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How we bought a used BMW 530d: Detailed review with likes & dislikes

The 5 Series in particular grabbed my attention when I got a ride in my friend's F10 520d which was the second-ever bimmer I rode in.

BHPian NerdyMillennial recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

Likes

  • Exterior styling. The 5er in my opinion is one of the most well-proportioned sedans ever
  • Well-balanced ride quality in comfort mode
  • Driving dynamics. Because of its adaptive suspension, the car completely changes the way it drives based on the chosen drive mode. Comfort / Sport / Eco pro.
  • Monstrous inline 6-cylinder turbo diesel engine. 265 HP & 620 Nm torque
  • ZF gearbox
  • Superb brakes
  • Excellent cabin insulation
  • Nappa leather seats are very comfortable
  • Adaptive LED headlights
  • Head-up display
  • 360-degree camera system
  • Wireless Apple Car Play
  • 4-zone climate control. This feature is a family favourite during road trips.
  • Ergonomics. In an age of soft touch or complete touch screen systems, this car has well-placed tactile buttons for everything except for adjusting the AC fan speed which is touch sensitive.
  • Comfort access aka keyless entry and go

Meh

  • Hands-free operation for the boot lid is only for opening. Needs to be shut manually by hand.
  • Steering feel in comfort mode.
  • Default flat EQ settings do not do justice to the excellent Harmon-Kardon 464W 16-speaker system. Highly recommend adjusting this to your liking.
  • No full-screen option for Apple Car Play. The same can be coded if the iDrive is updated to versions NBTEvo_N or greater. My car unfortunately has the NBTEvo_M.
  • Unlike iDrive 7, iDrive 6 UI is not adjusted for right-hand drive cars.
  • Gesture control
  • Indirect TPMS. It does not show the exact pressure in each tyre but only lets you know of significantly lowered tyre pressure by sensing the RPM of each wheel and comparing it with the rest.

Dislikes

  • Expensive spare parts and repairs
  • The car is not under warranty or BSI. We have knowingly entered this potentially dangerous territory.
  • Space saver tyre reduces the boot space significantly
  • The wireless phone/display key charger is very slow
  • Rear seat back angle is a touch too upright for my liking. The rear seats on my friend’s F10 520d are noticeably more reclined.
  • Rear entertainment displays.
  • Left ORVM is not auto-dimming anymore.
  • Android Auto is missing on iDrive 6.
  • Significantly low ground clearance of the G30 530d M Sport variant at 139mm. All variants of the G30 530i and 520d seem to ride a bit higher at 144mm as per websites like carwale, cartrade etc. BMW does not seem to publish official figures for the same.

Like most of us here, I have been captivated by cars since childhood. However, my fascination with BMWs began only a couple of years ago when the 3 series would cost 30L, the 5 series 50L and the 7 series 70L.

The 5 Series in particular grabbed my attention when I got a ride in my friend's F10 520d which was the second ever bimmer I rode in (The first ever was another friend's 320d GT). Just weeks after that, he was invited to the launch of the all-new G30 here in Pune and asked me if I'd like to tag along, of course, I did!

The star of the show was this 530d with white interiors which was unveiled using its display key remote parking feature.

At the same time, in another corner of the showroom stood a white G30 in 520d guise. We enjoyed exploring both cars and learning about their differences. As good as the 520d was, the 530d with its features, M Sport kit and most importantly the performance specifications just blew me away and I made up my mind that it has to be one of the cars that I must get during my lifetime, all this even before I drove the car. A few months later, I got to drive a relative's G30 530d and now I was properly obsessed with it!

In the following months, I drove the 320d GT one night, it felt luxurious and adequately quick but certainly did not hold a candle to the refinement and finesse of the 530d which was understandable given the vast price difference. Where the 3GT completely smoked the 5 was the rear seat legroom and boot space, the thing would give E class a run for its money.

Soon after, on a trip to Australia, I rented the 220i convertible M Sport for a day to drive around Sydney for plane spotting. This car was a completely different experience. It had a 2-Litre 4-cylinder petrol engine that revved to almost 7000RPM which was a lot of fun. More than anything we just enjoyed cruising around town with the top down in this fun little car looking for places to go and clicking pictures of planes till we ran out of light!

Everything said and done, my heart was still on the 530d as my bimmer of choice when the time would come. I knew the benefits of buying pre-owned thanks to posts on TeamBHP and soon started frequenting used car websites to look at cars available as my pass-time.

Fast forward 4 years, one fine morning, the following conversation took place.

  • Dad: The driver said Corolla is running low on fuel, get it filled once he is back.
  • Me: Already!? Anyways, I'll top it off. Now I feel that we should have moved fast to close the deal on that red pre-owned Grand i10 back in December, it was pretty much a brand-new car and would have been a perfect replacement for the corolla which has now become our default beater car, gas-guzzling one at that.
  • Mom who doesn't like hatchbacks, especially with black interiors: I am glad that you didn't, you know that I did not like that car. We should get a new car instead, like that Skoda we saw in the showroom before we got your Honda City a couple of years ago.
  • Dad: Which car was that?
  • Me: Skoda Superb... but then the Corolla will remain as a beater, or we'll have to assign those duties to the City.
  • Dad to me: Show.
  • Dad (After seeing the official website): Seems good! Go take a test drive today, and if you like it, book one in blue colour.
  • Me: If we are going to spend so much, might as well spend a bit more and get a pre-owned BMW 530d instead. I have seen one listed for sale, it's even blue!
  • Dad: Show. (sees the photos, official website, and youtube videos and likes it). I like the car, even the exterior and interior colours are good.
  • Mom: Show. (looks at the photos). Masta aahe re, I love the blue colour and the interiors aren't black either.
  • Dad to me: Go see the car and if everything checks out, finalize it.
  • Me: DONE!

I contacted the dealer and he shared with me the BMW service history of the car over Whatsapp. And other than regular maintenance and two tyre replacements the only out-of-ordinary entry was that the left headlight assembly was replaced under warranty.

I drove down to Mumbai where the car was the very next day once the dealer confirmed that he will let me have the car inspected by BMW, took her out for a spin and to inspect under the sun. She drove and felt like a brand-new car and save for a few minor paint chips on the front bumper and bonnet, the exterior was in perfect condition. The interior was also in perfect condition except for the rear climate control panel which was not sitting flush on the right side and a little spot on the leather of the driver's seat. I also noted that the previous owner had later replaced the tyres with tubeless ones, Dunlop SP Sport Maxx at the back and Momo Outruns at the front while retaining the staggered setup. Satisfied with the car (except for the front tyre choice), we decided to get the inspection done at Navnit Motors, Thane where the car was going for its scheduled maintenance in the following two days.

As soon as we got an all-clear from BMW, we proceeded further to close the deal and within 2-3 days, brought the mighty blue car home! It is a 2018 car with ~15800kms on the ODO as we brought her home.

All prepped for customary Pooja

As I write this post, the car has completed about 6500kms over the past 6 months with us.

Exterior

This picture is a testament to the saying "A picture is worth a thousand words" as it captures the overall demeanour of the car perfectly. A very sophisticated lady who can turn into a freak at the push of a button, how you see her then depends on which of the two personalities appeal to you at any given moment.

The M Sport bumpers and black kidney grills make the front look menacing.

It is a long car at 4936mm. While short overhangs help a lot, its the middle part that raises your adrenaline even at crawling speeds due to the low GC of 139mm for the 530d M Sport and uncultured roads in and around Pune which is where she is primarily driven. However, this will only catch you off guard with a scrape if you are not really paying attention, otherwise, it is manageable for the most part.

The width at 1868mm though on the wider side (Fortuner is 1855mm), is perfectly useable on our normal city roads, it is the very narrow lanes that one has to be very careful on since she hogs most of the road leaving no space for other cars to pass.

For one reason or another, these will be the most seen sides of the car by others while she is on the move.

I just love these alloys and how the blue-coloured M Sport brake callipers match the car. Notice the little "bump" below the bumper acting as an air deflector. Also, those black vents behind the wheel…

...are functional.

And so are these on the side of the front bumpers. Notice how different the Mediterranean Blue colour looks when the angle of light hitting it changes. These pictures were clicked within 2 mins of each other.

There are ducts on either side of the lower central grill that direct air towards the inside of the front wheels. I presume these are for brake disk cooling while also reducing drag?

The car also has what BMW calls Active Kidney Grills up front which are basically normal front radiator grills but with electronically controlled flaps which remain closed to reduce drag while driving…

...and only open up for brief periods when the car needs extra cooling or when the AC has to work hard. When closed, the car breathes through the lower grill of the bumper. There are no buttons or menus on the iDrive to control or alter their behaviour in any way, the car does everything on its own as it sees fit. Fun fact: the hybrid versions of the 5er abroad have "Active flaps" on the bumper grill as well.

The Adaptive LED headlights look amazing on the car. They work extremely well too. The real magic however happens once the headlight switch is moved to the "auto" position, they obviously light up once it starts to get dark but most importantly the low beam bends in the direction the steering is pointing. The same keeps happening when you engage the (very powerful) manual high beams where both the high and low beams turn in the direction of steering. It is only when you are on the highway with the high beam assist enabled that these really come to life.

Using the camera mounted on the windshield, the system monitors the road ahead and they split the beam such that everything other than the car in front of you (or coming towards you) is lit by the very powerful LED high beam and they react in real-time as you change lanes, the "dark spot" also adjusts itself. This system works extremely well with cars and properly maintained trucks, however, it struggles to recognise some of the trucks which are painted in various funky shades or with improper lighting on them in which case the system does not split the beam and those vehicles are shone with the torturously bright high beam and you have to disable the high beam assist till you pass them.

How do I know that these assisted high beams are torturously bright? Well, when the system does not recognise the vehicle in front, even the light that is reflected off of the reflectors on that vehicle will blind you. I don't know for sure but I have a feeling that the high beams are brighter when the assist function is enabled since that is when they only shine on the area the car thinks is safe.

The ORVMs are adequately sized and do their job well. They are also able to swing the other way so they won't break if a biker decides to knock them over. These mirrors with convex outer edges take a while to get used to at first but they are fantastic once you are accustomed to them.

The passenger side mirror is not the dimmable kind anymore on the G30. It however does tilt down when the reverse gear is engaged, provided the mirror adjuster switch is set to the driver's side. I found the tilt angle to be a bit too shallow for my sitting position but I was able to code it to tilt further downward when in reverse using BimmerCode and it's perfect now!

Continue reading about NerdyMillennial's pre-owned BMW 530d for BHPian comments, insights and more information.

 
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