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First Drive

First Drive: BMW 5-series Efficient Dynamics

BMW 520d Efficient Dynamics SE
The story: BMW adds the most efficient model to its new 5-series range, based on the 520d SE model and matching the best that mainstream rivals can offer.
Key rival:Audi A6
On sale:Now

The 102g/km of the BMW 520d Efficient Dynamics model matches the best emissions from any main brand in the executive segment, and is a full 6g/km less than the 520d on which it’s based.

Differences between the two are minor, with aerodynamic tweaks and a slight reduction in kerbweight, while the 520d Efficient Dynamics also gets wheels that are an inch bigger than those on the regular SE. The rims account for £995 of the £1195 price hike to the Efficient Dynamics, which helps the efficiency model make sense. Basically, if you’re going to upgrade the wheels on an SE, you may as well go for the Efficient Dynamics, because it’s 3.6mpg better and will save a 40% taxpayer £4 per month on BIK. However, it’s one insurance group higher, and those larger wheels mean more than £500 extra on the three-year SMR bill.

If you’re not going to upgrade the alloys, then there’s little point getting the Efficient Dynamics; the 108g/km 520d SE is already efficient, and has a residual value that’s one percentage point better than the Efficient Dynamic’s, according to Kee Resources, and the overall costs equation is 2.7p per mile in the SE’s favour.

BMW 520d SE - cabin imageTo drive, there’s little to differentiate, pretty much the only thing is that the BMW 520d Efficient Dynamics defaults to Eco mode rather than the regular balanced setting. But even in efficiency format, the 190hp diesel is plenty potent enough, and the 5-series remains a classy, incredibly refined saloon.

Click here to read our in-depth company car review of the new BMW 5-series with the Company Car Today ‘Big Test’

Paul Barker

The verdict

Makes sense if you’re going to upgrade the SE’s wheels, otherwise the benefits don’t outweigh the £1195 hike.