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2012 BMW 528i Long Term Update 5

Efficient Dynamics (?)

Kim Reynolds
Mar 12, 2013
Photographers: Motor Trend Staff
Now that our long term BMW 528i has wound over 26,000 miles onto its odometer and we have all of our track test numbers in hand, we’re finally in a position to address this car’s big question: Is it really both Efficient and Dynamic, per BMW’s new green-age slogan?
Photo 2/16   |   2012 BMW 528i Front Three Quarters In Motion
Let’s start off with a look at the cars mileage. Below is a graph of the 528i’s cumulative mileage since its arrival, and as you can see, in our hands, it’s is basically a 25 mpg car (the EPA’s combined number is 27). And it’s initial up and down fluctuations are a nice reminder of why we’ve needed to wait awhile (about 7000 miles, in this instance) before actually claiming what the car’s mileage is.
But here’s the big question: is a car that returns 25.1 mpg, and scoots to 60 mph in 6.2 seconds, a car you’d call both ‘Efficient’ and ‘Dynamic’? In the next two graphs I’ve cast the BMW against a background of 44 premium, or near-premium, sedans that we’ve tested. In the first, we’ve compared their acceleration potential (as power-to-weight-ratio) versus mileage.
Photo 3/16   |   2012 BMW 528i Rear Three Quarters In Motion
A dot farther to the right means it has better mileage; a higher one means better performance (a car that’s both efficient and dynamic sedan should be as close to the upper right corner as possible). What do we make of the BMW 528i? Not much. It’s seems to be along the curve of the better cars, but the Infiniti M35h and Lexus GS 450h (both, hybrids alternatives) are clearly better positioned.
This next graph is read in the same way except that the ‘hp/lb ratio’ has been replaced with lateral grip. Here, the 528i fares a little better, but it’s once again beaten by the GS 450h. And how does the 528 match-up against the 535i? Having a four-cylinder turbo swapped in place of a six-cylinder one saves weight (about 250 lbs) with most of that subtracted from the front wheels, which should help handling balance. However the 2-liter turbo’s lazy response when you stamp on throttle noticeably dulls both its acceleration and handling reactions..
Photo 4/16   |   2012 BMW 528i Wheels
So there we are. Does the BMW 528i represent Efficient Dynamics? Yes – but I’d suggest it be written in all lower case letters.

Our Cars
Service life 12 months/26,014 miles
Average fuel economy 25.1 mpg
CO2 emissions 0.77 lb/mile
Energy consumption 134 kW-hr/100 mile
Unresolved problems None
Maintenance cost $0
Normal-wear cost $0

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