BMW 5 Series Touring (2017-2020) review
The 5 Series Touring comes with a futuristic cabin and boatloads of high-tech features but its conservative styling means it isn’t as distinctive as the Mercedes E-Class Estate
What's not so good
BMW 5 Series Touring (2017-2020): what would you like to read next?
The BMW 5 Series Touring is a smart estate car that’s more fun to drive than a Mercedes E-Class Estate and has a more stylish interior than an Audi A6 Avant. It’s also available as a four-door saloon model which is reviewed separately.
The Touring’s cabin looks just as slick as its exterior – you get lashings of soft plastics, glossy trims and sturdy switches. It’s not quite as eye-catching as an E-Class Estate’s swoopy interior but it feels more solid.
You get BMW’s excellent iDrive infotainment system with satellite navigation as standard. It comes with a second digital driver’s display – just like Audi’s Virtual Cockpit – instead of conventional analogue dials.
Avoid the optional voice and gesture control features and it’s more intuitive to use than the systems in an A6 Avant or E-Class Estate. Its menus are logically laid out and the bright screens are easy to read on the move.
You’ll have no trouble getting comfy, even if you’re very tall. There’s plenty of headroom in the front and loads of seat adjustment as standard. Annoyingly, lumbar support – to help reduce backache on long journeys – is a £225 extra on all models.
The back seats are almost as roomy as those in the front. There’s even more headroom than in the saloon and there’s more shoulder room for three to sit abreast than in an E-Class Estate or A6 Avant. Unfortunately, the hard middle seat makes it tricky for your middle passenger to get comfortable and the huge lump in the floor leaves very little room for their feet.
Finding room for your luggage is a much easier task. There’s more than enough space in the Touring’s 570-litre boot for some large suitcases and soft bags, and there’s room under the floor to store the load cover. You can flip the rear windscreen up separately to throw in a few small bags, too.
Need to carry long luggage and some passengers? The back seats fold in handy three-way (40:20:40) split as standard. You can flip all three down using buttons in the boot to open up a completely flat 1,700-litre load bay. The flat boot lip and wide opening make it easy to load but it’s not quite as practical as the cavernous E-Class Estate’s 1,820-litre load bay.
The BMW 5 Series Touring has long been the go-to model for drivers wanting a sporty car that’s also practical, and this new car brings loads of clever tricks to the large estate party
You can get the 5 Series Touring with two petrol and three diesel engines. The quiet 530i petrol will be best suited to pottering around town and it returns around 40mpg – compared to BMW’s claimed 46.3mpg. Pick a 520d diesel if you do lots of motorway miles. It’s a little noisier than the petrol but it’s cheaper to buy and returns approximately 45mpg in real-world conditions.
All Touring models come with rear air suspension as standard to help them deal with massive potholes – even with lots of luggage on board. As a result, they’re not as sporty as the 5 Series saloon nor as comfortable as the E-Class Estate. The optional £985 adaptive suspension helps close this gap, however.
The standard 5 Series received a five-star safety rating from Euro NCAP – expect the Touring model to offer near identical crash protection.
The 5 Series Touring is well worth considering if you’re looking for a stylish estate that’s spacious and absolutely packed with high-tech kit. If you want to see what sort of saving you can expect on the 5 Series, click through to our deals page.
In terms of comfort and space, there’s not much to fault in the 5 Series. However, we wish that adjustable lumbar support – which helps to ward off backache on long journeys – was a standard feature
Yes, the Mercedes E-Class has a bigger boot, but this Beemer will be big enough for most people in everyday use
There’s loads of adjustment to help you get comfy in the driver’s seat – even if you’re six-feet tall. Unfortunately, adjustable lumbar support – to help reduce back ache on long journeys – is a £225 option on all Touring models but you can get upgraded comfort seats with extra bolstering for £1,705.
The back seats are almost as spacious as those in front. There’s loads of leg room and the Touring’s flatter roof means there’s a touch more headroom than you’ll get in the saloon. You can get an optional panoramic glass roof to make the back seats feel even more airy but it’ll set you back a considerable £1,295.
The 5 Series Touring is better for carrying three in the back than an E-Class Estate but the rather hard central seat and large lump in the floor will make long journeys fairly uncomfortable for tall passengers in the middle.
Fitting a child seat is a breeze thanks to the 5 Series wide door openings and clearly marked Isofix anchor points. There aren’t any annoying removable covers to worry about and there’s plenty of space to lift in a bulky rear-facing seat, too.
You can even get soft-close doors that’ll make it nearly impossible to slam the doors shut – just like expensive kitchen drawers. They’ll even silently shut themselves if you don’t quite give them a hard enough shove.
You’ll find loads of handy cubby holes in the 5 Series Touring’s cabin. All four door bins are large enough to hold a large water bottle and you can squeeze a second smaller bottle in the front doors, too.
The glovebox is big enough to hold a large bottle and you get a storage bin under the front armrest for storing a few valuables out of sight. The cupholders are reasonably generous and you can get a slot under the dashboard that’ll wirelessly charge your smartphone for an extra £475.
The folding rear armrests come with two fold-out cupholders as standard but they’ll struggle to hold anything larger than a soft drinks can. There’s also a small storage tray between the front seats and a pair of aeroplane-style folding seat pockets instead of the usual netted fabric items.
The 5 Series Touring can carry 570-litres of luggage in the boot with all five seats in place. That’s 40 more than the 5 Series saloon but less than the 640 litres in a Mercedes E-Class Estate. It’s still big enough to easily carry a baby stroller or a few large suitcases and some soft bags, however.
The BMW’s low boot lip and wide opening make it easy to load heavy or bulky items and you can flip the rear windscreen up to quickly chuck in a few small items without opening the boot. There’s also a removable netted divider behind the back seats (handy if you have a few boisterous dogs) that’ll slot neatly under the boot floor.
You get three-way (40:20:40) split rear seats as standard so you can carry two passengers in the back and some long luggage in the boot at once. All the seats down electrically using the switches in the boot to open up a completely flat 1,700-litre load bay. It’s smaller than the 1,820-litre boot in the E-Class Estate but bigger than both the 1,680-litre A6 Avant and 1,526-litre Volvo V90. There’s more than enough room to carry a bike with its wheels attached and you get a few handy tether hooks to hold your luggage securely in place.
The 5 Series Touring comes with the same range of silky-smooth engines as the saloon but you’ll have to hand over extra cash for a peachy six-cylinder model
The 5 Series Touring’s one of the smoothest and most relaxing estates on the market but this newfound maturity means it’s lost some of the old car’s fun factor
You can get the 5 Series Touring with three diesel and two petrol engines. All versions come with a smooth eight-speed automatic gearbox as standard and xDrive models get four-wheel drive for extra grip in slippery conditions.
If you spend most time around town pick a 530i petrol model. Its 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine is quieter and smoother than the 2.0-litre diesels and it returns around 40mpg compared to BMW’s claimed 46.3mpg.
The diesel-powered 520d versions are slightly cheaper to buy and will be a better bet if you spend lots of time on the motorway. They’re not quite as powerful as the 2.0-litre diesel E-Class Estate but they’re reasonably quiet at speed and return around 45mpg in the real world. Pick an xDrive model with four-wheel drive and you’ll lose out by around 5mpg, however.
BMW’s six-cylinder models are well worth considering if you can stomach the extra cost. Both the 530d diesel and 540i petrol are smoother and more powerful than their four-cylinder counterparts, yet return similar fuel economy. The 540i model is seriously fast, too – it’ll accelerate from 0-62mph in a shade over five seconds.
Some BMW purists might be disappointed to hear you can’t get a manual gearbox in any 5 Series Touring model. The standard eight-speed automatic is excellent, however, and responds almost instantly to the steering-wheel-mounted paddles – unlike the slightly sluggish ‘box in a Volvo V90.
The 5 Series Touring’s a piece of cake to drive – despite its large size. It’s easier to see out of than the saloon – thanks to its larger back windows and taller rear windscreen – but the pillar where the front doors meet the windscreen produces a large blindspot at junctions.
You get front and rear parking sensors as standard so it’s not too tricky to manoeuvre into a tight space. A reversing camera and a self-parking system (that’ll steer for you into bay and parallel spaces) costs a fairly reasonable £695.
Even better, however, is the 3D surround view system. It costs £1,095 but it displays a rendered image of your car in its surroundings that you can spin round – just like in a video game. It sounds expensive but it makes it a breeze to slot your large estate into tight parking spaces.
The optional £235 Smart Key comes with a feature that’ll let you remotely drive the car forwards and backwards over short distances – just like a giant radio-controlled toy. It’s especially handy if someone’s parked a little too close for you to climb in easily.
Unlike the saloon, all Touring models come with rear air suspension as standard. This helps them stay level (even with a boot full of heavy luggage) and means they’re ever so slightly more comfortable over rutted roads. It does blunt the saloon’s sharp handling slightly, however.
M Sport models come with lowered suspension and large alloy wheels which can highlight bumps in the road. They aren’t as wafty as an E-Class Estate but the £985 adaptive suspension option helps make them nearly as comfortable and much sportier.
You’ll hear barely any wind noise or tyre roar at motorway speeds and you get cruise control as standard on all models to help make long journeys as relaxing as possible.
The standard 5 Series saloon received an impressive five-star safety rating from Euro NCAP in the strict 2017 tests. Expect the Touring estate to offer near-identical crash protection. For a little extra peace of mind you can get a the £2,250 Driver Assistance plus pack. It comes with adaptive cruise control that’ll steer for you on motorways – providing you keep your hands on the wheel.
You won’t find any cheap materials in the 5 Series Touring’s roomy cabin but its simple design isn’t quite as stylish as the E-Class Estate’s interior