The BMW 5 Series is considered by many to be the class leader in the large executive car market. Testers rave about its impressive range of fast yet efficient engines, and a blend of refinement and driver involvement which is hard to find elsewhere.
It’s a big car though and, if you own a previous generation 5 Series, it’s worth noting that this version is both wider and longer than before. In other words, it’s worth checking out whether or not it’ll fit in the garage. Our useful guide does just that, as well as comparing interior, boot space and weights to some of its closest rivals.
The latest 5 Series is both 61mm longer and 18mm wider than its predecessor. More surprisingly, it’s 300mm longer and 170mm wider than the original 5 Series from 1972!
Interior space is a strong point for the 5 Series, particularly headroom. with over a metre of space between the front seat base and the roof, it beats the E-Class by 66mm. Space in the rear is more evenly matched, the BMW edges the Mercedes by 3mm. It’s the same across the cabin too, with the BMW offering 50mm extra shoulder room. It’s not that you’ll ever feel cramped in an E-Class, but the BMW certainly has the upper hand in terms of accommodation.
|Headroom (front/rear)||1,036mm / 973mm|
|Shoulder room (front/rear)||1,518mm / 1,485mm|
At 520 litres, the 5 Series’ boot isn’t to be sniffed at. Bear in mind, however, the Mercedes E-Class and Jaguar XF (both 540 litres) and Audi A6 (565 litres) are worth considering if a big boot is a must. The Touring estate model offers 560 litres, and benefits from a deep wide opening that makes loading large items easier than in any of its competitors. Rather disappointingly, the facility to fold the rear seats flat in the saloon is only an option.
|Seats up||520 litres / 560 litres|
|Seats down||n/a / 1,670 litres|
Turning circle and fuel tank capacity
Tight manoeuvring is never going to be a strong point of a car measuring just shy of five metres in length, but it should be noted that the E-Class can turn 0.7 metres tighter than the 5 Series which, in theory, should help make it a little easier to park.
A 70-litre fuel tank is pretty standard for the class. Service station phobics will be pleased to discover, if you can match the claimed 67.3mpg of the 520d, a range of 1,030 miles from a single tank of diesel is possible.
|Turning circle||11.95 metres|
|Fuel tank||70 litres (M5 80 litres)|
In order to improve efficiency, it makes sense to save as much weight as possible. BMW has achieved this with some success in recent years, and as a result the 5 Series is among the lightest cars in the class. Although the lightest Mercedes E-Class – the entry level E 200 – is a smidge lighter than the 520i, BMW’s diesel models are as much as 120kg lighter than the equivalent Mercedes versions.
At the heavier end of the 5 series scale, estate variants weigh on average about 120 kilos more than the saloon counterparts, and perhaps understandably, the heaviest of all are the ActiveHybrid and M5: the first weighed down by additional batteries and an electric motor, the second by a 560hp, twin-turbo 4.4-litre V8.
|1,670kg (520i Saloon)||1,945kg (M5 Saloon)|
Find out more
Hopefully you’re now confident whether or not the BMW 5 Series will fit into your life. If you’d like to find out more about what it’s like to drive and live with, then our full, detailed reviews of both the Saloon and Touring are the places to look next. Head over to our deals page to see our latest discounts from the UK’s best dealers.