The well-proportioned BMW 5 Series gets off to a great start with its mix of good looks and impressive practicality. Its superb engines and comfortable ride make the big BMW a top choice whatever the occasion. If you think such a large car can’t be efficient, then think again. The wide range of engines cater for all tastes and budgets; with the frugal 520d EfficientDynamics model returning 62.8mpg in fuel economy and emitting only 119g/km of CO2 – putting it well ahead of the most economical Audi A6 or Mercedes E-Class.
It's by far the best in class to drive, too. Its well-weighted steering and slick gearbox make it just as nimble as the smaller 3 Series, while the optional Adaptive Drive system offers variable driving modes, suspension and steering settings ranging from Eco through to Comfort to Sport+. With prices starting at more than £30,000, the 5 Series isn’t especially cheap to buy. However, all cars get leather, Bluetooth, climate control and cruise control, and should hold their value well when you come to sell. Superb economy and fixed-price servicing should keep running costs down, too.
From the driver's seat, the BMW 5 Series feels just as well built as a Jaguar XF, with large, supportive seats and a well laid out dashboard. High-quality materials and a host of class-leading safety technology means the BMW is a very pleasant place to be. Practicality is remarkable, too. Rear seat space is generous and the boot is huge. Cabin storage is impressive, with plenty of bins and cubbyholes, while head and knee room should be more than adequate even for six-footers.
If you can stretch to the high asking price, nothing quite compares to the BMW 5 Series in terms of a complete driving package. We’d recommend the 520d ED for its blend of class-leading space, ultimate comfort and an effortless drive. Add in the astounding fuel economy and you’ve got one of the most rounded cars on sale today.