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 34 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:
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…
I just took delivery of a 520d SE to replace my previous early model 525d F10 - 6 cyl - and am delighted with the change. Because I've specified VDC…
I've had this car for 8 months now which was a replacement to my previous 525d. The performance is much better than the previous one particularly with…