Marc Noordeloos, a contributor for Automobile Magazine, has recently driven the 2011 BMW 530d Wagon. Unfortunately for U.S. customers, the attractive and sleek-looking 5er Touring is only available in Europe and in the UK has already proven to be a great seller. Due to low volume sales in the United States, BMW decided to bet on the new 5 Series Gran Turismo, a vehicle that so far it has been far more appealing to the American buyers.
The 530d Wagon is equipped with a 3.0 liter twin-turbo turbocharged diesel engine that delivers 245 hp and 398 lb-ft. The 530d comes standard with a 6-speed manual.
Let’s have a look at an excerpt from their review.
“Overall, the power and economy of the 530d is an excellent balance. There is minimal turbo lag and the engine is smooth and near-rattle free. Also, I rarely was left wanting for the more powerful (and more expensive) 535d. The automatic transmission is overall very smooth through it is slightly more lethargic in normal mode than I would like. This is no doubt due to fuel economy as it is always eager to grab the next highest gear and is slow to downshift. A quick flick of the transmission lever into sport mode takes care of that complaint when more control is needed. Manual shifting with the paddles or gear selector is intuitive and responsive though the torque of the engine rarely calls the driver to take over the commands. Fuel economy is impressive, especially when you consider the size and weight of the wagon. The car returned a touch over 40 mpg (indicated, U.S. mpg) on easy runs on the English motorway and hard driving and short trips over a tank of fuel resulted in an average reading of 28 mpg (indicated, U.S. mpg). Based upon my time in other 5-series models in the USA, I’d say that is about 6-8 mpg better than a 535i would return in similar driving. This agrees with the fact that European fuel economy tests of the 535i and 530d reveal the diesel returns 26% better fuel economy.
So, is BMW’s decision to not offer the new 5-series wagon in the USA a mistake? From a handling and dynamics aspect, the wagon doesn’t fix the issues I have with the newest 5-series range. The new car feels like a slightly smaller 7-series from behind the wheel where the last generation 5-series drove more like a bigger 3-series. If BMW went back and fiddled with the steering, it would be a big first step in fixing the issue. Still, the wagon no doubt beats the taller and heavier 5-series Gran Turismo dynamically. From a styling aspect, the 5 wagon is the best looking of the range. The proportions are fantastic and the wagon rear end nicely balances the car from the side and rear ¾ profiles. From a practicality aspect, the wagon easily trumps the 5-series GT as well. It has more headroom front and rear and the cargo area is over 25 percent larger in the wagon. The GT does have slightly more legroom and a tiny bit more interior width.”