Space & practicality

BMW 5 Series review

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BMW 5 Series
Review continues below...
11 Jan 2017 22:40 | Last updated: 8 Oct 2018 11:26

In this review

Space & practicality

How it copes with people and clutter

BMW 5 Series saloon front space

Cars at the lower end of the luxury class need to put on a good show when it comes to front space, since this is where the majority of owners will spend most of their time. The 5 Series offers a bit more leg room than the Audi A6 and is roughly on par with the E-Class.

There's plenty of head room in the 5 Series, too, and while adding a panoramic roof lowers the roofline, six-footers will still be fine. The 5 Series is the widest in the front among its obvious rivals, but in truth, whichever of these cars you choose, they're not small. The E-Class's interior design makes it feel more 'fitted' and less airy than the 5 Series and A6, but which you like better will come down to personal preference.

Getting in is also comparatively easy, thanks to doors that open wide. The glovebox is a good size and there’s a lidded cubby behind the gear selector with USB ports that’ll take most wallets, keys or a mobile phone, along with two cupholders in front of it. Both door pockets will accommodate a small water bottle.

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BMW 5 Series saloon rear space

There’s enough room for two tall adults in the back, and while there's a tad more leg room in the rival Audi A6, the 5 Series has a noticeable amount more leg and head room than the E-Class. A third passenger won't have quite as comfortable an experience on longer journeys; shoulder room is tight, plus whoever's sitting in the middle has to straddle a raised central tunnel and, if they're above average height, duck to avoid the overhead lighting console.

Access to the rear seats is good, because the doors swing open wide and the aperture is tall. There's also useful storage, in the shape of cupholders, door pockets and map pockets. 

BMW 5 Series

BMW 5 Series saloon seating flexibility

Just like the driver’s seat, the front passenger seat has electrical base height and backrest angle adjustment as standard, making it easy for your passenger to fine-tune his or her perfect position. It’s disappointing that electrically adjustable lumbar support costs extra, though – even on the more expensive trims.

It’s also disappointing that the rear seats are fixed as standard. Unlike in the Audi A6, you have to pay extra to make them split 40/20/40 and fold down, although with this feature added they do lie usefully flat. 

BMW 5 Series saloon boot space

The 5 Series has a 530-litre boot, which officially is quite a bit smaller than that of the Audi A6. And while on paper that's not a lot less than the Mercedes E-Class's boot, the E-Class has a big underfloor storage area that you can call upon as well. The 5 Series' boot is also an odd shape, with various of ridges, and the upshot is that it can't match the load-lugging abilities of its rivals; we managed to fit a respectable eight carry-on suitcases on board, while the A6 and E-Class both took nine.  

As with all saloons, the boot opening is far smaller than a hatchback’s or an estate's, and that can make loading tricky, although being deeper than the E-Class’s, it’s potentially more accommodating for really bulky items. An electric bootlid is on the options list if you'd prefer not to raise or lower it yourself.

Boot space in the 530e iPerformance saloon is reduced from the standard car’s 530 litres to 410. That’s due to its battery pack being located under the rear seats.

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There are 14 trims available for the 5 Series saloon. Click to see details.See all versions
SE
We are yet to try out this variant...View trim
Fuel Diesel
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£33,099
Average Saving £3,176
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SE
This entry-level trim comes with all the essentials and quite a lot more on top. You get heated leather seats, a 10.2in sat-nav, dual-zone climate control, LED headlights, front and rear parking se...View trim
Fuel Petrol
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£33,536
Average Saving £3,219
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SE
This entry-level trim comes with all the essentials and quite a lot more on top. You get heated leather seats, a 10.2in sat-nav, dual-zone climate control, LED headlights, front and rear parking se...View trim
Fuel Diesel
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£34,464
Average Saving £3,311
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M Sport
We are yet to try out this variant...View trim
Fuel Diesel
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£35,829
Average Saving £3,446
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M Sport
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, too – i...View trim
Fuel Petrol
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£36,266
Average Saving £3,489
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M Sport
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, too – i...View trim
Fuel Diesel
What Car? Target Price from
£37,194
Average Saving £3,581
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SE
This entry-level trim comes with all the essentials and quite a lot more on top. You get heated leather seats, a 10.2in sat-nav, dual-zone climate control, LED headlights, front and rear parking se...View trim
Fuel Petrol/Plug-In Elec Hybrid, Petrol
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£38,218
Average Saving £3,682
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SE
This entry-level trim comes with all the essentials and quite a lot more on top. You get heated leather seats, a 10.2in sat-nav, dual-zone climate control, LED headlights, front and rear parking se...View trim
Fuel Diesel
What Car? Target Price from
£38,882
Average Saving £3,748
View Trim
M Sport
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, too – i...View trim
Fuel Petrol/Plug-In Elec Hybrid, Petrol
What Car? Target Price from
£41,221
Average Saving £3,979
View Trim
SE
This entry-level trim comes with all the essentials and quite a lot more on top. You get heated leather seats, a 10.2in sat-nav, dual-zone climate control, LED headlights, front and rear parking se...View trim
Fuel Diesel
What Car? Target Price from
£42,154
Average Saving £4,041
View Trim
M Sport
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, too – i...View trim
Fuel Diesel
What Car? Target Price from
£42,195
Average Saving £4,045
View Trim
SE
This entry-level trim comes with all the essentials and quite a lot more on top. You get heated leather seats, a 10.2in sat-nav, dual-zone climate control, LED headlights, front and rear parking se...View trim
Fuel Petrol
What Car? Target Price from
£44,940
Average Saving £4,285
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M Sport
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, too – i...View trim
Fuel Diesel
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£45,157
Average Saving £4,338
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M Sport
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, too – i...View trim
Fuel Petrol
What Car? Target Price from
£47,943
Average Saving £4,582
View Trim