BMW 5 Series estate driving position
Every 5 Series Touring gets a comfortable and reasonably supportive driver’s seat, which includes electric seat height and backrest angle adjustment, and M Sport models have bigger side bolsters to hold you in place more securely when cornering quickly. There’s also plenty of steering wheel adjustment.
Fully electrically adjustable seats with memory settings are, unsurprisingly, an optional extra, but it’s disappointing that you also have to pay extra for lumbar adjustment, even on the most expensive trims.
The dashboard is clearly laid out and all the controls are within easy reach. In this area, the 5 Series Touring is better than its closest rival, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate, although the margins aren’t huge.
BMW 5 Series estate visibility
Seeing out of the 5 Series Touring forward and over its bonnet is no problem at all, thanks to relatively slender front pillars and the tall, wide windscreen. It’s the same story when looking to the right and left at roundabouts and junctions.
With a shallower rear screen than an E-Class Estate and relatively thick rear pillars, reversing the 5 Series Touring might be tricky if it weren’t for the standard front and rear parking sensors; these make parking reasonably drama free.
A reversing camera and a self-parking system are available as optional extras on all models, as is a 360deg bird’s-eye-view monitor.
The standard LED headlights in the 5 Series Touring are very good, but you can upgrade them to an even more sophisticated set that turn with the steering wheel and provide automatic high-beam assist.
BMW 5 Series estate infotainment
Every 5 Series comes with BMW’s range-topping Professional Multimedia system, which brings a whopping 10.2in widescreen, sat-nav, various online services, a DAB radio and even a built-in 20GB hard drive to store your music on.
The screen is touch-sensitive, or you can operate it using the rotary dial and shortcut buttons between the front seats. The latter method is much easier (and safer) than using the touchscreen when you’re driving; it feels more instinctive to simply twist the dial to scroll through the on-screen menus and press down to make a selection. It also helps that the menu system is logical and easy to get the hang of.
On the options list, you’ll find wireless mobile phone charging, Microsoft Office Exchange connectivity, a range of increasingly powerful sound systems, a wi-fi hotspot, a digital TV and Apple CarPlay, the latter of which lets you sync up your iPhone and use some of its functions on the move. There’s even a gesture control feature, which allows you to operate certain functions using mid-air hand signals. The latter may sound like a good idea, but it’s far easier to use the physical controls instead.
BMW 5 Series estate build quality
There’s no danger of you feeling short-changed on quality when climbing into your new 5 Series Touring. All the materials, even those lower down that you’ll rarely come into contact with, look and feel of suitably high quality. Most of the buttons and switches are nicely damped, too.
There are different trim inserts – including wood and gloss-black – that run the length of the dashboard and around the doors, and they all look and feel upmarket. Standard ambient lighting gives off a luxuriant glow after dark.
Some might argue that the 5 Series Touring’s rather 'generic BMW' interior styling isn’t that exciting. If that’s you, then you might find an E-Class Estate’s interior more spectacular, albeit a little flimsier in places, or perhaps the V90’s minimalist elegance will woo you instead. Ultimately, it's a question of preference.