5 Series Touring is as good as you’d expect
BMW’s current-generation 5 Series, launched earlier this year, has lived up to all expectations of excellence, and now it’s entered its latest chapter with the arrival of the Touring estate. With this bodystyle traditionally accounting for one in every three 5 Series models sold in the UK, expectations are high. How does it measure up?
Well, pretty good actually – quite literally, as the newcomer is slightly bigger all round than the model it replaces. This results in a boot that’s 10 litres bigger than before with the seatbacks up, and 40 litres larger than that of the current saloon. Another physical improvement is the increased payload limit, up by 120kg to 730kg. This is due to the new standard-fit self-levelling rear air-suspension and the 100kg kerbweight reduction enabled by using new body materials such as an aluminium tailgate.
BMW 530d Touring
Engine: 3.0-litre, six-cylinder, diesel
Gearbox: Eight-speed automatic
Top speed: 155mph
Economy: 56.4mpg (combined)
CO2 emissions: 134g/km
Claimed economy improvements of up to 11 per cent are a further benefit of the weight-loss plan. The star engines of the range (which initially consists of two petrols and three diesels, all mated to the eight-speed Steptronic auto) are the 188bhp 2.0-litre four-cylinder 520d and the 261bhp 3.0 straight-six 530d (also available as an xDrive for a few thousand pounds more). BMW claims 62.7mpg and 56.4mpg respectively, with a 5.8-second 0-62mph time for the latter. Prices for the entry-level 520d start at £38,385, while the 530d kicks off at £46,235.
The Touring’s handling is not remotely affected by the extra bodywork; in fact, the estate boasts all the saloon’s no-nonsense performance, refinement and comfort, and the enhancements brought about by the air rear end and optional variable dampers mean it could be the best-riding Five yet. Our first drive on German roads showed the car to give a delicious compliance and superb passenger isolation from surface imperfections. The major controls feel great and motorway miles are eaten up in near silence, factors that more than make up for the fact that steering responses could be sharper.
The 3.0-litre straight-six diesel and auto box make up arguably the finest diesel drivetrain on sale, making the 5 Series Touring a contender for the world’s best estate, and even the 520d will deliver as fast, refined and cost effective a drive as you could wish for. The styling transition from saloon to estate is flawless, and load-lugging extras include a powered tailgate, 40/20/40-split rear seats, clever parcel shelf operation and back window tailgate.
Boasting the new Five’s mile-munching luxury and finely judged comfort combined with additional carrying capacity, the brilliant Five Touring is a no-brainer. Which model to go for is a trickier decision. The somewhat more expensive 530d is undoubtedly a benchmark all-rounder, but most of the time most people won’t necessarily need everything it has to offer.
That being the case, the 520d SE is a superb family solution, offering all the usual 5 Series trappings such as 17-inch alloys, LED lights, all-round parking sensors, heated seats, two-zone air-con, cruise control and a 10-inch iDrive touchscreen for a more affordable price. Its superior fuel efficiency and tax benefits are undeniable, too.
Test drive them both – but we think we know which one you’ll go for.