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BMW Touring - 525i aut. and Knaus

Chris reviewed on 15-08-2018 a BMW Touring - 525i aut. (141 Kw/192 bhp year: april 2004 - january 2005) and a Knaus Lifestyle 500 LD of (laden) 1350 kg.

Last year I wrote rather an unflattering review about the BMW as a tow car - you'll probably see it listed here.

Since then I've used it to tow the 'van on a few more journeys and I think I need to revise what I initially said about the car.

My previous tow car was a turbo diesel so changing to a naturally aspirated petrol was something of a shock, whether towing or driving solo. I think it's taken me a while to defamiliarise myself with the very different power delivery.

The 525i still lacks a bit of something for towing but on our recent journey to Dorset and back it performed very adequately. The 'van was incredible stable on the back of the car and only once, when being overtaken at speed by a large coach, did I feel the 'van move significantly.

The power in the car in most cases was very good for pulling the 'van. Motorway speeds were easily maintained on flat sections and slight inclines. On longer inclines dropping the outbox down into 5th helped keep things moving along.

At 60mph in 6th gear the engine is hovering around 2000rpm so for a petrol engine to pull well at this speed is pretty good. in 5th at the same speed it's about 2500rpm so it's not like I'm red lining it to keep the inertia going.

Some A-road inclines did make the car work hard, though, and it's on these sections that I did miss the lazy low down torque of my old TDi.

Fuel economy isn't as dismal as it was now I'm used to driving the car properly either. Bearing in mind that on both the outward and return journeys a lot of the time was spent sat in slow moving traffic on the M5 the overall average was 22.2mpg, including about 50% motorway and 50% A-roads. On a good run the old Volvo would average about 26mpg pulling the van so I don't think early 20s is bad for a big thirsty petrol engine. I reckon on a clear run it would have achieved a bit more.

In conclusion, I'm much happier about the performance of the 525i as a tow car than I was previously. It's not perfect and it still lacks a bit of low down grunt but it's not enough to make me want to change that car anymore for the amount of towing mileage we're going to cover.

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