the same with my SA from Navnit motors.
  • There was only 1 insurance claim for a windshield replacement
  • All tyres were original 2018 make, except for 1 which was 2019 (All Goodyear Eagle F1 RFTs)
  • No errors on the iDrive or with an OBD scanner
  • All the panels had original paint (I checked myself with a paint thickness gauge)
  • The last service is done at Navnit just a few KMs back, with almost 1 more year to go for the next service
  • Almost 10 months of Zero Dep insurance were remaining

At the warehouse:

Even after all this, which pointed to a completely clean car, I was still a bit paranoid. So I went to check out the car a couple more times and double and triple-checked everything that I could. A little bit of negotiation later (yes, they do have the tiniest bit of room for negotiation - the prices are almost fixed) was all down to a final yes or a no from me. I thought long and hard about it. In the end, I told myself that given the mint condition of the car, if I didn't go ahead with this one, I might as well stop looking for a replacement car, because such a car was extremely unlikely to pop up again.

Decision made, I transferred the funds and set the delivery date to the day after. In all, I went from booking the car online to the delivery of the car in 1 week flat. I must credit the Spinny Max team here as well - they were extremely courteous & professional throughout the process which was an important factor in going ahead with the car.

Continue reading BHPian d3mon's pre-owned BMW 530d for more insights and information.

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