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
55 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

4.631579

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The full BMW 5 Series review


There are 28 BMW 5 Series versions available

Saloon 518d SE 4dr £31,115
What Car? says:5 stars out of 5
Saloon 520d SE 4dr £32,615
What Car? says:5 stars out of 5
Saloon 520i SE 4dr £33,380
What Car? says:3 stars out of 5
Saloon 518d Luxury 4dr £33,815
What Car? says:5 stars out of 5
Saloon 518d M Sport 4dr £33,815
What Car? says:5 stars out of 5
Saloon 520d Luxury 4dr £35,315
What Car? says:5 stars out of 5
Saloon 520d M Sport 4dr £35,315
What Car? says:5 stars out of 5
Saloon 520i Luxury 4dr £36,115
What Car? says:3 stars out of 5
Saloon 520i M Sport 4dr £36,115
What Car? says:3 stars out of 5
Saloon 528i SE 4dr £36,945
What Car? says:3 stars out of 5
Saloon 525d SE 4dr £38,230
What Car? says:4 stars out of 5
Saloon 528i Luxury 4dr £39,645
What Car? says:3 stars out of 5
Saloon 528i M Sport 4dr £39,680
What Car? says:3 stars out of 5
Saloon 525d Luxury 4dr £40,060
What Car? says:4 stars out of 5
Saloon 525d M Sport 4dr £40,060
What Car? says:4 stars out of 5
Saloon 530d SE 4dr £41,705
What Car? says:5 stars out of 5
Saloon 530d Luxury 4dr £44,405
What Car? says:4 stars out of 5
Saloon 530d M Sport 4dr £44,420
What Car? says:4 stars out of 5
Saloon 535i Luxury 4dr £44,840
What Car? says:3 stars out of 5
Saloon 535i M Sport 4dr £44,895
What Car? says:3 stars out of 5
Saloon ActiveHybrid 5 SE 4dr £47,890
What Car? says:3 stars out of 5
Saloon ActiveHybrid 5 Luxury 4dr £48,825
What Car? says:3 stars out of 5
Saloon 535d Luxury 4dr £49,070
What Car? says:4 stars out of 5
Saloon 535d M Sport 4dr £49,070
What Car? says:4 stars out of 5
Saloon ActiveHybrid 5 M Sport 4dr £50,625
What Car? says:3 stars out of 5
Saloon 550i Luxury 4dr £57,765
What Car? says:3 stars out of 5
Saloon 550i M Sport 4dr £58,065
What Car? says:3 stars out of 5
Saloon 4.4 V8 M5 4dr £74,845
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, 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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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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