Costs & verdict
Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is
Costs, insurance groups, MPG and CO2
Broadly speaking, the BMW 5 Series is priced a little lower than its closest German rivals, the Audi A6 and Mercedes E-Class. The 520d (a mild-hybrid 2.0-litre diesel) is by far the most popular version and emits as little as 126g/km of CO2, according to official figures. That's quite a bit better than the A6 40 TDI or E220d, if you have an eye on your company car tax rate.
That said, the 530e is the best for company car users, with CO2 emissions from just 31g/km. However, when the battery pack is depleted and you're running on the petrol engine alone, you're likely to see lower fuel economy than you would in a diesel.
SE also comes with the infotainment system, LED headlights and tail-lights, and front and rear parking sensors we mentioned earlier. The only option you absolutely must tick the box for is the split-folding rear seats.
M Sport trim, which is extremely popular, is the one we’d go for. It comes with 19in wheels (18in on the 530e), an M styling pack, black rather than chrome exterior trim, sport seats, an M sports steering wheel, a black headlining and an instrument panel wrapped in faux leather (or, as BMW puts it, ‘synthetic leather’). If you choose M Sport, just make sure you also tick the box for the optional M Sport Pro Pack. Among a plethora of other goodies, it introduces adaptive suspension (on all models except the ‘entry-level’ 520d and 520i) and gives the 5 Series a plusher ride.