BMW E60 523i (2009)

This is the entry level 5 Series (Petrol) model for the Malaysian market. The E60 remains a popular BMW model on the Malaysian roads even though it has been at least 5-6 years since its introduction in 2003/2004. There are still many on the road and its numbers can easily rival the E90 3 Series.

This sample model is very basic and lacks a number of features compared to the earlier 523i SE which I had driven earlier. This entry level 523i, lacks the Active Steering, High Beam Assist, Adaptive Headlights, Sports leather steering wheel and a Navigation System (GPS).

Crucially the car still retains all the important safety features like Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), ABS, multiple air bags and ISOFIX child seat fastening system.

The car equipped with the basic I Drive Business, and the working of this model is covered in a separate article. Similar to the 523i SE this car is assembled in Malaysia for its domestic market.


Getting in and out of the car is easy. There is more than adequate leg room for driver and passengers. The seats are firm, give good support and are electronically adjustable. The sampled model comes with a basic leather steering wheel with multifunction buttons.

The steering is light and easy to steer. However, I was not entirely convinced with the steering system. It gave a rather vague feeling of the road and seems a bit detached from it. At times it was not easy to determine the extent of each turn. I don’t recall experiencing this with the 523i SE which has Active Steering.

Engine specs are the same as the 523i SE, ie the (N52) 6 cylinder in-line petrol engine with 4-valve technology with a displacement of 2,497cc. Max power output is 190bhp @ 5,900rpm and max torque is 230Nm @ 3,250rpm.

The engine is very refined and silent for its size. Engine noise is well insulated. The sound files below which depict the engine noise was recorded from inside the car bonnet. In actual driving the engine noise was a pleasant hum.

The power and torque is well engineered for a car of this size. The car always felt like it had more than adequate power. The sampled car has a 6-speed automatic transmission with Steptronic. Acceleration was smooth with silky gear changes.

Fuel consumption was surprisingly on the high side for this sample model. Based on the on board computer, the average fuel consumption was 12.5 litres per 100km which was well above the brochure’s stated specs of 9.3 litres per 100km.

In actual driving the car was thirsty as the fuel gauge dropped quite fast even for short drives. This contrasted with the 523i SE which I recalled was more economical. The sampled car is still quite new (less than 2,000km on the mileage) and it would be interesting to see if fuel consumption improves with further running of the car.

Tyres for both front and rear are 17 inch (245/45 R17) Goodyear Eagle run flats. The car felt well balanced with its suspension adjusted more for comfort than sporty. It is still firmer than the usual mid-range sedans but should provide adequate comfort for its driver and passengers.

The car is equipped with Park Distance Control with LCD display and audible warnings. This assists parking and maneuvering the car in narrow places. For entertainment the car comes with the BMW Business Radio with CD Drive (6 Speakers). The sound system is clear and should satisfy those who like bass heavy sounds. For the more discerning, you might prefer more midrange. As the car has good NVH, there is a pleasant ambiance accompanying the music without the need to raise the volume to higher levels.


Although the car does not have Adaptive Headlight, the Xenon headlights still provide adequate illumination for night driving. If required, there are plenty of interior lights for reading at night. In Malaysia the 523i SE comes at a hefty premium of RM40k (about USD11.5k) compared to the entry level 523i. However, the 523i SE has better specs and provided better driving experience.


Engine: 6-cylinder in-line petrol engine with 4 valve technology
Capacity: 2,497cc
Max Output: 190bhp/5,900 rpm
Max Torque: 230nm/3,250 rpm
Top Speed: 233km/h
Acceleration 0-100km: 9.1sec
Fuel Consumption: 9.3ltr/100km

Source: BMW Brochure

Note: Please reconfirm the above specifications with an authorized BMW dealer



Click on these to sample sounds from the car!

523i Ignition (Outside)

523i Horn (Outside)

523i Acceleration (Outside)

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