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For With the right options, the BMW 5 Series strikes just the right balance between comfort, refinement and dynamic excellence. The interior is plush and feels suitably expensive.

Against If you don't add the right options, the 5 Series is disappointing to drive. Those extras aren't cheap, either.

BMW 5 Series Saloon
44 5stars

A classy, spacious and refined executive saloon with low running costs and excellent engines. It's just a pity you need to add options to make the BMW 5 Series drive well.

What Car? readers say

4.6875

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The full BMW 5 Series review


There are 34 BMW 5 Series versions available

Saloon 518d SE 4dr £30,265
What Car? says:5 stars out of 5
Saloon 520d SE 4dr £31,965
What Car? says:5 stars out of 5
Saloon 518d Modern 4dr £32,265
What Car? says:5 stars out of 5
Saloon 520i SE 4dr £33,005
What Car? says:3 stars out of 5
Saloon 518d Luxury 4dr £33,065
What Car? says:5 stars out of 5
Saloon 518d M Sport 4dr £33,065
What Car? says:5 stars out of 5
Saloon 520d Modern 4dr £33,965
What Car? says:5 stars out of 5
Saloon 520d Luxury 4dr £34,765
What Car? says:5 stars out of 5
Saloon 520d M Sport 4dr £34,765
What Car? says:5 stars out of 5
Saloon 520i Modern 4dr £35,040
What Car? says:3 stars out of 5
Saloon 520i Luxury 4dr £35,840
What Car? says:3 stars out of 5
Saloon 520i M Sport 4dr £35,840
What Car? says:3 stars out of 5
Saloon 528i SE 4dr £36,570
What Car? says:3 stars out of 5
Saloon 525d SE 4dr £36,855
What Car? says:4 stars out of 5
Saloon 528i Modern 4dr £37,460
What Car? says:3 stars out of 5
Saloon 525d Modern 4dr £38,985
What Car? says:4 stars out of 5
Saloon 528i Luxury 4dr £39,370
What Car? says:3 stars out of 5
Saloon 528i M Sport 4dr £39,405
What Car? says:3 stars out of 5
Saloon 525d Luxury 4dr £39,785
What Car? says:4 stars out of 5
Saloon 525d M Sport 4dr £39,785
What Car? says:4 stars out of 5
Saloon 530d SE 4dr £41,055
What Car? says:5 stars out of 5
Saloon 530d Luxury 4dr £43,855
What Car? says:4 stars out of 5
Saloon 530d M Sport 4dr £43,870
What Car? says:4 stars out of 5
Saloon 535i Luxury 4dr £44,560
What Car? says:3 stars out of 5
Saloon 535i M Sport 4dr £44,615
What Car? says:3 stars out of 5
Saloon ActiveHybrid 5 SE 4dr £47,790
What Car? says:3 stars out of 5
Saloon 535d Luxury 4dr £48,520
What Car? says:4 stars out of 5
Saloon 535d M Sport 4dr £48,520
What Car? says:4 stars out of 5
Saloon ActiveHybrid 5 Luxury 4dr £48,825
What Car? says:3 stars out of 5
Saloon ActiveHybrid 5 Modern 4dr £48,825
What Car? says:3 stars out of 5
Saloon ActiveHybrid 5 M Sport 4dr £50,625
What Car? says:3 stars out of 5
Saloon 550i Luxury 4dr £57,610
What Car? says:3 stars out of 5
Saloon 550i M Sport 4dr £57,910
What Car? says:3 stars out of 5
Saloon 4.4 V8 M5 4dr £73,960
What Car? says:4 stars out of 5

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. This model's 2.0-litre diesel engine promises average almost 63mpg, and if you're a company car driver, the CO2 output of just 119g/km places the car in a low tax bracket. 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 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

BMW 5 Series Saloon 535d M Sport 4dr

After moving to the dark side having spent the last three years in the fabulous Jaguar XF 3LDiesel S, I compared the new 535 DM Sport with the Jag.…

Philip Donetti

5 out of 5 stars

BMW 5 Series Saloon 520d SE 4dr

I am a company car driver and took delivery of my 520d SE manual back in May 2011. To date I have covered over 95,000 miles with a real mixture of…

RICHARD WHITE

5 out of 5 stars

BMW 5 Series Saloon 520d SE 4dr

I must be the only one who disagrees with VDC option as it is not necessary and expensive. If you want sharp handling then buy an M Sport version and…

Khaled Zureiqi

5 out of 5 stars
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BMW 5 Series Saloon

Read the definitive BMW 5 Series Saloon review from the expert What Car? team. Check specs, prices and compare with similar cars.

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