Broadly speaking, the BMW 5 Series is priced in line with its closest rivals, the Jaguar XF and Mercedes-Benz E-Class. The 520d (2.0-litre diesel) is by far the most popular version and emits from just 108g/km of CO2, making it a great value company car. Mind you, the rival Mercedes E220d is even more efficient, so if you’re chasing the best emissions you can pay for a slightly pricier 520d Efficient Dynamics version that will match it.
As long as you steer clear of the petrols, fuel economy should be good, too. Every diesel engine is impressively frugal, but again it’s the 520d that really stands out. Officially, it can manage 68.8mpg (72.4mpg for 520d Efficient Dynamics), although on our real-world True MPG fuel economy test it managed 43.5mpg. That may sound unimpressive compared with its official figure, but it’s better than the E220d managed.
On paper, the 530e iPerformance is the most frugal of the lot, with BMW claiming that the car can achieve 141.2mpg and 46g/km of CO2. However, once the battery is depleted, expect the fuel economy figure to drop significantly.
The desirability of the BMW badge helps keep other costs down, too. Resale values are reasonable, so private buyers will get back a decent chunk of what they paid for the car when they sell it, and leasing rates are competitive. Discounts are available if you're prepared to haggle, too.
BMW 5 Series equipment
Entry-level SE trim is the one we’d go for, because it’s the cheapest but still comes stacked with equipment. Among the luxuries it gets as standard are heated leather seats, a 10.2in sat-nav, dual-zone climate control, LED headlights, front and rear parking sensors and 17in alloy wheels, so you’re hardly left wanting. The SE Efficient Dynamics trim is the same, just with a more efficient engine.
M Sport trim is extremely popular thanks largely to its more aggressive body styling and bigger alloys, but you also get stiffer suspension that does little for ride comfort. We’d spend it on a few choice extras instead, chief among which are adjustable lumbar support, split-folding rear seats and the Variable Damper Control (VDC) adaptive suspension.
There’s a massive range of luxurious options to choose from, too, including ventilated front seats and rear entertainment screens and even a night vision camera.
BMW 5 Series reliability
Although we don’t have specific data for the current 5 Series, in our latest reliability survey BMW finished mid-table in our list of 32 manufacturers, below Audi but above Mercedes.
Thankfully, all 5 Series come with a three-year, unlimited-mileage warranty, which is similar to the cover provided by most rivals.
BMW 5 Series safety & security
All models come with a minimum of six airbags and a host of electronic driver aids, including stability control. Automatic emergency braking, with pedestrian detection, is also standard, to reduce the chances of you accidently running into the car in front.
Optional safety kit includes lane-departure warning, automatic high-beam assist for the headlights, a driver fatigue detector and speed limit recognition. We’d recommend considering the Driving Assistant option, which bundles together all of the key active safety aids for a very reasonable price.
The 5 Series scored the full five-star Euro NCAP rating for safety, with a very impressive 91% score for adult protection. All of its main rivals also scored five stars.
An alarm, engine immobiliser, deadlocks (which prevent a door being opened, even if the window is smashed) and locking wheel nuts are fitted to every 5 Series to ward off thieves. Security experts Thatcham awarded the car five out of five for its resistance to being stolen and four out of five for its resistance to being broken into.
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This entry-level trim comes with all the essentials and quite a lot more on top. You get heated leather seats, a 10.2in screen with sat-nav, dual-zone climate control, LED headlights, front and rear parking sensors, automatic lights and wipers and 17in alloy wheels. You only really need to fork out for adjustable lumbar support and split-folding rear seats.
SE Efficient Dynamics
Comes with everything the standard SE has, just with a more efficient 2.0-litre diesel engine.
Hugely popular thanks to its sportier looks – inside and out – and bigger alloy wheels. However, you also get stiffer suspension that does nothing for ride comfort. SE trim is better value – it's where our money would go.