The 520d was scheduled to be launched in the UK in 2007, but BMW UK lobbied the factory in Germany to get the car on to British roads earlier because of its importance to the corporate sector.
BMW UK’s general manager – sales, Bernard Bradley, said: ‘The original plan was for us not to get the 520d until 2007, but we lobbied very hard to get it earlier because the UK fleet market is so important.’
The 520d, using the same engine as the smaller 320d and offering a much lower entry cost into the 5-series range, goes on sale in the UK in September with prices starting at £25,925.
Available in both saloon and Touring bodystyles, BMW expects corporate buyers to account for between 50-60% of sales.
The 520d will cement BMW’s corporate petrol/diesel mix at about 50% higher than its total sales mix which is now 40% diesel.
The figures highlight the massive surge in demand for diesel – when this generation 5-series was being designed, the diesel share was just 14%.
BMW UK will launch a corporate demonstration programme at the end of September for the car.