Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), also known as split/multiple personality disorder, is a phenomenon that is characterized by the regular appearance of (at least) two distinct and relatively contrasting personalities in the same person. While this controversial psychiatric disorder has been the subject of some intensive research, discussions and literary works, there’s probably nothing else that offers a clearer understanding of this rather bizarre phenomenon than the BMW 530d M Sport. Now, the 530d M Sport sits snugly between the regular 5’er and the utterly bonkers M5 in the famed Bavarian carmaker’s product portfolio but what’s of our real interest here are the twin personality traits that this car possesses. Read our 2015 BMW 530d M Sport test drive review here to find all about this interesting piece of machinery.
Design & Styling
The 5’er has always been a showcase of the aesthetic qualities of a BMW. This car’s design is characterized by hallmark BMW proportions which are, in turn, defined by a long hood, a long wheelbase, short overhangs, an aft-set greenhouse and the coupe-like roofline. The car’s nose goes a long way in highlighting its sporting character. The signature kidney grille sits almost upright and, together with the flared wheel arches, embodies a forward motion and bestows a planted look to the car’s front-end. The front-end’s sportiness is further accentuated by additional contour lines around the radiator grille and the mean-looking xenon headlights. Some interesting concave-modeled surfaces, a stretched greenhouse and an ever-so-slightly flared shoulder surface emphasize the sporting character in the side profile. However, the talking point here is dramatically compact counter-swing at the lower end of the C-pillar. This re-interpretation of the famous Hofmeister kink accentuates the stretched silhouette which endows the car with a sleek and low-slung appearance. At the rear-end, the contour lines merge with the silhouette of the taillight clusters and the horizontal crease running right above the license plate housing neatly divides the posterior, thereby emphasizing the athletic appeal of the car.
At first glance, the BMW 530d M Sport can pass off as the 5-er’s vanilla variant but it doesn’t take long for a trained eye to identify this car’s sporty credentials. Dressed in the M Sport package, the 530d looks as menacing as its sinister twin – the M5. This car gets the same set of sporty-styled bumpers, very tasty 18-inch mags, a matt-black finish for tailpipes and a handful of ego-boosting M-badges. Step inside and you’ll be quick to register that the cabin is a reflection of the sporty exterior. The cockpit is inclined towards the driver at an angle of 7° and the asymmetrical layout for the centre console lays emphasis on this car’s sporty credentials. From well-researched ergonomics and 10-way adjustable sports seats to the brilliant BMW ConnctedDrive technology and an instrument cluster that changes colors and layouts as per the driving mode – BMW has ensured the driver enjoys optimum operation of driving controls and other functions.
And while you’ll be effortlessly flipping through the gazillion menus on the brilliant 4th-generation iDrive, the missus and the kids will appreciate the spacious cabin, rich materials and the pampering from a gamut of comfort features.
Engine & Gearbox
There’s a lot more to the 530d M Sport than that tasty M5-ish bodywork. Housed under the exquisitely contoured hood is a 2,993cc, inline six-banger oil burner that scores highly on both performance and refinement. The number-cruncher should marvel at the specs – 255 bhp of max. power along with an almost gut-wrenching peak torque of 540 Nm. Talking of the real-world performance, the launch control ensures that the 530d M Sport is pretty quick off the block and dismisses 100 km/h from standstill in a little more than six seconds. The diesel mill is aided by BMW Twin Power turbocharging setup and together with an equally proficient 8-speed dual-clutch auto ‘box that drives the rear wheel, this car scores well in terms of tractability and fuel efficiency.
The 530d can be driven in any of the four drive-modes on offer – EcoPro, Comfort, Sport and Sport Plus. The EcoPro is best selected during some sedate driving, as it ensures that you extract the optimum fuel efficiency using features such as Start/Stop and regenerative braking system. The Comfort mode too helps you achieve a stellar fuel economy but makes the throttle a wee-bit sharper to offer you a greater driving pleasure. The Sport and the Sport Plus modes, however, should help you realize all your boy-racer dreams. The Sport Plus actually allows you to dismiss all those electronic-nannies and indulge in some sideways and rubber-shredding action. These modes will also go on to ensure that you win some traffic-light GPs after spending an entire day in boring boardroom meetings.
Ride and Handling
BMW says it has used cutting-edge chassis technology to provide an almost perfect amalgam of dynamic performance and ride comfort. However, no matter what the totally bonkers engine or the flowery marketing speak might lead you to believe, the 530d M Sport, in a sort of an anti-climax, feels a bit too softly sprung. While the soft ride helps the car reaffirm its luxury credentials, the setup surely robs off some sporting character from the 530d. The Sport and the Sport Plus modes do stiffen up the suspension, but the car still doesn’t feel as poised as the highly enjoyable 3-Series. Even the steering doesn’t feel as precise and to our great dismay, the electronic power steering does need to brush up its communication skills. All isn’t lost though, for the soft suspension ensures that the car almost glides over most of the undulations that pockmark our city streets. Also, while you might be disappointed about the slight lack of precision from the steering, the remaining occupants will love the comfortable ride, even on the harsher of the tarmacs.
As we said, the BMW 530d M Sport showcases twin personality traits. On one hand, there’s a purposefully suited-up corporate board member who spends a great deal of the day promoting his ventures and enchanting his workforce with his methodical, unruffled nature. And then, on the other hand, there are moments when the combed-back hair, the business-suit and the mild mannerism give way to a rough and aggressive brute in a single-minded pursuit of its targets, towards which it charges with an almost ferocious velocity. True, there’s a definite threat of infiltration between the two identities, but we really can’t think of any other car that can so efficiently switch between the two contrasting roles with so much ease. A regular premium executive sedan on weekdays and a seriously lethal Bavarian warhead on weekends – that’s the 530d M Sport for you!
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