As Cliched As It Sounds, Sometimes Less Is More.
To people closest to me, I’m known as one of the loudest persons in the room. Throw a throng of strangers into that room, and suddenly, the quieter I become. It’s just a balancing act I do between being extrovert and introvert when the need calls of it. Why? From where I come from, you don’t give yourself away easily. You hold back the wittiness and restrain your urge to impose your personality. I couldn’t help but draw similarities from this scenario, with this sweet-looking 5er I had in my possession a few weeks back. It was the perfect daily driver and here’s five reason why it was so perfect.
1- Looks Mean From The Outside
The sexy M Performance side skirts, the dangerous looking M Sport rims, the aggressive front M Performance bumper with some nice splitters and those ridiculously quirky blue brake calipers with the letter ‘M’ are all solidly good appointments. Even the usual BMW grille was finished in a customised high-gloss black. It was as if BMW Group Malaysia read my mind before I tested this baby. This particular styling lingo was direct, beastly yet dapper, a combination of nuances I’d go for with my own BMW 530i. I mean, just look at it! Kudos to BMW Group for having such awesome tastes.
2- Looks Clean On The Inside
Yes, there is that waning chorus now on the playlist; BMW interiors are outdated, uninspired and just bland, compared to what the Mercedeses and Audis of today offer. Even Volvo’s new V90/S90 are miles ahead in terms of interior design and functionality. Still, not all of us are impressed by the extra stuff and I for one appreciate the minimalist cabin design in something like the 5er. Whether this design lingo fits something like BMW’s Seven Series flagship is a different topic (read my onion about it here).
But the subdued door paneling, the elusive button clusters, the subtle ambient lighting and even the carefully thought-of storage compartments are just right. And since this particular 530i has been decked out in M Performance goodies, the interior also gets some touch up work, with the M badge appearing here and there, something I appreciated because it kept reminding me of BMW’s stellar ‘M’ cars. It also made me wonder if I would settle for this sort of subdued interior in an M car, considering the price points they command. Nonetheless, its a clean and dapper looking cabin the 530i has, the kind of cabin I don’t mind being stuck in for hours in peak traffic.
3- Drives On The Fun Side
Where the E Class can be clumsy and the Audi A6 can come off as over the top, the BMW 5 Series has always been my pick in this segment among the Germans when it comes to the drive experience. Actually, across any model, BMW to me, provides the best driving and handling experience (no, I did not get paid to say that. It’s just my taste). And let’s face it, this is where it matters most to the purists: the drive. Personally, this is an athletic work horse when you want it to be, and a dapper weekend driver after you pull her out of the car wash station. What are the numbers that give you this sporty driving experience?
Under this new G30 5 Series, is a 2.0-litre, turbocharged engine that has been tuned to have 252 German horses that crank our 350 Nm of torque. This allows it to dispatch the 0-100 km/h mark in just over 6 seconds, quite similar to the E Class, but as I mentioned, this 5er is built towards a sportier drive in contrast to Mercedes’ executive sedan which is slanted towards comfort. To me, having the power and the athleticism to drive in a commanding way trumps the unnecessary comfort and this is why the 5er feels more fun when you drop a brick on her throttle. When you flex her hoofs out on bends and straights, you will be smiling at some point because the 5er is tight with her body roll and agile. She’s elegant on trun-ins and fierce when you exit bends. What more can a driver want I wonder?
4- Feels Like The Sweet Side
There’s no contesting it; the E Class takes the podium top spot for luxurious amounts of cabin comfort offered to passengers in my opinion and the Audi A6, well… let’s just leave it out for this portion. Still, whenever I sit in an E Class, I always end up asking myself; are all of its flourishes necessary? No. In this 5er though, the conflict was not present. Where the E Class goes above and beyond to impress cabin occupants, the 5 Series isn’t loud and imposing. Unless you have some serious, debilitating back injuries or you’re 8-feet tall, the 5er’s cabin is bang on point in terms of legroom, comfort and functionality, three areas your cabin passengers will take note of.
Where the E Class could sometimes feel a little lofty because of the AIRMATIC air suspension, the struts on this 5er have been sprung firmly and yet still have the ability to make you forget that you’re actually sitting in a very sporty car. It’s also down to how the plush cushion work on its seats have been finished I reckon and it shows the German marque’s ability of looking into the details. Even when the executive sedan kicks up some dust, your passengers don’t feel it at all, unlike in the E Class or A6, where sprints might unsettle your passengers.
5- Made For A Tech Lifestyle
As old-school as a Bimmer can be in its driving and cabin experience, there’s no denying how connected this car makes you feel with our seemingly digitalised age. There’s the intuitive iDrive infotainment system, a system which has been the benchmark for all other premium German brands in this segment since 2001. That’s right, Mercedes-Benz’s COMAND (Cockpit Management and Data system) and Audi’s MMI (Multi Media Interface) all took a few leaves out of BMW’s iDrive system, even though they might not admit it. It’s a system that has paved the way for interactive engagement in premium cars for almost two decades now and if you’re a BMW owner or if you’ve ever driven an iDrive-ed BMW, you know I’m not exaggerating.
In fact, it’s only recently that BMW’s competition have come close to replicating the iDrive’s easy-to-use features. Besides the cool gesture-control feature, you even get BMW’s funky digital key fob, which on its own, looks like the key to a NASA lunar module. And to top it all of, there’s the latest version of BMW’s ConnectedDrive system, which not only allows one to surf for things online quickly, but also integrates all of one’s smartphone needs easily. The thing I love about it the most, is how I can use it easily without taking my eyes off the road, as opposed to Mercedes-Benz’s COMAND or Audi’s MMI. For the latter two, I need to stay parked for a while before I get around to finding my way through it.
You might disagree on all these points based on your own bias. Heck, that’s why it’s called an opinion. But it’s the whole package I’m talking about here. The 530i looks sweet in this little spruced up version, it’s comfortable to a premium level and its in-car tech minimalises the calamities one can so often get caught in with this digital/smartphone with its iDrive system. There is confidence in its aggressive exterior lines that are also reflected on the interior’s crisp design lingo. Some might say it’s boring, uninspiring and the like, however, I believe it’s a case of ‘less is more’. Besides, the best part of the BMW 530i M Sport, is how the whole suite of offerings are all focused on allowing its driver to do one, single, important thing with luxurious ease: drive. And when you do drive it, you’ll realise it’s actually dishing out more than your money’s worth. It’s a sophisticated thing, really. That’s why when I think about it, if this is not a perfect daily driver, only God Almighty knows what is.