What's the used BMW 5 Series estate like?
There’s a question that’s often asked of us here at What Car? – which one used car would you recommend that fulfils all needs?
Well, of course, that very much depends on your individual needs, but although in each category and each price point we could name many good contenders, somehow our thoughts always come back to this BMW 5 Series Touring. You see it takes all that's wonderful about the hugely impressive 5 Series saloon and adds in a healthy and desirable dose of extra practicality.
In later cars, from 2019 onwards, the engines gained mild hybrid technology, or MHT. The range eventually settled on the 520i MHT, the 540i xDrive MHT, 530e hybrid xDrive, 520d xDrive MHT and the 530d xDrive MHT.
Equipment levels compared with BMWs of old are actually very generous, and you'd never call the standard SE version 'entry-level'. Every 5 Series has 17in alloy wheels, leather trim, cruise control, LED headlights, front and rear parking sensors, dual-zone climate, and a 10.2in infotainment system with DAB radio and sat-nav. M Sport has bigger 18in alloys, firmer suspension and sportier exterior and interior touches.
While the 5 Series Touring shares the same rear-wheel-drive chassis as the 5 Series saloon, its additional weight means it isn’t as sharp to drive. The steering is surprisingly vague off-centre, and the car doesn’t find as much front-end grip as some of its rivals. However, if you’re after comfort, the 5 Series excels. In examples fitted with adaptive dampers, the ride is particularly good at isolating you from the very worst expansion joints and road scars. The interior is also supremely well isolated from wind and road noise, and the engine’s hum fades away into the background at speed.
If you’re buying an estate you'll want to know how much stuff you can carry, and the 5 Series Touring has one of the biggest boots in its class. The standard 40/20/40 split-folding rear seats and absence of a loading lip mean even oddly shaped items are a doddle to fit. The luggage area is nice and wide, so a buggy should go in there sideways.