by John Elford

BMW 530d X Drive: The upper limit

When approaching the new BMW 530d X Drive, the stunning good looks of the vehicle are immediately apparent, from the adaptive LED headlights, with selective beam and high beam assistant, which automatically switch from high to low beam to the L-shaped tail lights and everything in between


The aerodynamic body styling draws you to the car and accentuates the BMW evolution protocol, common with all BMWs. Even the door handles light up at night for ease of operation, while the quadrilateral exhaust pipes promise a driving experience not often encountered. The 2.2 inch colour LCD keypad provides a whole array of information.

Open the driver’s door and slip into the luxurious leather interior, with climate-controlled air conditioning for the front and rear passengers. The fine-line ridge wood interior finish with pearl chrome high-lite, extends into the door, giving a rich feeling to the overall luxury of the car.

Electronically adjustable seating ensures the driver and front seat passenger can adjust their seats perfectly for their comfort and safety, while the steering can be adjusted to suit the driver.

The dashboard is clean and concise with all of the instruments and dials easily accessible. A dial next to the gear selector allows easily dialled-in information for the radio or on-road information. This is all instantly available on the heads-up display directly in front of the driver.

The heads-up display is an innovative feature that allows the driver to watch the road, but at the same time keep his/her eye on the speed and other critical information. Radio channels and fuel consumption, distance to empty and other vital signs are available without taking your eyes off the road. When engaging cruise control all the vital information is also displayed here.

The electronic dashboard also changes depending on the mode set. In economy mode, the rev counter makes way for eco-friendly dials that instantly measure the amount of fuel being used, and helps control the amount of throttle used to save fuel. In the sport mode the dials light up and show that you now mean business.

The normal mode, which is where most people will operate the vehicle, has more than enough power. The centre console also features GPS navigation as well as radio/media controls and visuals. Bluetooth phone connections also feature in the consol.

Touch the starter button on the dashboard and the 3 litre V6 twin turbo engine springs to life. The exhaust note is not too high, but just enough to show this vehicle means business. On tap is 195Kw of power @ 4 000 rpm and a dazzling 620Nm of torque at between 2 000 and 2 500 rpm. Pulling away can be a gentle affair, luxuriously smooth in normal or eco mode or electrifying in sport mode.

Once on the open road—this is where the 530 excels—the suspension comes to life. The front has an aluminium double track control axle with a separate lower track arm. A small steering roll radius with traverse force compensation ensures perfect control at all times while the five link aluminium lightweight construction air suspension ensures a smooth comfortable ride on all surfaces and road conditions. Vented disc brakes all round ensure smooth stopping at all times.

From a driving dynamics point of view, all the standard systems are installed for safety and comfort—ABS (anti-skid braking system), DTC (dynamic traction control), CBC (cornering brake control) as well as DBC (dynamic brake control) to mention but a few. Safety features include a full range of airbags including head airbags for the front and rear occupants. A belt latch tensioner and a belt force limiter in the front as well as crash active front head restraints, crash sensors and tyre pressure monitor are all standard fitments.

The 8-speed steptronic transmission effortlessly changes gears depending on the road conditions. If required, the automatic can be changed to manual and the driver can change gears depending on his or her needs.

The different driving modes can be changed on the go depending on driver needs. By touching the sport mode the gears immediately reset themselves and feed more power through the transmission. At the same time, if the driver would like to change to eco mode on the drive all that is needed is a touch of the button next to the gear shift, and the car immediately switches to eco mode.

With all of the features that abound in the 530 “sheer driving pleasure”, although a cliché, perfectly explains the 530d. Powerful, economical, comfortable and safe, the superlatives go on forever.

Marketed as a luxury executive sedan, the BMW 530d has all of the hallmarks of a product perfectly designed and manufactured to the highest standards.

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