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What Car? says

5 out of 5 stars

For The 5 Series Touring has wonderfully smooth engines, it's great to drive impressively spacious

Against Some find the iDrive system awkward to use, and the Five is expensive to buy used

Verdict The 5 Series is as practical as it is enjoyable - it’s a classy estate, but dear to buy used

Go for… 525d SE

Avoid… 550i M Sport

BMW 5 Series Touring
  • 1. Every Touring has self-levelling rear suspension
  • 2. The well shaped boot is big, but the rear seats don’t fold completely flat
  • 3. High-mileage cars can be a sound buy if they were looked after on a company fleet
  • 4. Check the iDrive rotary control system works - and that you're happy working it
  • 5. There have been reports of the run-flat tyres losing pressure, so check if a potential buy has these fitted
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BMW 5 Series Touring full review with expert trade views

Put simply, the 5 Series Touring is one of the finest estates around. It’s a great choice for keen drivers who need a practical load-lugger, too: it provides agile handling, incredible poise and a range of strong, smooth engines. Every Touring also has self-levelling rear suspension to ensure that heavy loads don’t affect its road manners.

Drivers will be comfortable behind the wheel, thanks to a wide range of adjustment, and there’s plenty of space for three in the back. The well shaped boot is big, although the rear seats don’t fold completely flat when you want to extend the load bay. Some cars are fitted with the optional electrically operated tailgate, which is a useful touch.

The interior looks and feels classy, and every car is luxuriously equipped. Yes, there are cheaper estates out there, but the 5 Series oozes prestige and is a delight to drive.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

Prestige estate, high on image. Low volumes will ensure prices remain strong

Martin Keighley
Valuations expert,
What Car? Used Car Price Guide

Our favourite is the 525d SE. Its 177bhp diesel engine has more than enough punch to pull this estate, it’s reasonably fuel-efficient and is generously equipped with cruise control, climate control, stability and traction control, a CD player, parking sensors and alloys.

The six-cylinder petrol engines – the 171bhp 523i, the 212bhp 525i and the 254bhp 530i – are all smooth and powerful, which makes the expensive 550i seem redundant.

Diesel buyers can also choose the 520d, the 530d and the 535d, and all offer plenty of pull even when the car is fully loaded. However, none has the same blend of power and economy as the 525d.

All Fives get a six-speed manual gearbox; a six-speed automatic is optional, but fitted as standard on the 535d. Entry-level - and our preffered - trim is SE; M Sport models add a bodykit, unique alloys and part-leather seats, but we don't think they're worth the money.

Trade view

James Ruppert

523 SE is the value buy, though 520D SE is what retails easiest

James Ruppert
Used car guru

The 5 Series Touring is a desirable car, and holds on to its value well, so its second-hand prices are not exactly the most affordable. It’s not especially cheap to run, either: most fuel-efficient is the 520d, which returns an official 46.3mpg average; the 525d manages 40.4mpg and the 535d, 34.4mpg.

Petrol versions will hit your wallet harder: best is the 523i at 32.5mpg, while the 525i returns 31.7mpg, the 530i averages 30.7mpg and the 550i returns a lowly 24.6mpg. However, whatever the official figures say, many BMW owners have reported a much poorer fuel economy for their own car.

Insurance costs are high, too, ranging from group 15 for the base diesel to group 20 for the top-of-the-range 550i. Last but not least, bills for maintenance and repairs are likely to be costly, too – labour rates at BMW dealerships are among the highest around.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

Prestige estate, high on image. Low volumes will ensure prices remain strong

Martin Keighley
Valuations expert,
What Car? Used Car Price Guide

The latest 5 Series hasn’t performed as well as its predecessor in customer satisfaction surveys, with disappointing results in the annual JD Power survey. Owners criticised the car’s interior quality and reckoned mechanical reliability was merely average.

This version of the 5 Series is too new to appear on Warranty Direct’s records, so we have no hard data on the car’s mechanical reliability. However, we have heard of problems relating to the iDrive system – the rotary switch that allows the driver to control various in-car functions - and of run-flat tyres that lose pressure, so check both on any car you're interested in.

Given the complexity of the 5 Series’ electrics, particularly the iDrive, it’s worth checking that the used car you’re considering has been maintained and repaired by a BMW dealer – check the service history carefully. High-mileage cars can be a sound buy if they were on a company fleet, as they are likely to have been looked after carefully.

Trade view

James Ruppert

523 SE is the value buy, though 520D SE is what retails easiest

James Ruppert
Used car guru
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