the bmw 5 series has always offered more spaceand luxury than the cheaper 3 series, despite only being a few thousands pounds more expensive. this latest model promises to move those carsfurther apart than ever before. under the skin it’s closely related to bmw’sflagship 7 series limousine model and shares much of the same technology. does that mean, then, that the 5 series isa bargain? or have corners been cut? that’s what we’ll find out in this review. if your budget can stretch the powerful 530dwe can see why you’d be tempted.
in truth, though, the entry level 520d willsuit most people. it’s cheaper to run as a company car and it’sstill strong and quiet. the 5 series is also surprisingly fun to drivefor a big saloon, feeling agile and precise. you can go for the optional active steering,but it is by no means essential. on the other hand we would strongly recommendthat you tick the box for the optional variable damper control, which lets you adjust thefirmness of the suspension. it turns a car which can shimmy around a bitat low speed into one that rides even the bumpiest of roads brilliantly. the car’s super smooth eight-speed automaticgearbox and uncanny ability to shut out wind
and road noise just completes the great drivingexperience. it’s disappointing that you have to pay extrafor adjustable lumbar support, even on the most expensive trims. that said, the seats are very supportive andoffer plenty of adjustment. the dashboard is logically laid out, too,and there’s no danger of you feeling short changed when you step into your 5 series,because the fit and finish shames some cars costing twice as much. visibility at junctions is excellent thanksto slim windscreen pillars, and although it’s difficult to judge the extremities of the5 series, you get front and rear parking sensors
as standard. every 5 series comes with this whopping 10.2intouchscreen infotainment system and it gives you access to sat-nav, dab radio and variousonline services. on the move it’s really easy to control usingthis rotary dial, and when you stop you can slide it across very much like you would youripad. so let’s see how easy it is to use. so let’s start with connect new device, makesure that bluetooth is switched on, which it is, and there it is, pair, ok, checkingpasskey…allow…it’s as easy as that. being 5ft 4 1/2 i’m lucky enough to fit inthe back of most cars.
with this one, though, you could fit in acouple of 6 footers. the middle seat, though, is not particularlycomfortable and there’s nowhere really to put your feet, and it’s disappointing thatyou have to pay extra for split-folding rear seats. but, the boot has plenty of space for yoursuitcases or golf clubs, and is a decent size for its class. plus in the front of the cabin there are plentyof storage spaces and cubby holes to store your everyday clutter. the bmw 5 series is priced in line with itsclosest rivals, the mercedes e-class and jaguar
xf. it returns over 40mpg in real-life tests andthere’s no real need to look beyond the se trim level, because that gets you heated leatherseats, dual-zone climate control and satellite navigation. so the bmw 5 series is a classy, wonderfullyrefined luxury saloon, with surprisingly low running costs and lots of standard equipment,it more than lives up to its promise. for more on the bmw 5 series, including ourfull online review, head to whatcar.com, but don’t forget to subscribe to our youtube channelto keep up to date with all of our latest videos.