Driving the BMW 520d – The Road to Frankfurt – Review

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A few minutes after half past eleven I reset the trip computer of the BMW 520d and joined the A99 in the direction Stuttgart / Nürnberg at the interchange near Kirchheim. In the north of Munich, where the A99 divides into the A8 and A96, I stayed to the right and followed the A8. Because of a truck accident ahead, the Navi reported a full closure of the A8 between the interchange Adelzhausen and Dasing. Via the exit Adelzhausen I had to leave the A8, and took the U52 (alternative route), rejoining the A8 near Dasing. Thanks to the accident and closure, I had already lost 20 minutes. I tried to make up some time and pushed the BMW 520d up to 200 km/h (125 mph).

After passing Augsburg I continued on the old, two-lane A8, which had been built in the mid 1930s. Our maximum speed was limited to 120 km/h along this section of the Autobahn. There were plenty of speed cameras installed to monitor traffic along this section.

I passed Stuttgart after having driven 150 km (93 miles).  I had rejoined the A8 near Dasing and still had to go another 50 km (31 miles) before I would reach Karlsruhe. Thanks to traffic jam, caused by a construction area near Pforzheim, I lost more time.  A few minutes after three o’clock, I exited onto the A5 near the interchange “Karlsruhe Süd” which I followed for the last 168 km (104 miles). The A5 starts at the Swiss border near Basel and its northern terminus is at the Hattenbach triangle, where it intersects with the A7.

Continuing on the A5, I passed the cities of Heidelberg and Mannheim and proceeded on a four lane stretch of highway towards Darmstadt and Frankfurt. The A5 was the first Autobahn in Germany to be expanded to four lanes in each direction (only a small number of the German highways are this wide; more common are three lanes plus an emergency lane). Because of construction work near Darmstadt, the maximum allowable speed was 100 km/h (62 mp/h). I followed the A648, also called “Messeautobahn” (Trade Fair Highway) because it connects the A5 with the Frankfurt Trade Fair grounds, and reached my destination, the Hotel Hessischer Hof on the Friedrich-Ebert-Allee, at a quarter to five.

After a drive of 439 km (273 miles), which took one hour longer than Google Maps had calculated (thanks to a full Autobahn closure, a  traffic-jam, construction sites, and many speed limitations), the 520d used 6.2 l/100 km (38 mpg). Its average speed was 90.3 km/h (56.1 mp/h).

The BMW 520d’s real-world fuel consumption was 1.0 l/100 km more than the official EU highway (extra-urban) rating of 5.2 l/100 km (45.23 mpg).

Interestingly enough, the 535d’s real-world fuel economy of 7.1 l/100 km (34 mpg) was also 1.0 l/100 km more than its official EU highway rating of 6.1 l/100 km (38.5 mpg).  Our average speed in the 535d, however, was 111 km/h (68.9 mph) compared to an average speed of 90.3 km/h (56.1 mph) in the 520d.


BMW 520d

Base price/price-as-tested €40,350 / €66,800
Drivetrain Front engine, rear-wheel drive
Engine 2-liter, 184-hp, I-4
Transmission 8-speed sport automatic
Curb weight (kg) 1700
Wheelbase (inches) 116.8
Length x width x height (inches) 192.8 / 73.2 / 58.0
0-100 km/h (seconds) 8.1
Maximum top speed km/h 225
City/highway fuel economy (mpg) 36.75 / 52.3
Combined CO2-Emissions 137 g/km




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