£33,315 - £51,270 Price range
36 - 62 MPG
The BMW 5 Series Touring is a mid-size premium estate car that is fun to drive and comes with some very good engines. It’s closest rivals are the equally impressive Jaguar XF Shooting Brake, Audi A6 Avant and the Mercedes E-Class Estate.
Out of all of the premium estate cars the 5 Series Touring has the most driver focused interior. The slightly-tilted towards the driver dashboard is made from very high quality materials and is easy to navigate. The iDrive infotainment comes with a touchpad to ease navigation through the menus.
The passenger space is more than in the old model and the huge range of seat and steering wheel adjustments means anyone can find a comfortable position in the 5 Series Touring. With 560-litres of space the boot is big, but not a match for the E-Class Estate.
The biggest selling point of the 5 Series Touring is the way it drives – the feeling of ability it instills in the driver is yet to be matched by rivals.
From the many engines available for the 5 Series Touring the diesels are the ones to go for. The petrols are by no means bad engines, but the diesels have similar performance and much lower running costs. The pick of the range is the 520d, but we won’t mind if you get the 535d with its seemingly endless pulling power and equally impressive fuel economy.
Equipment levels are similar to those of rivals with phone connectivity and leather upholstery part of the standard equipment. There is a huge options list, but spending too much time there can make the 5 Series very expensive.
Cheapest to buy: 2.0-litre 518d SE diesel
Cheapest to run: 2.0-litre 520d SE diesel
Fastest model: 3.0-litre 535d M Sport diesel
Most popular: 2.0-litre 520d M Sport auto diesel
The dashboard is clear and functional, as with all 5-Series models. The reviews say the iDrive controller takes some getting used to but it’s certainly better than a touch screen set-up. It removes the need for a large percentage of the buttons that would otherwise be scattered across the dash, so it helps the 5 Series keep a clean, minimalist look.
BMW 5 Series Touring passenger space
The reviewers say the Touring has plenty of room for occupants front and rear, though middle seat passengers in the back have a transmission tunnel robbing them of some leg room. Have a look at our dimensions guide to see exactly how spacious the 5 Series Touring is.
BMW 5 Series Touring boot space
While a boot volume of 560 litres isn’t quite class leading, it’ll be more than enough for most. It is roughly the same size as the Audi A6 Avant, but smaller than the Mercedes E-Class Estate with its 695 litres of capacity. The wide opening of the hatch makes loading large items a doddle, too. The rear seats can easily fold down to reveal a flat, square 1,670 litre load bay.
The 5-Series Touring’s engaging dynamics make it fun to drive, and it offers an excellent compromise between sportiness and comfort. The experts say it rides well, flowing down back roads or long smooth motorways with comfortable ease. Several testers note that the £985 optional variable damper control is a must-have option, as without it the ride quality “isn’t as good as it should be,” yet with it the car becomes “a cut above”.
Optional four-wheel steering is also available, which increases agility at low speeds, and helps with stability when cruising. It doesn’t transform the driving experience, but it is worth going for if you can afford to.
Overall, critics say that the 5-Series Touring is a brilliantly refined and competent car to drive, and once fitted with the adaptive dampers, there isn’t another car in this class that can match it.
There are eight engines available in the Touring; five diesels and three petrols. Whichever you choose, you can’t really go wrong. The petrols are smooth and powerful, while the diesels almost match them for refinement, but are even more frugal.
At the bottom end of the range is the 518d, a two-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel producing 141hp. It’s nice enough, but if you can stretch for the 520d, we’d certainly recommend it. A 181hp version of the same unit, the 520d accelerates to 60mph from a standstill in 8.1 seconds, yet still offers a faintly astonishing 57.6mpg. This mix of efficiency and speed makes the 520d the pick of the range for most testers.
If you hanker after a little more power, then BMW will see to it that you aren’t disappointed. As well as the four cylinder 525d, there are two inline-six diesels in the form of the 530d and 535d. These twin-turbo units produce 241 and 313hp respectively, along with huge reserves of torque. Although the 535d can hit 60mph in just 5.7 seconds, it’ll still manage 46.3mpg. These two engines suit the Touring perfectly, offering smooth, refined performance, even if they do sacrifice a little economy compared to the smaller diesels.
BMW 5 Series petrol engines
The petrol models are hardly lemons either. The 528i has a four-cylinder twin-turbocharged motor. Despite producing a healthy 238hp, it still returns a claimed 43.5mpg, and is “impressively brisk and civilised with it”.
The reviewers preferred the optional eight-speed automatic gearbox over the standard manual. Although the regular three-pedal arrangement offers a pleasing shift in its own right, the auto is “superb”, offering gear changes that are “baby bottom smooth”, apparently.
The entry level diesel engine is both frugal and efficient. It will happily cruise the motorway and return a bank balance friendly 53.3mpg. The 182bhp four cylinder motor offers milder performance than its bigger engined sibling, the 530d, but is more economical and environmentally friendly than its rivals.
You can choose between the standard six-speed manual and an eight-speed automatic gearbox. Manual equipped cars are mildly more frugal than autos because they are teamed together with a stop/start system. The experts prefer the optional auto because its taller top gear provides more refined motorway cruising. The reviewers like the 520d and say it’s expected to be the biggest seller.
The 530d offers a lot more performance than the entry level 520d. The experts say the 3.0-litre straight six diesel suits the plush estate perfectly and BMW claim it will deliver a 6.2 second 0-62 time. If a nice balance of performance and economy is what you’re after, then the 530d is a great choice.
Fitted with BMWs EfficientDynamics technology, the engine promises combined fuel consumption of 45.6mpg and CO2 emissions of 160g/km, these figures aren’t as impressive as the 520d but the six cylinder motor is far more refined and capable. The critics like the optional (£1495) eight-speed automatic gearbox and say it’s a great motorway cruising companion.
The Touring, like the saloon, was awarded a five-star crash test rating by Euro NCAP. Safety features include a minimum of six airbags, anti-whiplash head restraints, and a range of traction and stability control systems.
There are other clever features too, like adaptive cruise control and an optional night vision system to help spot hazards in the dark.
The Touring is competitively priced, well-built and refined. In most reviewers’ opinion, unless you need the extra luggage space the equivalent Mercedes E Class offers, is the best large estate in its category. Critics say the optional £1,495 eight-speed auto gearbox is well worth the extra money.
BMW 5 Series Touring M Sport
Even though the basic models are nicely equipped, most buyer go for the M Sport trim level. It gives the car a more aggressive look thanks to a different bodykit and 18-inch alloy wheels. The driver’s car trend continues inside with a sporty steering wheel, body-hugging seats as well as aluminium trim pieces. You can even go one step further and order the M Sport Plus – it adds huge 19-inch wheels and a Harmon Kardon sound system with many speakers.
The ultra-efficient engines are what move the 5 Series ahead of its rivals in the value stakes, though. The 520d’s average fuel consumption is class-leading and throughout the range, diesel and petrol models alike offer superior figures to the likes of the Audi A6 Avant and Mercedes E-Class Estate.
Have a look at our colour guide for help on choosing the right shade for your new 5 Series Touring.
The 5 Series Touring has a number of very strong rivals, but most testers agree that it has them covered. Although the Volvo V70 and Mercedes E-Class offer marginally bigger boots, neither of them can match the driving dynamics and fuel efficiency that the BMW offers. The Audi A6 Avant isn’t as fun to drive either, nor is it as practical or refined.
The overwhelming consensus is that the 5 Series Touring is a very easy car to recommend. If you are in the market for a well-built, roomy and competitively priced estate then there isn’t a more accomplished option out there.