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he all new BMW 5 Series (G30) is marketed internationally as the 'Business Athlete', hinting at the BMW 5 Series' success as the world's leading business sedan, having sold almost eight million units globally across its first six generations.
A good business sedan is comfortable, spacious and well-furnished. It should be the perfect vehicle for enhanced business travel productivity. A great one, however, takes all of that and adds user-friendliness, exceptional driving performance and superior fuel economy into the mix.

For the boys at sgCarMart, only a greater-than-good business sedan truly deserves the designation of a 'Business Athlete'. To find out if the all new BMW 5 Series makes the cut, we went on a road trip up north with the model's entry-level variant, the diesel-powered BMW 520d, over almost 1,000km of endless highways, poorly paved city tarmac and challenging mountainous inclines.
It was supposed to be an estimated four-hour drive up to our home for the night at Dorsett Kuala Lumpur but horrible traffic extended our driving time to a tiring seven hours.

The natural reaction to this, of course, would be to moan and groan as we crept through traffic. However, we realised there was no reason to because we were comfortably basked in a BMW 5 Series.

Deciding to kick back and relax, we electronically reclined the car's plush leather seats, loaded some slow jams and enjoyed the surprisingly beautiful sunset.

After wiggling through much of the North-South Highway no quicker than 20km/h, the road finally cleared. We had to make up for lost time. With a simple flick of the car's Driving Experience Control switch, we put it in Sport and gunned for the horizon.

By then, the roads were dark, but adaptive LED headlamps made light work of illuminating our path, as we zipped past the dim glows of slower neighbouring vehicles.

Even under fast and very hard driving towards Kuala Lumpur, the efficiency of the BMW 520d's 2.0-litre turbodiesel powertrain is exceptional, thanks in part to a carefully calculated eight-speed steptronic transmission.

The car's multifunctional instrument display showed that the average fuel consumption we clocked then was a healthy 13km/L. Not bad at all for heavy-footed driving and a car that weighs 1,635kg. To top it off, thanks to the high level of comfort and ergonomics afforded by the car, we felt no less drained than we would after a stroll through the park.
It's likely that people who drive these cars have demanding daily schedules so keeping up with what's happening around the world might only be a weekend luxury.

But with BMW's latest generation iDrive infotainment system, BMW 5 Series owners won't have to wait till the weekend to get their dose of news. Using the system's ConnectedDrive BMW Online services, we were able to access international news items of specific interest, which is great for killing time in between meetings or while waiting to pick up your spouse.
At the same time, weather updates for the point of departure and destination were conveniently fed to us.

For people who spend a lot of time in their cars, an individual range of services such as fuel price information, parking information, as well as travel and hotel guides may be set up via the applications menu.

The connection of Bluetooth and USB devices also means you can conveniently organise your day-to-day life when out and about. E-mails, dates, tasks and text messages are shown on the Control Display or read aloud over the audio speakers.
Itching to find out if the BMW 520d can live up to the 'Athlete' aspect of its moniker, we took the car 1,800m above sea level, over a distance of 51km, to Genting Highlands.

Those who've driven up will know that the journey to Genting involves a short stint along the infamous Kuala Lumpur-Karak Expressway, also known as the Karak Highway.

A simple search on YouTube will reveal the regular illegal racing action across the Karak, thanks to the allure of its many high-speed corners and even faster straights. But given the BMW 5 Series' Autobahn-crossing and dynamic handling DNA, the car proved to be right at home on the famed expressway.

The real test, however, laid ahead as we exited the Karak for the snaky grounds up Genting. The BMW 520d's turbo four-cylinder producing 188bhp isn't what you'd call powerful by today's standards but knowing that we had 400Nm of torque from just 1,750rpm, the climb wasn't as intimidating. We kept the car in Sport mode, locking it mostly in the lower gears, enthusiastically finding the perfect lines up and making a beeline for them.

Being the entry-level model of the all new BMW 5 Series family, the BMW 520d comes without the adaptive suspension or even the M Sport's stiffer suspension setup. But even then, the car's reactions are steady and consistent, thanks to sharp steering inputs that allowed accurate point-and-shoot precision.
We made our way back the next morning, enjoying the same sort of untamed spiralling asphalts we faced coming up. Just before we hit the North-South Highway for the long drive home, we had clocked almost 600km since we left Singapore. By this time, the car had just under half a tank of diesel left.

Not wanting to take any risks, we topped up RM50 worth of FuelSave Euro 5 diesel at Shell, which bumped the volume up to almost a complete, full tank. As we were ahead of schedule, we were able to enjoy a nice pace back, thoroughly taking in whatever the roads and the car had to offer.

We set out on this trip hoping to find as many flaws with the car as we could. Unfortunately, or fortunately, we were left with nothing but smiles.

The BMW 520d exceeded our expectations. It ticks just about every box in the book, and then some, fulfilling every need thought possible of long-distance driving, driving dynamics and efficiency. After three days, the car proudly managed a concluded fuel economy average of 19km/L.
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