For Effortless, powerful and refined, the six-cylinder engine in the 535d turns in the 5 Series into diesel-engined performance car.

Against On standard suspension, the 5 Series isn’t comfortable enough for an executive saloon, and it’s not as much fun to drive as it should be. Adaptive Drive rectifies this, but costs thousands extra.

BMW 5 Series Saloon

What Car? says

4 out of 5 stars

There's a lot to love about the 535d - especially the silky smooth six-cylinder diesel engine - but choose your options carefully.

What Car? readers say


Key facts

5.3 secs
Top speed
155 mph
Average mpg
Tank range
821 miles
See all running costs

View the whole BMW 5 Series Saloon range

Read in full

The full BMW 5 Series review

Buyer's notes

Target Price team says:

The 535i, 550i and the mighty M5 will deliver all the thrills you need, but the 5 Series will mainly be bought by pragmatists rather than enthusiasts.

That's why the 520d is the best option, particularly if you opt for the automatic, which is even more efficient than the manual and so offers impressively low company car tax costs and great real-world economy. The six-cylinder 530d is also worth a look if you fancy a bit more power.

However, the standard suspension gives a lumpy ride and disappointing handling. That's why we recommend adding optional adaptive suspension (called VDC on four-cylinder models, Adaptive Drive on six-cylinder cars). These systems bring sharper handling and a more controlled ride.

Whichever engine and suspension you choose, entry-level SE trim is all you need; this comes with leather seats, a sat-nav, a DAB radio and xenon headlights.

Reader test team says:

BMW 5 Series Saloon 523i SE 4dr

The dealers never had test cars with VDC and they didn’t recommend it. After a few days in a 520d Luxury on 18inch run flats, I think the press are…

Phil Robson

3 out of 5 stars

BMW 5 Series Saloon 520d M Sport 4dr

I have just taken delivery of my 64 reg 520d M sport Auto in Carbon Black. This replaced my 2012 almost like for like Alpina White. I had been told…

Rafiq Chohan

5 out of 5 stars

BMW 5 Series Saloon 520d M Sport 4dr

An absolutely superb car. a great driving experience with a unique blend of quality, performance, handling and economy, comfortably returning almost…

Colin Walters

5 out of 5 stars

BMW 5 Series Saloon M5 4dr

One thing I didn't reckon on when I bought my M5 earlier this year was the number of admirers. Whether waiting at lights, on the motorway or parked,…

Chris Laythorpe

5 out of 5 stars
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