New Skoda Superb Estate vs used BMW 5 Series Touring: which is best?
Big estate cars come in all flavours, but is an award-winning new Skoda Superb estate a better buy than a premium alternative like a used BMW 5 Series Touring?...
New Skoda Superb Estate vs used BMW 5 Series Touring – driving
Neither car is going to feel particularly sporty to drive, since their main design remit was to be comfortable, safe and easy to operate - even when carrying a heavy load in the boot. The BMW is by far the better of the two, thanks to sophisticated suspension and a rear-wheel-drive chassis.
The Superb is very comfortable for the most part, particularly if you stick with the smaller wheels (avoid anything larger than 18in). You will have to put up with a bit of float at motorway speeds, along with some wind noise around the windscreen area and door mirrors. Road noise is well quelled, but you get some thump from the suspension when it hits a bump. As with all regular Skoda models, the steering is precise but light, making it easy to park.
If you want the ultimate mile-muncher, go for the 5 Series. It’s another level higher in terms of refinement, particularly on models that have the standard 17in alloy wheels. Wind and road noise are well suppressed and engine noise will disappear into the background once you get moving. The eight-speed automatic gearbox shifts seamlessly between gears, while the dual-clutch automatic unit in the Superb can be jerky in low-speed traffic and when joining roundabouts.
The only black mark against the BMW is the steering, which isn’t as crisp as that of the Skoda. It’s accurate enough, but you’d expect it to be better than it is given the front wheels in the BMW aren’t bothered by power from the engine.
Speaking of engines, the 148bhp 2.0-litre diesel in the Skoda is a refined unit with plenty of torque to help get it down the road in a non-taxing fashion. However, its numbers are dwarfed by the 188bhp provided by the 2.0-litre diesel in the BMW. You only have to look at the 1.5sec difference between the two in the 0-62mph sprint to get a flavour of what we’re on about. There isn’t a situation that troubles the BMW, and even the odd overtake is possible, thanks to its extra reserves of power.
New Skoda Superb Estate vs used BMW 5 Series Touring – costs
According to What Car?s Target Price researchers, you can expect to pay £26,468 for a Superb Estate with the 148bhp 2.0 TDI diesel engine in well-appointed SE L guise, and if you use our New Car Buying service, you could get even more off that. What’s more, with a combined fuel economy figure of 52.3mpg under the new WLTP test cycle, it should be inexpensive to run day-to-day.
When the 5 Series Touring was new, a 520d SE was a not inconsiderable £39,980. However, about six months later and with 10,000 miles under its belt, you can get that same car for a mere £25,000. That’s a seriously tempting saving, especially when it just skirts under the £40,000 threshold for the luxury car tax, so you have to pay only £140 per year in road tax. Combined fuel economy appears to be better, at 61.4mpg, but that figure was found under the very unrealistic old NEDC cycle. Experience tells us that high 40s to 50mpg is what you should expect in reality.
Skoda servicing costs are actually very reasonable, even though you can take advantage of cheaper fixed price servicing until your Superb is more than three years old. The same is true for the BMW, although its servicing costs are a bit pricier on the whole.
Overall reliability seems to swing in favour of the Superb, because Skoda as a brand finished within the top 10 in 7th place, whereas BMW ended up in a disappointingly average 16th out of 31 manufacturers. The Skoda will also come with a three-year/60,000-mile warranty. The BMW, on the other hand, will have only two years left of its manufacturer’s warranty, but then there’s no mileage limit to worry about.
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