Last year BMW beat longtime rival Mercedes-Benz to the luxury-car sales crown for the first time since 2015 after better navigating the semi-conductor shortage that has snarled auto output globally.

Deliveries of BMW-branded cars jumped 9% to a record 2.2 million last year, surpassing Mercedes’s sales of around 2.1 million. Output of the Daimler AG-owned brand shrank five per cent after the lack of chips grew much worse during the second half of 2021.

Do you remember that great quiz-master Peter Murphy and his Cross-County quiz? One of Peter’s favorite questions was, what do the letters BMW stand for? We Irish love our quizzes and most contestants knew that it meant Bavarian Motor Works.

In those innocent days of radio quiz programmes, I didn’t know anybody who drove a BMW. Now I see Beemers every day, admittedly mostly second hands ones, but all in good condition.

That’s probably one of the reasons for BMW’s success, the residual value of their cars is so good. On our roads you will see BMW cars ten, 20 years old and all in great condition. Now I see first-time drivers on our road driving second hand versions.

The 5-series is one of BMW’s best sellers and has been around since1972 when it replaced the New Class Sedans. The 5-Series is BMW’s second best-selling model after the 3-Series. In January 2008, the 5 millionth 5-Series was manufactured, a 530d sedan in Carbon Black Metallic

I also drove a black, M-Sport version, and it look very sleek. Dark on the outside, but inside the decor was very bright thanks to the luxurious cream seats.

My test car was a 2.0-litre diesel. I thought the diesel was very quiet, but then I met a man who works as a chauffeur and he thought it was a bit noisy. It was a diesel, not a hybrid, so naturally there was a bit of engine noise, but only when starting the car.

The dash is very impressive, and all the controls are user-friendly. In recent weeks I am noticing many new DAB radio station coming up on new cars that I drive, but it’s all talk or music. I think the days of quiz programmes by Joe Linnane, now that’s going back a bit, or Peter Murphy are consigned to history.

The boot is huge boot, but no spare wheel and the reason is that all BMW cars are equipped with run-flat tyres. But you would have to wonder what shape a tyre would be in if you drove it for a fair distance when punctured?

I haven’t driven many BMW cars in recent years, and I heard comments from some people suggesting that the steering in the new version of the 520D is not a ‘fun’ as the former model.

Prices for 520D start at €55,975, but of course the fancier the model the higher the price. The M-Sport version will cost you around €73k. Road tax is €200.

BMW cars tend to depreciate at a slower rate than most other brands. So you are always guarantee a good residual price for your Beemer.

You probably won’t win the National Lottery when driving the diesel version of the BMW 520D as you won’t have to stop at many filling stations/shops. But for a country boy like me sitting behind the wheel of a BMW with those famous kidney grilles, could be compared with winning the lottery.