Our Cars: BMW 5 Series Touring - May
BMW boasts about the 5 Series being the ultimate driving machine, but last month my car was the ultimate lugging machine as it carried three men and a boot full of luggage on a 1500-mile, four-day trip to Geneva and back.
It was a big test for the car, because BMW freely admits that its designers' priority was to create a stylish estate rather than one that could swallow as much as possible. That fact is borne out by the boot's 560-litre capacity seats up, 1670 litres seats down – some way short of the class-leading Mercedes E-Class Estate's corresponding figures of 690- and 1950 litres.
On this occasion the space was sufficient – the boot swallowed everyone's kit, leaving the occupants free to stretch out and enjoy the luxurious interior.
This, and my own experiences of driving with the wife and two kids on weekends away, suggests that for most people, most of the time, the BMW's capacity is big enough.
On its trip to Switzerland it also proved its worth as a refined cruiser. Road-, wind- and engine noise are well isolated from the cabin, the seats are supportive and comfortable, and the 2.0-litre diesel engine pulls effortlessly, providing just enough shove to overtake without drinking too much fuel. Overall, it averaged a smidgen over 48mpg and was a great long-distance companion.