BMW 5 Series Touring full 9 point review
None of the engines is short of power, and even the entry-level 2.0-litre diesel – the 518d – produces 148bhp. Our favourite is the 188bhp 520d, which is plenty quick enough. The 525d and 530d are faster still, but if even they aren’t enough, the 535d is astonishingly quick for a diesel. Petrol engines are two 2.0-litre and one 3.0-litre unit. The best gearbox is the slick eight-speed automatic; it’s standard on the more powerful versions and optional on the others.
Ride & Handling
On standard suspension, the Five’s ride and handling are nowhere near as good as they should be. However, you can add Variable Damper Control to four-cylinder models and Adaptive Drive to six-cylinder models, and these options transform the car. They aren’t cheap, but they’re essential because they make the ride more cosseting and the handling sharper.
For the most part, engine, tyre and suspension noise are brilliantly suppressed, but there is some minor engine noise in the 520d, and you do notice a bit of wind noise over the door mirrors. The eight-speed automatic gearbox is superb and has something of a split personality: stroke the accelerator pedal and the shifts are baby-bottom smooth, but jump on it hard and the shifts become clinically precise.
Buying & Owning
The Touring isn’t cheap to buy, but it's massively desirable and that's reflected in its outstanding resale values. You can also get a large discount – especially if you buy on finance. It’s got some of the lowest CO2 figures in its class, too, which helps make it a comparatively cheap company car, while excellent fuel economy will please both private and business users alike. A three-year, unlimited-mileage warranty is standard.
Quality & Reliability
The Five has high-quality materials and exemplary attention to fit and finish throughout its cabin, and it's debatable whether any other manufacturer is making better cabins than BMW at the moment. The previous 5 Series didn't score well for reliability in the 2012 JD Power survey, but the faults owners experienced were mostly minor ones.
Safety & Security
All Fives come with a minimum of six airbags and a host of electronic driver aids, including stability control, although you can’t get automatic city emergency braking that is common on many rivals. The Five is kind to pedestrians, thanks to a spring-loaded bonnet that provides additional cushioning in the event of a collision. Deadlocks, an engine immobiliser and an alarm are on hand to ward off thieves.
Behind The Wheel
The dashboard on the Five is the epitome of clarity. There are lots of functions available through the iDrive rotary controller, and they can be viewed on the central widescreen monitor. It takes a bit of getting used to, but once you're familiar with the system, it's much easier to use than a touch-screen set-up. Every model has electric adjustment for the seat height and backrest angle, but you have to slide yourself back and forth manually.
Space & Practicality
There's plenty of space for everyone inside, but BMW's claim that the Touring is a genuine five-seater is a little optimistic - there’s a big transmission tunnel running through the centre of the car. A substantial 560 litres of boot space with the rear seats in place (and 1670 when they’re folded down) provides oodles of cargo space, while the standard self-leveling suspension helps cope with heftier loads.
All models come with four electric windows, climate control, steering wheel-mounted controls for the stereo and cruise control, and a CD player. The list of options is almost endless, including a head-up display that projects vital information on to the windscreen in the driver's line of sight, active steering and adaptive drive, which incorporates adaptive suspension and self-adjusting anti roll bars.