The way the BMW 5 Series Touring rides depends largely on whether you specify the standard suspension, the stiffer M Sport set-up, or do what we’d suggest and tick the box for the optional adaptive dampers, called Variable Damper Control (VDC). This isn’t cheap, but it's definitely worth the extra.
Without it, the 5 Series is supple enough over big bumps around town, but there’s always an underlying shimmy through the car on anything other than super-smooth roads, particularly if you opt for 19in alloys, M Sport suspension or run-flat tyres. If you do lots of motorway miles, you’ll probably find this quite annoying.
Cars with VDC, however, are even more forgiving at low speeds, and they ride in a much more sophisticated fashion along pockmarked British A-roads and motorways – especially if you soften the dampers by pressing the Comfort button next to the gearlever. And the good news is the settings are the same whether you opt for SE or M Sport trim.
It’s worth pointing out that all its rivals, including the E-Class Estate and the Volvo V90, also need an equivalent form of pricey adaptive suspension fitted to achieve their best ride quality. One word of warning: if you do spend the money on the VDC suspension don’t undo all its goodness by specifying really big alloys or run-flat tyres.