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Used BMW 5 Series Saloon 2017-present review

Category: Luxury car

Section:

What is it like?

BMW 5 Series cornering front three quarters
  • BMW 5 Series cornering front three quarters
  • BMW 5 Series Saloon 2019 dashboard RHD
  • BMW 5 Series Saloon 2019 front seats RHD
  • BMW 5 Series boot
  • BMW 5 Series back seats
  • BMW 5 Series driving
  • BMW 5 Series infotainment
  • BMW 5 Series Saloon 2019 rear left tracking RHD
  • BMW 5 Series cornering front three quarters
  • BMW 5 Series Saloon 2019 dashboard RHD
  • BMW 5 Series Saloon 2019 front seats RHD
  • BMW 5 Series boot
  • BMW 5 Series back seats
  • BMW 5 Series driving
  • BMW 5 Series infotainment
  • BMW 5 Series Saloon 2019 rear left tracking RHD
Used BMW 5 Series Saloon 2017-present review
Star rating

What's the used BMW 5 Series saloon like?

The BMW 5 Series has long been the answer to the question “What’s the most capable luxury car around?” for almost every budget. Indeed, this generation of the model was so good that it beat the more affordable competition to become the What Car? Car of the Year when it was launched in 2017.

You’d be right to have high expectations of a used 5 Series, then. So, should you buy one? Well, first you’ll have to work out which version you want – and there are quite a few.

The rest of the model range gives you two equipment options: SE, which comes laden with goodies including heated leather seats, dual-zone climate control and LED headlights, and M Sport, which offers all of the above, plus sportier body styling and larger wheels. You can also get Efficient Dynamics versions of the SE, which bring a suite of efficiency tweaks to the 520d model to make it even more economical.

M Sport versions are the more popular but also the more expensive; if you can root one out, the SE is the nicer car to own because its softer suspension and smaller alloy wheels give a smoother ride. That said, if you can find one, a 5 Series equipped with the optional adaptive suspension (Variable Damper Control or VDC in BMW parlance) will offer the smoothest ride of all, although even here you need to watch the wheel size – larger wheel rims result in a niggling shimmy over rougher road surfaces.

Either way, you’ll find the 5 Series an incredibly pleasing car to drive. The 520d is punchy enough for most people; its claimed 0-62mph is just 7.3sec, which is plenty for whisking you up to motorway speeds without any fuss. The four-cylinder 520i and 530i petrols are the least recommendable because they need revving hard to achieve their best. If you want to avoid diesel and desire efficiency, we'd strongly recommend the plug-in hybrid 530e. It's a terrific car and a great used buy. 

Out on the open road, the 5 Series isn’t quite as involving to drive as the Jaguar XF, but its precise steering, well-controlled body lean and beautiful balance make it very satisfying indeed to hustle along a back road. And on the motorway, even the diesel engines settle to a refined background hum, while wind and road noise are equally well suppressed.

Our favourite luxury saloon was treated to a comprehensive facelift in the latter half of 2020 that gave it LED headlights as standard (with the option of adaptive LED headlights that can shape their beam to avoid blinding other road users when full beam is in use), a larger, more imposing grille, a more aggressive body kit and a smattering of extra standard equipment throughout the range.

If you're interested in finding a used 5 Series, or any of the other cars mentioned here, head over to the Used Car Buying pages to find lots of cars listed for sale at a great price.

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BMW 5 Series Saloon 2019 dashboard RHD