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March 13, 2022

Review: 2022 BMW 520i Luxury

BMW is the undisputed market leader in luxury vehicles in the Philippines. But while they tend to do excellently sales-wise, they don’t offer the same leadership when it comes to creature comfort features. The foundations—the engine and platform—all tend to be solid, but they fall short when it comes to things that customers actually touch and feel like the trimmings and accruements.

That’s all changed with the 2022 BMW 5 Series. In an ingenious move, BMW has decided to source the sedan from Malaysia. With that, less of the price tag went to excise taxes and shipping charges; more went in the way of leveling up the equipment and features. Finally, BMW’s executive sedan comes out of the gate in fighting form. It’s certainly elevated itself—buyers need not just buy it for the badge as it’s now truly great value as well.

It's hard to believe that the current generation 5 Series, codenamed the G30, has been around since 2017. Five years is an eternity in the automotive world so it’s right time for BMW to give it its mid-cycle refresh. For this update, there’s nothing out of the ordinary. Upfront, it sees a larger twin-kidney grille which because of the extra width and height, necessitated a new front bumper design. Sandwiching the grille are new LED headlights that now incorporate an adaptive cornering function and automatic high beams. At each corner are 18-inch alloys with run-flat tires, and at the back are new taillight graphics and a rear bumper with square tailpipe cutouts.

The 2022 5 Series’ heightened sense of luxury starts with the doors, or more specifically, how they close. No need to slam them shut, as a soft-close mechanism “sucks” them in. The steering wheel also automatically tilts up easing entry into the seats. Then, there’s the seat covering itself. Typically, premium brands in the Philippines are guilty of sticking with synthetic material for their multi-million-peso offerings. Not here as the standard Dakota leather’s the real deal. It’s not as luxurious as, say, the X7’s Merino Leather, but because of its heavy finish, it’s also much more durable. The same can be said about the highlight trim which is real metal in Pearl Chrome and real open-pored ash trunkwood.

Inside, BMW has thankfully dialed back on simply adding tech for tech’s sake. Needless features like the air gestures are still there, but besides that, the 5 Series has done a great job in balancing both touch-sensitive and old-school analog switchgear. Granted it doesn’t look as advanced, but when it comes to actual usage, this one’s hard to beat. The row of buttons may seem daunting at first, but they’re actually pretty easy to navigate. Bonus points also go to the 12.3-inch center display that can be operated either by the screen itself or, if you’re allergic to fingerprints, via the iDrive rotary knob. It comes with wireless Apple CarPlay as standard, but take note that it crashes when saddled with too many simultaneous tasks.

Befitting BMW’s classic tagline, “the ultimate driving machine,” the 5 Series gets perfect points for ergonomics. The seats offer excellent support and offer plenty of adjustment to accommodate a wide array of body types. Despite the low-set seats, the visibility is quite good upfront thanks to the slender A-pillars and tall, wide windshield. However, seeing what goes on behind isn’t as easy. Fortunately, it comes with front and rear parking sensors, a rear-view camera, and a parking assistant system which can steer the car into spaces automatically and reverse it distances of up to 50 meters.

There’s a large lidded cubby in front of the gear selector which contains a wireless charging pad, two cup holders, and the sole USB Type A charging port (the rest, including those in the back are all USB Type Cs). There’s also a console beneath the armrest that opens with a butterfly mechanism that can accommodate wallets, keys, and other small items. Over to the back, the raised central floor hump limits the comfort of the middle passenger, but for those seated on the outer parts, they’re treated well enough. The trunk’s cavernous, but sadly, the rear seats are fixed meaning the 530-liter space can’t grow any further.

On paper, the solitary 5 Series variant, the 520i Luxury, doesn’t look too exciting. After all, it makes just 184 horsepower and 290 Nm of torque. In reality though, it never feels lacking. BMW says the century mark arrives in 7.9 seconds, but it feels faster than that. It’s got considerable grunt, and an even a slight tap of the throttle is enough to effortlessly push its 1,685-kilogram frame around. Aside from being quick-witted around town, it’s also quite adept on the expressway. The accompanying 8-speed automatic is buttery smooth, although take note that the idle start-stop system can be quite aggressive, and sometimes it can catch you off-guard as you crawl to a halt at a stoplight.

The 5 Series isn’t meant to be driven at the limit, but even then, it strikes a wonderful balance. There’s an immediacy to its steering that makes it seem smaller than it really is. It also has loads of grip and exhibits little lean. Around town, it doesn’t have the same athleticism as the 3 Series, but trading quick reflexes for more waft has actually made it better balanced for Manila roads. It’s supple enough to take on large potholes or badly patched up roads. Plus, it does a brilliant job of keeping wind and road noise at bay, be it in the city or on the highway.

Sadly, it’s hard not to turn a blind eye to the 520i Luxury’s lack of advanced driver assist systems. Apart from the usual gaggle of airbags and acronyms, there’s not much else to talk about in the safety department aside from the automatic high beam assist and tire pressure sensors atop the aforementioned clearance sensors and back-up camera. It has cruise control and a speed limiter, but those are of the standard variety. You want to make sure this car keeps to its lane or avoids hitting pedestrians or cyclists? You’re on your own.

The desirability of the badge is what made BMW a leader here in the premium segment, and for some, they’re still hellbent on buying a 5 Series just for that. However, for those who’re after more than just the roundel, the new 520i Luxury comes across as the most rounded in its class. While it still lacks in terms of driver assist functionalities, it’s increasingly hard to criticize this car any longer. It’s pretty hard to beat when it comes to driving, comfort, and now, specification.

2022 BMW 520i Luxury

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Ownership 2022 BMW 520i Luxury
Year Introduced 2017 (Refreshed: 2022)
Vehicle Classification Luxury Sedan
Warranty 5 years / 200,000 kilometers
The Basics
Body Type 4-door sedan
Seating 5
Engine / Drive F/R
Under the Hood
Displacement (liters) 2.0
Aspiration Turbocharged
Fuel Delivery Direct Injection
Layout / # of Cylinders I4
BHP @ rpm 184 @ 5,000-6,500
Nm @ rpm 290 @ 1,350-4,250
Fuel / Min. Octane Gasoline / 91~
Transmission 8 AT
Cruise Control Yes, w/ Limiter
Fuel Economy @ Ave. Speed 11.29 km/L @ 26 km/h
Dimensions and Weights
Length (mm) 4,963
Width (mm) 1,868
Height (mm) 1,479
Wheelbase (mm) 2,975
Curb Weight (kg) 1,685
Suspension and Tires
Front Suspension Independent, MacPherson Strut
Rear Suspension Independent, Multi-link
Front Brakes Vented Disc
Rear Brakes Vented Disc
Parking Brake Electric, w/ Auto Hold
Tires Pirelli PZero 245/45 R 18 Y (f & r)
Wheels Alloy
Safety Features
Airbags 8
Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) Yes, with EBD
Traction / Stability Control Yes
Parking Sensors Yes, Front & Rear
Parking Camera Yes, Rear
Front Seatbelts 3-pt ELR with pre-tensioner x 2
Rear Seatbelts 3-pt ELR with pre-tensioner x 2,
3-pt ELR x 1
ISOFIX Child Seat Anchor Yes
Other Safety Features Hill Start Assist
Tire Pressure Monitoring
Parking Assistant
Exterior Features
Headlights LED, Active
Fog Lamps Yes, Rear
Auto Lights Yes
Rain-sensing Wipers Yes
Tailgate Electric
Interior Features
Steering Wheel Adjust Tilt/Telescopic, Electric
Steering Wheel Material Leather
Seating Adjustment (driver) 8-way, Electric, w/ Memory
Seating Adjustment (front passenger) 8-way, Electric
Seating Surface Leather
Folding Rear Seat No
Sunroof No
Trip Computer Yes
Convenience Features
Power Steering Yes
Power Door Locks Yes, w/ Soft Close Doors
Power Windows Yes
Power Mirrors Yes, Auto-dimming (Driver)
Rear View Mirror Auto-dimming
Proximity Key Yes
Climate Control 4-Zone, w/ Rear Vents
Audio System Stereo
Smartphone Connectivity Apple CarPlay (Wireless)
Android Auto
# of Speakers 16, Harman Kardon
Steering Controls Yes


  1. BMW vehicles are 'ultimate driving machines', but how's their reliability and durability?
    Scotty Kilmer is a long time critic of BMW vehicles, and he calls them 'endless money pits'. Is this true?

  2. I own a 118d for 11 years already and, fingers crossed, its so far so good.. maybe he is talking about the high end variants like the 135's, 335's and the M's.

    1. Thank you for sharing your ownership experience 👍 Hope you'll enjoy your ride for many more years 😊

  3. The 5-series has driver assistance.. "Active Protection" which consist of Anti-collision, driver awareness etc...

  4. Actually I read it yesterday but I had some thoughts about it and today I wanted to read it again because it is very well written. occhiali da sole bulgari bv 6149b


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