The Touring is every bit as impressive as its saloon stable mate on the road. Even though it weighs more and is fitted with the same four-cylinder diesel engines, it feels no less eager to pull from low revs or sprint from standstill in four-cylinder 520d form.
That said, you'll have an even more luxurious experience if you go for the six-cylinder 530d diesel. It's inherently smoother, and displays an instantaneous muscularity across its rev range that the lesser 520d can't hope to match. Both engines are paired with BMW's eight-speed automatic gearbox, which flicks between gears intelligently on its own, or responds sharply to manual paddle pulls.
BMW 5 Series Touring ride comfort
Ride comfort is, if anything, even better than it is in the saloon, even on our test car's larger-than-standard 18in alloy wheels. The standard air suspension at the rear (this isn’t even an option on the saloon) provides a typically pillowy high-speed motorway ride in its Comfort mode, yet isn't tripped up by ruts and potholes at town speeds.
Overall, it's such a close run thing with the Mercedes E-Class Estate that we'll have to drive them back-to-back before deciding which is the king of comfort.
BMW 5 Series Touring handling
A Mercedes E-Class Estate can't touch the BMW for handling – indeed, few rivals can. Switch to its firmer, more responsive Sport mode and the 5’s steering feels more consistently weighted and precise, its front wheels are keen to bite, and there's genuine enjoyment to be had as the Touring flows confidently from corner to corner.
BMW 5 Series Touring refinement
There’s a slightly diesel gruffness to the four-cylinder 520d when it’s pushed hard, but ultimately, it’s one of the quietest engines of its type in this class. There’s certainly not too much vibration to worry about.
However, the six-cylinder 30d diesel is the even nicer companion, proving even smoother than the 520d at all revs, and quieter too.
Happily, the 5 Series Touring is exceptional at keeping road and wind noise outside, meaning long motorway journeys are never taxing.