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.
What Car? says
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
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There are 28 BMW 5 Series versions available
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:
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,…
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.…
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…
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…