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BMW 5 Series Review & Road Test
BMW 5 Series Review & Road Test
by Nadine Armstrong

Germans do it better

Model Tested:

  • 2009 BMW 530i; 3.0-litre, six-cylinder, petrol; six-speed automatic; sedan – $116,824*


Electric glass sunroof – $3495; sports leather steering wheel – $300; Professional Package is standard on the 530i and includes: Preparation for Bluetooth mobile Business, Control Display with 8.8-inch colour monitor, Professional Navigation, TV function and voice recognition, Comfort access system, Head up display, Metallic Paint, Dakota leather upholstery, Fine wood trim.

CarAdvice Rating:

By Nadine Armstrong

Claudia Schiffer, Karl Lagerfeld, Diane Kruger; there’s no denying that the Germans are a good looking, talented bunch who know a thing or two about style. In the automotive world, BMW follows suit.

BMW 5 Series Review & Road Test
BMW 5 Series Review & Road Test
BMW 5 Series Review & Road Test
BMW 5 Series Review & Road Test

Combine an innate sense of style with some impressive automotive credentials and you’re set for a very sweet ride, in this instance, the BMW 530i sedan.

Beautiful form and superb drive dynamics; the 530i stimulates all the senses, in fact the appeal of the BMW 530i extends far beyond its skin.

A 3.0-litre, straight six-cylinder engine and double-VANOS variable camshaft are the brains behind this ride. Producing 200kW at 6650rpm and 315Nm at 2,\750rpm, the stately looking BMW 530i is no slouch when it comes to laying down some power.

We tested the six-speed Steptronic automatic transmission, which is flawless. In automatic mode the electronic gear selection is seamless and fast to respond, or you can manually change gears sequentially, with similar pace and precision.

While the ride is incredibly tame and quiet, open up the throttle a little and the engine lets out a sweet sounding rumble as it delivers an almost unexpected dose of power with great spontaneity. BMW claim acceleration of 0-100km/hour in 6.6 seconds and a maximum speed of 250km/hour.

A city-based test route delivered an average fuel consumption reading of around 13.9l/100km, which is just a touch over the manufacturer’s claim of 13.6l/100km for the city cycle. The combined consumption is a much more reasonable 9.3L/100km.

BMW 5 Series Review & Road Test
BMW 5 Series Review & Road Test
BMW 5 Series Review & Road Test
BMW 5 Series Review & Road Test

The CO2 emissions are 224g/100km and the Green Vehicle Guide rates its environmental credentials as average, with a total of three out of five stars awarded.

The 530i serves up its power with extreme composure, and steering precision and agility under pressure is to be commended. BMWs active steering, standard on the 530i, ensures manoeuvrability is effortless at any speed.

Stretching 4841mm in length, a wheelbase measurement of 2888mm and weighing in at around 1540kg, the 530i sits glued to the road and its evenly distributed weight, a 50:50 axle load, makes for an agile and well balanced ride, no matter what the conditions. No cabin sway and no body roll, just beautifully flat.

The cabin of the 530i creates a luxurious cocoon of leather that protects passengers from the outside world. The noise, vibration and harshness of Australian roads that bring many a car undone, are no match for the insulation, suspension and handling of the 530i.

The cabin ergonomics of the 530i are thoughtfully designed and readily adjustable, which affords you the comfort to enjoy the luxury and technology on offer – not to mention the driving dynamics.

Sitting within the large car segment, over $70,000, the 530i is a strong sales performer among rivals such as the sales topping Mercedes Benz E-Class, the Jaguar XF and the Audi A6.

BMW 5 Series Review & Road Test
BMW 5 Series Review & Road Test
BMW 5 Series Review & Road Test
BMW 5 Series Review & Road Test

With a starting price of around $116,824, you expect the goods to stack up, and the BMW 530i delivers. On top of its magical engine and smooth on road performance, creature comforts and technological innovations are featured in abundance.

The softest nappa leather, high shine bamboo and aluminium combine to create a sophisticated and luxurious interior.

Seat memory, one of those things you can live without, until you’ve had it, is standard.  Dual zone climate control, electric steering column adjust, cruise control, parking sensors, Keyless entry and engine start-up, auto lights, satellite navigation, heads-up display, rain sensing wipers, one-touch park brake, and the list goes on.

Then there are the smaller inclusions, such as two very sturdy cup holders that pop out from the dash – when cup holders work well, you notice.

If it doesn’t come as standard, you can be assured it’s available as an option, such as heated seats, lane change warning, high-beam assist and night vision.

The satellite navigation system in the 530i is one of the most simple and intuitive systems I have used. It’s quick to map a route and fast to recalculate should you take an unplanned detour. The 8.8-inch screen is of good resolution and easy to see from the driver’s seat.

The Heads-Up display, which can be tailored to feature a variety of display options, including navigation directions – is a very handy feature that is well executed in the BMW range of vehicles. The display sits at a good, visible angle for all drivers, short or tall.

BMW 5 Series Review & Road Test

Soft leather seats are a nice match to the high gloss dash and slick instrumentation. Knobs and dials are solid and smooth to roll and the audio system features the most up to date capability, offering complete integration with USB, auxiliary and iPod sources.

Audio, climate, navigation and communication components of the 530i can be operated through the consistently criticised iDrive interface.

Personally, I find the iDrive system quite intuitive and simple to operate. The eight favourites buttons located on the centre dash, which essentially act as iDrive short-cuts, are a great help to those lacking in dexterity and patience.

The second row comfortably accommodates three passengers and offers good visibility.  The centre armrest folds down to reveal a handy lidded storage compartment.

There’s no split-fold for the second row, but the boot capacity is more than big enough to cope with a family size dose of luggage, swallowing up to 520 litres.

Safety is well covered and includes front, side and curtain airbags, Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and anti-lock brakes, which mean the BMW 5-Series gains a four-star ANCAP rating.

The BMW 530i sits beneath a slender, conservative looking body, which makes for an understated and modest presence on the road.  Sleek, curvaceous headlights wrap around the front quarters which lead to a slightly more substantial rear end and large taillights. Its lines are smooth and the whole car conveys a sense of grown-up elegance.

A combination of good genes and automotive excellence make the BMW 530i a very tidy package; easy to enjoy and hard to fault.

*Pricing is a guide as recommended to us by the manufacturer.


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  • Special Edition

    I’ve been tempted by the 5-series before, but now I’m holding out for BMW to release a limited edition 530i with a spoiler, stickers, and some bright green paint. I think it will help recall the spirit of earlier classic BMWs.

    • OMG

      Maybe they could call it the BMW GS

      • RR Vogue

        Well this BMW 3litre is the price of two FPV GS 5.4l V8s and they both use the same ZF 6 speed transmission. So OMG if your looking for a BMW GS, you could get a different one for half the price.

        • Pride of the Fleet

          RR Vogue, it’s cheaper again to just hail a taxi if you’re after an authentic Ford Falcon experience. What’s your point?

          • ZF6Gang

            I agree 100% with Pride of the Fleet.

            The ZF 6 speed gearbox on the BA/BF eliminates the authentic ‘taxi gearbox whine’ that you often reminisce.

            I would recommend EF/AU/ pre-ZF BA.

            For evem more authentic experience, you could try the 6 seater version which has steering wheel column mounted transmission.

          • mike

            Thanks Pride
            thats the best laugh I’ve had today.

            lucky the rating system is gone or you’d have many tears fron the ford fan boys

        • The Realist

          I could also get two big macs for the price of one salad sandwich and they probably use the same lettuce.

  • Jacqson 5

    What a beautiful car, I never realised how expensive the 530i had got though, I always thought it was a $80,000 – $90,000 car. thats inflation for you I guess.

  • Jeremiah

    Wow, $117,000 BEFORE options and on road costs for just the 530i version. The X5 seems a lot more better value.

    • The Realist


  • Deco

    Very Thirsty 3.0 litre engine in a light car.

    Compare it to the Ford’s Inline 4.0 or Holden’s 3.6, which both deliver similar or more power for a much better economy.

    Still a very nice car that I would consider if I was in the market.

  • ZF6Gang

    The fuel cons. quoted was wrong. That is the \’City\’ figure. Combined is 9.8L/100kms.

    This engine outputs 200kW and, more importantly, 315Nm @ 2750rpm. All from 3.0L of displacement. Falcon and Commodore need at least half a litre more displacement to match those figures.

    I agree the fuel consumption isn\’t fantastic and that\’s why this car is not advertised under the \’BMW Efficient Dynamics\’ banner. But all things considered, it\’s reasonable for what the engine is capable of.

    • Shak

      They did quote the combined figure and even that is a bit over the top.

    • Deco

      Yeh, my quote was made when they had fuel economy combined in the 13’s, so right now, I don’t really mind the economy, it’s quite good for the performance figures.

  • Vance

    Actually ZF6Gang, falcon easily outdoes those figures as the inline 6 is good for close to 210kW and almost 420nm just by running on premium. Not bad for a non direct injected, bushwacker true-blue dinky-die (insert as many degrading ocker yobbo catchphrases as you like here) 100% aussie engine. Ohh and 9.9L/100kms running cheap ass 91RON! Ohh but no BMW badge on that engine, so obviously total crap….

    • ZF6Gang

      Quite the opposite, Vance. I’m not a BMW fanboy like you might mistakenly think I am.

      Those are impressive figures from ‘Barra’ that began as a ‘humble’ 180kw if memory serves me correct. I’ve always liked that engine better than Holden’s Alloytec for its torquey nature.

      This engine in its latest iteration is undoubtedly a world class engine, and will be missed when the new four cylinder, force fed engines come to be use in Falcons.

      Howie-R31, the E60 5-Series was first launched more than 5 years ago.. so no surprise if it receives a 4 star ancap. We didn’t know when it was tested, or whether the car has received additional safety equipment since then. If they re tested it, it might well be a 5 star car. Saying that, the new F10 is just around the corner.. why bother? :)

  • Howie-R31

    I’m a little suprised that a car this good still recieves a 4 star ancap rating. Thought it would’ve been 5-star for sure.

  • PeugoetDriver

    I kinda find it funny that cheap Aussie cars have higher safety ratings, more power and use less fuel than these $120,000 German cars, its a funny world we live in nowadays.

    • Martin

      Yeah, but these “cheap Aussie cars” don’t drive nearly as well, are not built as well, don’t look as good and the German cars don’t fall to pieces after a couple of years.

      I’d still rather the 5-series over some Australian built rubbish.

      • The Realist


      • PeugoetDriver

        I love these statements tossed around (pardon the pun) as fact. Ive extensively driven new Falcons and I think they are are some of the best drives under $80,000 out there. Heaven forbid someone make a comparison between an Australian and German car on this site though.

        Hmmm and I cant think of one German car Ive owned which would have lasted as well as a Falcon or Commodore, admittedly I havnt owned a BMW for 3 years now so things may have changed. Its probably why the middle eastern police forces replaced their BMW 5 series and Merc E classes with Chevrolet Luminas and Caprices (Holden Commodore and Statesman) because of the Holdens better reliability and durability.

        But then again they dont have the pretty badge which a lot of tossers love. I would love to own (and afford) another BMW, but to pass off the incredibly good Australian cars as rubbish kinda confirms to me that you really dont know what your talking about. Now get back to your homework!

        • The Realist

          Thanks for your essay, but it doesn’t mean much. Some facts for you:

          – Australian rep mobiles priced at $80K like FPVs and HSVs still can’t match imported cars like the Honda Accord Euro for fit, finish, and quality
          – Australian rep mobiles lag behind imported cars in terms of features
          – Considering the tax payer funding received these rep mobiles should be $10K cheaper
          – If performance is taken out of the equation, there is no reason to buy a rep mobile, dozens of cars exceed them in every other facet

          Also, which overpriced FWD Peugoet do you own?

          • PeugoetDriver

            A Peugoet 308 Touring Diesel, I love it, even though it does look like a bit of a clown car…

      • whatefa

        In your opinion

    • The Realist

      The 530i is almost six years old. Every model in next year’s 5 series will be under the Efficient Dynamics banner. We’ll see how our 100% American owned aussie cars fare then.

      BTW you seem to forget 10% tariffs, 25% luxury car taxes, and the 100% American owned brands Holden and Ford have received handouts for years and still can’t make a profit.

      • Martin


        See, this guy knows what he’s talking about.

      • PeugoetDriver

        Saying that a vehicle manufacturer makes a lot of profit on their cars, seems to suggest they may be priced above what you are actually getting. I never knew why I thought BMWs were so expensive, but now I know where all that money from the high price goes – to the profit margin.

        • The Realist

          Sorry, I can’t take a Peugoet driver’s comments seriously.

          • Carfanatic

            I agree, I’m surprised he even admitted to owning a Peugeot. The rental car company I worked for in the UK dumped Peugeot after only three months because so many of them were biting the dust.

            Nice job BMW on such a beautiful car, maybe Ford and Holden could learn a trick or two from you.

  • laurie

    How can my 96kw TDCi Mondeo produce 320Nm of torque V BMW 200Kw @ 315Nm I thought its KW & Capacity = Torque!


  • Specky K

    Lot of money for only 4 stars unlike the 5 stars in a Falcon or new Commodore and use more petrol, let alone the service costs. seems kinda pointless

    • Martin

      Believe it or not, when people who can afford these luxury cars aren’t too worried about petrol and servicing…

      Nor would they bother considering an Australian built product.

  • fasthonda

    A very good car but overpriced.

    • Shak

      True if they could price it resaonably without adding the extra 25 000 for the BMW badge then many more people would buy it. Ohh but that would clash with their high class brand image. BMW’s are realiable and all that, but they are living off an old earned reputation, the rest of the world has caught up, including some of us locals.

      • mike

        THe extra $25000 is taxes not the badge. its only by adding on high taxes to the imports the the old facoon and commy can look like value while each one looses thousands of dollars on each sale.

  • Forza M

    the new website design sux

  • Bavarian Missile

    Agreed Forza………

    Nadine, get a decent camera next time,these were shockers,look like mobile phone ones.

    4 stars four everything ………mmmmmm is it really that good ? You criticised nothing………….

    Sorry ,I love my BMWs but even I can find fault in them.

  • cczmark

    $3495 for a ‘kin sunroof!!! Ouch. That’s $1k for it to be fitted at the body shop and $2,495 profit then… :-)

  • http://scooterstock.com scooters

    BMW 530i is no slouch when it comes to laying down some power.

  • spetty

    The Realist and Martin

    If you two,who are possibly the same person,believe the marketing spin regarding “efficient dynamics” then it is possible if you were eskimos,BMW would be selling you ice.

    • The Realist

      No I’m not Martin.

      But he seems to know what he’s talking about.

    • Martin

      …and I am not The Realist.

      So why is it when two people support the likes of BMW, that it is automatically assumed that they are the same person? Should I just assume that all the people that post dribble about Ford being better (apparently) are the same person too?

      • The Realist

        Most of these people live in their small world and think the Australian automotive industry is the pinnacle of innovation and tenology. And they also believe the Aussie car industry makes money…

  • http://caradvide figo

    why do bmw’s have to be soo uglyy

  • Carfanatic

    To clarify the four star safety rating, ANCAP has based it on the EuroNCAP results for the 5 Series in 2004. They update the 5 Series in 2007 and 2008 NCAP testing in America saw the 5 series fair better than it did in 2004 Euro testing. Perhaps ANCAP should retest the vehicle as I’m sure it will now gain a 5 star rating.

    • Carfanatic

      Incidentally, the BMW 530i in the UK sells for 34750 pounds, which at the current exchange rate is about 70,000 dollars AUS, and the UK has the one of highest car prices in the EU.

      • nobody

        Not surprising since we aussies get nailed hard when it comes to car prices and standard features in general.

  • AAA

    Zis car competes with the Honda Accord Euro in the US and Europe ~

  • andre

    There’s nothing wrong with preferring either a BMW over a Falcon or a Bentley…. I’m always surprised as to why people here get so hung up on this… Ultimately with any product you decide as to whether you can afford and want to buy it.

    You can always find better value; whether you are talking cars, fridges, computers, houses etc. but when price doesn’t matter to you then you simply buy what takes YOUR fancy.

    The Falcon is a fine car, so is the BMW 530i. Why would one need to justify one’s purchase decision to anyone as it seems so many people here are suggesting. Just perplexes me.

    • Martin

      You are exactly right, but I am not going to sit idly by while some people who have too much respect for Ford, of all manufacturers, try to make out that their cheap and nasty “Falcon” is better then a 530i. That is complete and utter crap.

      • andre

        Correct Martin… but they will never know that as they won’t afford one, hence….. ignorance is bliss….. Call it snobbery or what you will, but I also prefer certain suburbs to others. Doesn’t mean they are better to anyone else but myself… and if you prefer a Falcon to a BMW just count yourself lucky and let the savings begin..

        • Martin

          Good point, when you put it that way, it does make a little more sense.

  • Tom

    Anyone who buys this over an Audi S4 is a complete idiot

    • Carfanatic

      Good point, but equally you could save 10 grand over and above the Audi S4 and get a 335i, not quite as powerful, not quite as fast, but still enjoyable. I’d still get the Audi though. Vorsprung Durch technik!

      • andre

        Or, perhaps “Nachteil durch Preis” for the BMW….. they are both great Bavarians, just I find they serve a different purpose; though can’t get it why one would refer to someone buying one over the other as an idiot. Most amusing and entertaining….

    • andre

      And if you find yourself arguing with an idiot he or she is probably doing the same thing….

  • http://m5videoguide.com/blog E39 M5

    “A combination of good genes and automotive excellence make the BMW 530i a very tidy package; easy to enjoy and hard to fault.” I can only agree more.

BMW 5 Series Specs

Car Details
E60 MY09
Body Type
New Price
Private Sale
$28,930 - $32,880
Dealer Retail
$29,320 - $34,870
Dealer Trade
$22,500 - $26,300
Engine Specifications
Engine Type
Engine Size
Max. Torque
350Nm @  1750rpm
Max. Power
130kW @  4000rpm
Pwr:Wgt Ratio
Bore & Stroke
Compression Ratio
Valve Gear
Drivetrain Specifications
Drive Type
Final Drive Ratio
Fuel Specifications
Fuel Type
Fuel Tank Capacity
Fuel Consumption (Combined)
5.6L / 100km
Weight & Measurement
Kerb Weight
Gross Vehicle Weight
Not Provided
Ground Clearance
Towing Capacity
Brake:2000  Unbrake:750
Steering & Suspension
Steering Type
Turning Circle
Front Rim Size
Rear Rim Size
Front Tyres
225/55 R16
Rear Tyres
225/55 R16
Wheel Base
Front Track
Rear Track
Front Brakes
Rear Brakes
Front Suspension
MacPherson strut, Coil Spring, Gas damper, Anti roll bar
Rear Suspension
MacPherson strut, Multi-link system, Coil Spring, Gas damper, Anti roll bar
Standard Features
Auto Climate Control with Dual Temp Zones
Control & Handling
16 Inch Alloy Wheels, Traction Control System
Cruise Control, Leather Steering Wheel, Power Steering, Trip Computer
CD with 6 CD Stacker, Radio Compact Disc Player
Fog Lights - Front, Power Mirrors
Leather Upholstery, Power Windows, Wood Grain Trim
Dual Airbag Package, Anti-lock Braking, Head Airbags, Side Airbags
Central Locking Remote Control, Engine Immobiliser
Optional Features
Control & Handling
Sports Suspension
Premium Sound System
Xenon Headlights
Service Interval
12 months /  24,000 kms
36 months /  999,000 kms
VIN Plate Location
Driver Side Inner Guard
Country of Origin