InsideLine: 2012 BMW 528i First Drive with 2.0 liter 4-cyl engine

5 Series | October 7th, 2011 by 12
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InsideLine delivers a quick drive report of the 2012 BMW 528i sedan. The entry-leve 5er into the US market goes through a major change under the hood. The 528i is the second model in the BMW lineup to receive an all-new four-cylinder engine. The 2012 BMW Z4 sDrive28i was the first to feature the all-new 2.0 liter four-cylinder engine, codename N20. The four-cylinder turbo unit replaces the venerable N52B30 six-cylinder naturally aspirated unit, one of most acclaimed BMW engines in the line-up.

The introduction of smaller, more efficient engines comes as no surprise for us since the Munich-based automaker has been committed for years to its EfficientDynamics program.

But can the new, gusty four banger overcome the weight of the 5 Series? Does the car still feel agile and responsive? Let’s have a look at an excerpt from the InsideLine review:

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Torque From Low Revs
The result is a very impressive 240 hp from 2.0 liters and even more usefully, a stout 258 lb-ft of torque from as low as 1,250 rpm. This torque stream is sustained all the way to 4,800 rpm, promising the kind of midrange punch that normally aspirated six-cylinder gas engines rarely offer. And you can feel its effects almost as soon as you move off, the 2012 BMW 528i advancing with a confident authority that’s heightened by the tremor-free activities of its eight-speed automatic transmission.

All those ratios help disguise the steep ramp to the torque peak, which kicks in with authority as the revs approach 2,000 rpm. But to uncover this, you must switch to manual shifting so you can hold the car in a gear, trickle it down to 1,000 rpm in 2nd and stomp on the accelerator as if you hate it. There’s a brief pause, followed by an excitingly exponential surge that leaves no doubt that this is a rapid car. By 2,000 rpm it’s pulling like a lashed mule and there’s a substantial power spike at 3,500 rpm. The acceleration is unrelenting until 6,500 rpm, when the transmission automatically upshifts to let you do it all over again.

Though this four has lost the turbinelike wail of the six, it’s more powerful and it stays smoothly unfussed until it closes on 6,600 rpm. The culture of the six is gone, but there’s more honest muscle to this engine. Those familiar with a BMW straight-6’s smooth-spinning ways will miss it some, but it makes the 5 Series a better car. There’s some refinement missing, but the return of lighter fuel bills, more torque and extra entertainment is a worthy trade.

Full review at InsideLine