Can a 520d tow a caravan? (520d vs 520i)

In this article, we will answer the following question: Can a 520d tow a caravan? We will tell the story of how the BMW 5 Series came to be, and help you decide: 520d or 520i; diesel or petrol? 

Can a 520d tow a caravan?

The BMW 520d is a great car for towing a caravan, a trailer or a horsebox. The 520d ED version offers driving comfort and the ability to switch from Sport to Sport Plus or back to Comfort. But beyond the driver’s seat and passengers can feel the pleasure of driving and the feeling of safety.

The new generation 5 G30 series comes with the most fuel-efficient version and appears under the name 520d Efficient Dynamics. In short, the 520d version offers superior dynamic performance and better fuel consumption, even when towing.

BMW 5 Series 520d Towing Capacity

BMW 5 Series 520d M Sport 5dr Step Auto gran Turismo diesel hatchback750 Kg2100 Kg
Bmw 5 SERIES DIESEL TOURING 520d [190] Luxury 5dr750 kg1,800 kg
Bmw 5 SERIES DIESEL TOURING 520d [190] M Sport 5dr750 kg1,800 kg
Bmw 5 SERIES DIESEL TOURING 520d [190] M Sport 5dr Step Auto750 kg2,000 kg
Bmw 5 SERIES DIESEL TOURING 520d [190] SE 5dr750 kg1,800 kg
BMW 5 SERIES GRAN TURISMO DIESEL HATCHBACK 520d Luxury 5dr Step Auto750 kg2,100 kg
BMW 5 Series GT (2009 onwards) 520d Modern (Euro 5) GT Hatch 5d Step Auto750kg2100kg
BMW 5 Series Saloon (2003 – 2010) 520d (177bhp) M Sport 4d750kg1800kg
BMW 5 Series Saloon (2010 onwards) 520d (190bhp) SE 4d Step Auto750kg2000kg
BMW 5 Series Saloon (2010 onwards) 520d BluePerformance SE (Business Media) 4d750kg2000kg
BMW 5 Series Saloon (2010 onwards) 520d Efficient Dynamics (Business Media) 4d750kg2000kg
BMW 5 Series Saloon (2010 onwards) 520d Modern 4d750kg1800kg

Other questions you may be interested in

Can a BMW 3 series tow a caravan?

Can a Peugeot 407 tow a caravan?

Can you tow a caravan in 40mph winds?

BMW 520d: A review

The Efficient Dynamics Edition version of the BMW 520d came in 2011 with a two-litre turbo-diesel engine of 184hp, but also with new elements such as low-resistance tires, Stop-Start system or longer final ratio.

The average consumption of the version was, according to official statements, 4.5 litres / 100km and reached a speed of 100km / h in 8.1 seconds, with a top speed of 227km / h.

To achieve such consumption, the BMW 520 d ED underwent several technical adjustments and so the car was equipped with a manual gearbox with long ratios, discreetly lowered ground clearance and an engine with 184hp running without vibrations at low speeds. 

The number of pollutants released into the atmosphere was the same as that eliminated by a smaller-cylinder diesel. But the possible drawback would be that, at least then, it was not possible to opt for an automatic gearbox.

The 520 d ED version offers driving comfort and the ability to switch from Sport to Sport Plus or back to Comfort. But beyond the driver’s seat and passengers can feel the pleasure of driving and the feeling of safety.

The multimedia system also came with a huge display, this being an important point of interest for everyone. And with a Head-Up system, the navigation indications can be projected directly on the windshield, without the driver having to lose his attention on the road.

The new generation 5 G30 series comes this year with the most fuel-efficient version and appears under the name 520 d Efficient Dynamics. So, according to BMW, the car promises to use less than 4.0 litres of fuel per hundred km.

The sedan has under the hood the same engine from a normal 520 d 5 series, this being a 2.0 l turbo-diesel with 190 horsepower and 400 Nm of torque.

The transmission is eight-speed, ZF, automatic and together with the unit offers a speed of up to one hundred km in 7.5 seconds. With every hundred km travelled, the BMW 520 ED sedan uses between 3.9 and 4.3 l of fuel.

The car is considered an eco-champion in its range because the emissions are about 102 g / km. And to save fuel, the model also had an optimized external aerodynamic kit and a particulate filter, NOx catalyst and an oxidation one.

520d or 520i? Diesel or petrol?

The discussion about “520d or 520i” is quite complicated, and the choice of an engine depends on many factors. 

  • 520d or 520i: performance

In both cases included in this comparison, the models have two-litre engines with four cylinders. The diesel variant – 520d – develops 190 horsepower at 4,000 rpm and a maximum torque of 400 Nm, available between 1,750 and 2,500 rpm. The sprint from 0 to 100 km / h lasts 7.3 seconds, the maximum speed is 235 km / h, and the average fuel consumption varies between 4.5 and 4.6 l / 100 km. 

On the other hand, the 520i develops 184 horsepower between 5,000 and 6,500 rpm, while the engine torque is 290 Nm, available between 1,350 and 4,250 rpm. From 0 to 100 km / h, the 520i accelerates in 7.8 seconds, the top speed is 235 km / h, and the average declared consumption varies between 5.8 and 6.0 l / 100 km. 

As expected, the diesel version has better dynamic performance. This is primarily due to the considerably higher torque and I tend to think that in the case of acceleration in halves the differences are also quite large.

  • 520d or 520i: running costs

There was a time when the higher purchase cost of a diesel engine was justified by the difference given by the average consumption. That’s because there was a pretty important difference. Now, however, engines with similar powers promise relatively close average consumption, regardless of the fuel used. 

In this case, theoretically, the difference is minimal. Specifically about 1.5 l / 100 km. But remember, that’s only theoretical. In reality, in the case of both models, the consumption will be higher and the difference will also increase. Especially if you have a slightly sportier driving style. But suppose the difference is 2.0 l / 100 km. 

In this case, after 10,000 kilometres, you will have consumed 200 litres more fuel in the case of gasoline than in the case of diesel. 

In short, the difference between the purchase prices will be amortized after about 75,000 kilometres. So, after these 75,000 kilometres, the diesel engine starts to pay off. But all these calculations are theoretical and based on mixed consumption. In urban traffic, the consumption gap will be considerably larger.

  • 520d or 520i: maintenance costs

In the past, one of the arguments that gasoline had in favour of diesel was related to overhauling costs. But now things are not exactly like that. At least for BMW models. In the case of the 520i, you can opt for Service Inclusive Plus and benefit from zero service costs for five years, up to a limit of 100,000 kilometres. 

Final thoughts

520d or 520i: what do we choose?

There was a time when a diesel engine would have won the theoretical battle against a gasoline engine with similar performance. But now things have changed a little. Of course, in this particular case, the 520d version offers superior dynamic performance and better fuel consumption.

So, if you are the kind of person who travels around 30,000 kilometres a year, then I think a diesel is still the best choice. For the reasons stated above.

On the other hand, if the number of kilometres per year does not exceed 15,000 – 20,000 kilometres, then maybe it would be better to choose gasoline. Especially if we are talking about a personal purchase, where the resale value is important.

Likewise, I tend to believe that in five years from now, the prices on the second-hand market for diesel models will be considerably lower than those for similar petrol. Not that this is necessarily the right thing to do, but because this seems to be the trend with diesel stigmatization. If the purchase is made by the company, then maybe the resale value is not so important.

What would your choice be?! If you have any questions or comments on the content, please let us know. 

FAQ on Can a 520d tow a caravan?

Can a BMW tow a caravan?

A BMW has a strong towing capacity between 745 and 3500 kg, depending on the car model. To be sure how much your model can tow, check the owner’s manual. 

Can a BMW 3 Series tow a caravan?

A BMW 3 Series can tow a caravan effortlessly. As long as the caravan’s weight doesn’t exceed 85% of the weight of the car, you can trust your BMW 3 Series to tow it. 

Can a BMW 1 Series tow a caravan?

Yes, the BMW 1 Series can tow a caravan. The towing limit varies between 745 kgs for an unbraked capacity and 1500 kgs for a braked capacity. To be sure how much your model can tow, check the owner’s manual. 

References 

Leave a Comment