Black beauty

Black beauty

The BMW 520D is sleek and energy efficient but it doesn’t shrink from being a powerhouse on the open road, as Peter Grant of Grant Management finds out.

S1 main2Perhaps the guys should have been wearing balaclavas and face paint. It was like a clandestine drop when a sleek dark BMW 520D was dropped off outside my Edinburgh home well after dark. Is this the way Mr Clarkson gets his test cars delivered? But the BQ Scotland crew apologised for the late arrival, saying they had been held up with photo shoot assignments.

An unlikely story, I had a sneaking suspicion that they were enjoying having this black Beemer too much and forgotten it was my job to drive it.

Next morning my first real test for the car was in the school run. My eight-year-old liked the look and enjoyed the space and tidiness in the back, which was a good start. Many years ago when I left the Daily Record and before Colette and I set up Grant Management in 1997 I was converted to automatics, so having to change gear was a bit of a novelty again.

I don’t think the eight-year-old was too impressed with my movement from first into second, and up to third. But we soon got the hang of it. This BMW was certainly comfortable and easy to drive. What is surprising for a diesel is the lack of noise inside.

I’d always been under the impression it would be like an Edinburgh taxi, but it was well insulated and we could hear Chris Evans’ dulcet tones booming out from the touch-screen sound system.

My one thought was that the dashboard was a bit cluttered compared with my S-Club Mercedes, but then this might be a question of familiarisation. I like the idea of the engine cutting out when you stop in traffic.

At first it was disconcerting, almost as if you’d stalled the car, but once you get used to it, it’s a rather clever EfficientDynamic technology and if it saves fuel and is much greener for the planet, then I can see this becoming something very significant.

The car does 55.4mpg. In town, the car did the job, so how would it be on the open road? Out on bypass and then the M90 motorway, it purred perfectly well heading north over the Forth Bridge.

It felt like a car that would be stable at 100mph on the Autobahn. I’m told the top speed is 144mph, but I wasn’t keen to test this out and incur any more points on my driving licence. I haven’t driven a BMW for ten years and I felt it was a classy drive. As an executive range BMW, this black beauty is Germanically stylish and beautifully engineered.

Car supplied by Douglas Park Glasgow BMW 0141 333 0088