Roadtest: BMW 518d SE

BMW 5-1BMW has recently given its 5 Series a mid-life facelift, and in doing so has launched a new, cheaper entry-level diesel option, the 518d SE.

Let’s deal with the basics first. Priced £29,830, the 141bhp 1995cc turbodiesel powerplant, linked to its six-speed manual gearbox, returns 62.8mpg and emits 119g/km. It’s also capable of 0-62mph in 9.7secs and will reach a maximum of 132mph.

So far then, so attractive. The range also has a number of subtle styling tweaks. Outside the car — and you’ve got to be a bit of an aficionado to spot it — there’s a restyle around the lower air dam. There’s also additional contours around the grille.

Inside the typically well screwed together and uber-stylish Teutonic cabin, satnav now comes as standard. Oh, and BMW designers have incorporated more of the manufacturer’s connectivity technologies.

BMW 5-2The new 518d uses the same 2.0-litre unit found in the larger 520d — which costs an additional £1700 — but it loses 40bhp when compared to its bigger brother. Despite that, the newcomer delivers a typical BMW smoothness through the range.

Interestingly, both models deliver the same mpg and CO2 figures.

The 518d — fitted with optional adaptive dampers — also rides supremely well, on its standard 17in wheels fitted with 225/55 R17 run-flat tyres.

There’s no denying the newcomer is a classic piece of BMW engineering and marketing. It’s pretty bulletproof in terms of quality, economy and residuals, crucial especially when it comes to business users.

BMW 5-7Most business users, perhaps, are likely to absorb the extra 1700 quid for the larger 520d into their monthly running costs, but for the private buyer where every penny counts, the 518d could well be the logical choice.

With all the strong attributes found across the whole BMW range, and the ability to gobble up a day’s worth of motorway miles, the 518d is certainly an attractive proposition.


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Jim McGill


Jim McGill is an award-winning motoring and motorsport journalist with more than 25 years' industry experience. He contributes to a number of newspapers and magazines, including The Times, Telegraph, Daily Mail, Scotsman, Sunday Herald and AA Magazine.

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