Car Review: BMW 520d M – Putting The Kid Back In The Country

It was a real world problem. I had a high-end Tasting Australia event on a farm an hour and a half from the city to get to through peak hour traffic.

While a clear and calm night was on the cards at Yankalilla’s Wakefield Grange farm, comfort was still a consideration.

Comfort and something practical.

And I’m not talking about my outfit… not even the skilled team at Wakefield Grange Butchers could make a silk purse from this sow’s ear!

My focus was on what would deliver me to the shearing shed venue off Main South Road in style but without looking like a twat.

The BMW 520d was therefore a well-timed drive for a lad off the land who is in the process of shaking his city ways for a return home to farm life. Even if the M-spec on the 2.0-litre luxury diesel tips the balance towards it being a city drive.

While far from fact considering advancements in technology, you do still hear diesel spoken about as a farm fuel. So the 520d did kind of belong parked outside a shearing shed on the side of a hill as about 30 guests tucked into sensational American smoked BBQ delights by the skilled Rub & Grub BBQ Team.

The Fleurieu Peninsula-sourced tasting plate at the Wakefield Grange Tasting Australia event.

Dessert is served… by The Fleurieu Kitchen.

Looking good in that setting may have been its only redeemable quality on the land, but the 520d more than holds its own in the city streets and wide open roads into the country.

Even the cheapest of the 5 Series – starting at $93,900 – gets levels of technology to make driving a breeze.

The helping hands come in the form of a 10.25-inch touch screen, large head-up display which can read street signs and your phone and the key-remote (which you can use to remotely park the vehicle) can be charged on a wireless central charging pad.

A surround-view reversing camera and parking sensors helps plenty when you’re ready to pull up to the function, while active cruise control, cross traffic alert, lane keep assist and cross-road alerts couple to make the 520d capable of driving itself autonomously for 30 second intervals… although it is not something attempted on the kangaroo swamped country roads through Myponga towards Yankalilla.

The 520d features a 2.0-litre diesel producing 140kW and 400Nm which is coupled with an eight-speed auto gearbox.

And the 520d is not short on style either with 18-inch alloys, leather trim, dual-zone climate control and a 12-speaker stereo.

Just as our Tasting Australia night hosted by Wakefield Grange had its highlights – succulent competition standard smoked BBQ meats; a heaving pre-dinner Fleurieu Peninsula sourced platter; Hither & Yon wines and American-inspired desserts by The Fleurieu Kitchen – so too did the 520d M spec.

Handling, performance and refinement are of a typically BMW high standard and genuine highlights.

But the standout, for an easily-amused lad from the land (and his kid) had to be the air-controlled, sensor driven finger-twirling volume control. Fun for hours with the wiggle of your finger.

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