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 is roomier than its key rivals, the Audi A6 and Mercedes E-Class, so you’re unlikely to have any issues with head room. And because the front seats slide back a long way, leg room won’t be a problem, either.
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 gearlever with USB ports that’ll take most wallets, keys or a mobile phone, along with two cup holders in front of it. Both door pockets will accommodate a small water bottle, but that’s about it.
There’s enough room for tall adults, but carrying a third in the back isn’t a comfortable experience on long journeys; shoulder room is tight and whoever's sitting in the middle has to straddle a raised central tunnel. There’s actually more leg room in the rival Jaguar XF and Mercedes E-Class, although the margins are small, but by a whisker, the 5 Series beats them for head room.
Access to the rear seats is good, because the doors swing open wide and the aperture is usefully tall. However, the 5 Series isn’t that much more accommodating in the back than the smaller 3 Series, although it does have more comfortable rear seats.
BMW 5 Series 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. You have to pay extra to make them split 40/20/40 and fold down, although at least they lie almost flat when folded.
BMW 5 Series boot space
The 5 Series has a 530-litre boot, which is officially smaller than that of a Mercedes E-Class, although only fractionally. There’s more than enough room for a couple of large suitcases and some smaller bags, but rather than being a simple, square shape, the load bay is full of various contours that can be restrictive when trying to load a large bulky object. There is quite a step down from the boot lip to the boot floor as well.
Like all saloons, the boot opening is far smaller than a hatchback or an estate's, which can make loading tricky, although access to the boot is better than in the rival E-Class. An electric bootlid is on the options list if you can’t be bother with the hassle of raising and lowering it yourself.
Unsurprisingly, bootspace in the 530e iPerformance saloon is reduced from the standard car’s 530 litres to 410 due to a battery pack located under the rear seats.