2023 BMW 520i Review: Five For Fighting

Ben Chia

The BMW 520i has long been a mainstay of the executive sedan scene in Singapore, but does the new eighth-generation model have what it takes to keep fighting in an increasingly-diverse market?

2023 BMW 520i Launch Edition

Launch Date: September 2023 – Price S$385,888 with COE (December 2023)
Five door, midsize executive sedan, five seats
190hp, 2.0-litre turbo inline four petrol, VES B, 7.0L/100km

Restrained and elegant styling
Comfortable ride
Dashboard looks classy

Missing features
Some low rent interior bits
Slightly lacklustre handling


In years gone by, if you were an aspiring mid-level corporate executive looking to climb up the corporate ladder, chances are your car of choice would probably be a BMW 5 Series. In Singapore’s context, the model would often more likely than not be the 520i.

Check out our video walkaround of the new 5 Series, available for the first time in electric i5 form

Why the 520i specifically? Well, because it marked the entry point into the so-called mid-tier executive segment. In a small country like Singapore, you don’t need large power under the hood, and status is usually more than enough to get you by. Hence there is often the preference for Singaporeans to opt for the smallest engine in a big car, thereby ‘maximising’ their dollar in that sense.

But the world today has shifted markedly from the past of simple linear hierarchy, and in the automotive sense there are much more choices available now for whichever stage in life you are. People can now choose from multitudes of SUVs and electric cars nowadays that not only serve a functional purpose, but also reflect your individuality and status. It’s not that a 520i is fast becoming irrelevant, just that it now has its work cut out if it wants to maintain its reputation as the executive car of choice in Singapore.

Page 2: Styling

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5 Series 520i bmw luxury sedan

About the Author

Ben Chia

CarBuyer's print editor went out to explore the Great Big World, including a stint working in China (despite his limited Mandarin). Now he's back, ready to foist upon you his takes on everything good and wonderful about the automotive world. Follow Ben on Instagram @carbuyer.ben

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