BMW has recently become one of the best makers of diesel engines on the market. While BMW wasn’t always the best diesel maker, it’s recently been belting out some seriously good ones. Those great diesels are offered in several of BMW’s current models but there’s on in particular that seems to be garnering some praise. Oddly enough, it’s a Japanese-market BMW 5 Series.
In the Japanese-market BMW 523d, you get a 2.0 liter turbocharged four-cylinder diesel engine that makes 190 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. That’s not a ton but it’s enough to propel the 5 Series from 0-60 mph in 6.2 seconds. That’s about the same time as the BMW 530i, with the B48 turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine. So it’s not slow by any means and punchy enough to easily shoot gaps in traffic. But it’s best party trick isn’t what it does, it’s what it doesn’t do — make noise.
Diesels often have the reputation for being loud, clattery and un-premium sounding. Except for the four-pot diesel in the 523d, which is smooth, quiet and calm. At idle, it might make a slight diesel rumble that needs to be closely listened to, to hear and feel. However, once on the move, it hushes and becomes a smooth and relaxing engine that still provides ample thrust. What it lacks in pure speed, though, it makes up for with impressive fuel economy, as it can crest 45 mpg.
Combine that engine with the new 5 Series’ chassis dynamics and ride comfort and you have a real smooth criminal. The BMW 5 Series is one of the best cars on the market at combining smooth performance with comfortable luxury. It’s possibly the best on the market. The cabin is luxurious and full of tech, even if some of it is a bit gimmicky, and the quality is superb. While a car like the 523d isn’t going to light anyone’s hair on fire, in terms of handling and dynamics, it can certainly entertain if a stretch of high-speed sweeping turns approaches. It might not be a canyon-carver but it’s no slouch, either.
So if you live in Japan and are looking for a smooth, comfortable and quiet luxury car that won’t let you down in twisty stuff and will also return good fuel economy, look no further than the BMW 523d.