BMW 528i ConnectedDrive: A dynamic drive in style, comfort and poise
A true story is told of a successful businessman in Munich, Germany, who after many years of long hours in the office and no vacations, finally decided to take a much-needed break. A two-week holiday in faraway and sunny Malta, by the Mediterranean Sea, beckoned. In Malta, as he was relaxing by the beach, his smartphone trilled. It was the office. A critical file in the boot of his BMW was urgently required.
The man mulled over the problem. He told his staff to go to the airport carpark where he had left his BMW. They were to call him when they were standing at the boot of the vehicle. He would unlock and open the boot with his smartphone. After the file was retrieved and the boot closed, he would relock the car with his smartphone which had been synched with BMW ConnectedDrive’s Remote Services – all while still on the beach in Malta (and he figured, likely working his way through a second margarita).
An hour later, the file was recovered exactly as planned.
BMW ConnectedDrive is an innovative Web-based platform offering safety, information and convenience that frees you to do more when going from A to B. Our BMW 528i, which was equipped with Real Time Traffic Information (RTTI), provided timely and accurate forewarning of traffic congestion and road works, allowing us to quickly adjust our route during our journey. RTTI’s easy-to-read maps and intuitive visual warnings provided precise and predictive information on current traffic conditions. Even during rush hour, we were consistently able to reach our destinations on time as RTTI helped us skirt traffic build-ups and bottlenecks.
Faster than any bank hotline, Concierge Services connected us directly to a live BMW personal assistant who could see our location, tell us the nearest places to eat and drink, provide directions to get there, and make reservations for us. Since we were always on time for our meetings and ahead of others who, bereft of RTTI, were frustrated by traffic congestion, we would pass the time browsing the news, checking stock prices and clearing email via BMW Online. The Aupeo personal Internet radio app transported us into a world of music and eclectic entertainment from around the world, transcending the banal programming of local radio.
Intelligent Emergency Call, a live safety function, is used to summon emergency assistance either for yourself or other road users at the touch of a button. If an airbag is deployed or a crash is registered by the car’s sensors, Intelligent Emergency Call automatically contacts the BMW Call Centre via an accident-proof telephone unit installed in the vehicle. If there is no response from the driver, emergency rescue will be despatched immediately.
Regular vehicle maintenance is a breeze with Teleservices. The vehicle actually knows when it needs servicing. ConnectedDrive alerts BMW’s Services Partner to contact the owner of the vehicle for an appointment.
It is said true beauty is timeless. Though the BMW 5-series F10 has been traversing Singapore’s roads for the past six years since its debut in 2010, this sculpted work of art continued to turn heads throughout our drive. Poised, sleek and stylish, this Bavarian beauty exuded class and street presence as we cruised with aplomb through urban traffic and busy expressways.
The F10 redefines business class on the road. Bavaria’s talented interior designers have once again delivered an aesthetically appealing, luxurious and roomy interior that is a remarkable combination of creative space planning, excellent ergonomics and sturdy build quality. Clearly, BMW engineers put a lot of thought into developing a comfortable and spacious cabin.
From the fine wood trim panelled dash that is gently inclined towards the driver, the sculpted gear shift, the cushioned sports leather steering, and, the Dakota leather lounge seats that were specially treated so the leather would not burn on contact with skin despite hours parked in the sun.
Our car’s powerful four-zone air-conditioning and all-round tinted glass screened us from the glare of harsh sunlight and cocooned us in a cool, comfortable and quiet bubble as we sailed through urban traffic and blew through expressways. Even the high-pitched lawn mower buzzing of passing motorcycles barely intruded into the well-insulated cabin.
At dusk, ambient theatre lighting activated with the headlights, made the cabin feel warm, cosy and safe. Comfort access to the voluminous 520 litre rear luggage compartment was activated by simply sweeping a foot beneath the rear bumper — no more struggling with supermarket bags and key fob.
Smooth as silk, one does not merely drive the 528i, as much as glide comfortably in it. This astounding four cylinder, 1,997 cc luxury sports sedan is a refined ride with power. 350Nm of torque was on tap from an extremely low 1,250 rpm. Its 245 bhp engine output fulfilled its promised 0 – 100km/h sprint in 6.2 seconds.
BMW’s eight-speed automatic transmission and twin-scroll turbo delivered a ride indistinguishable from its earlier in-line six predecessor. Combined fuel consumption was an impressive 6.6 – 7 litres/100km.
In terms of handling and manoeuvrability, this F10 continues to impress, due in no small part to BMW’s integral active steering which combines steering rear wheels with a variable-steering transmission ratio at the front axle. At up to 60km/h, the rear wheels steer in the opposite direction to the front wheels. From 60km/h, the rear wheels steer in the same direction as the front wheels, providing the stability and comfort typically found in a vehicle with a longer wheelbase. From a road safety perspective, this feature is critical when fast and abrupt lane changes are required.
This is the sedan to beat in its class. It is for the individual who has arrived and who is looking for a drive with an edge. The F10 will fulfill its day-to-day work and family obligations with grace and poise. At the touch of a switch, this sculpted Bavarian marvel of engineering and design transforms into a powerful, agile and formidable motorsports platform capable of drifting through hairpin turns on any given track day.
Excellent handling, powerful smooth-as-silk power delivery, outstanding build quality and ergonomics.
We don’t like:
Absence of soft-close doors, an average sound system.