"The BMW 5 Series Touring is comfortable and packed with technology, and proves it's possible for estates to be desirable and practical.”
The practical boot is just one reason why the BMW 5 Series Touring is desirable. This elegant and spacious estate looks good, with class-leading build quality. It's comfortable to ride in and relaxing to drive, while the rear seats in particular offer plenty of room. The large tailgate provides access to a vast boot, which BMW has made extra practical with plenty of stowage and lashing solutions to stop bulky loads moving around. A 2013 update saw some minor changes to the front end of the car, as well as some engine changes, but we’d still go for the 520d model with its excellent blend of performance and economy.
MPG, running costs & CO2 emissions
Resale values have traditionally been high for the 5 Series Touring, and the latest car doesn't lose as much as its rivals. Running costs should be comparable to rivals, although the impressively low emissions figures should help out with your tax payments, while stop-start on the 520d and other energy-saving technologies should keep fuel costs in check. Both the 518d and the 520d get 119g/km emissions, meaning really cheap tax bills.
Interior & comfort
The Touring estate builds on the impressive comfort and practicality of the 5 Series saloon. Suspension on SE models is supple and the car is quiet on the move – wind noise is only noticeable due to the quiet engine. However, if you want comfort in an M Sport version, you need to go for the optional adaptive dampers, as the standard suspension is very stiff and uncomfortable. A long wheelbase means there's decent legroom, which allows passengers in the back to be as comfortable as those in the front, and adding to the appeal is the fact that climate control is standard in all models. You would never have to justify the purchase to adults riding in the back.
Practicality & boot space
With a separate opening tailgate class, 40/20/40 split-folding seats and the option of Extended Storage – which allows you to secure the rear seatbacks in a more upright position – the 5 Series Touring offers decent versatility. But its 560-litre boot isn’t class-leading; the Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate and Audi A6 Avant have more room with the seats up or down. Passenger space – rear legroom in particular – is better in the BMW, though.
Reliability & safety
The BMW 5 Series Touring has a minimalist cabin that's superbly put together, and features high-class materials and a great finish throughout. As you would expect of a car of this price, safety promises to be class-leading, with a Euro NCAP crash test score of five stars for the 5 Series saloon. Active safety systems include traction control, while drivers can also specify lane departure warning systems and a head-up display. The latter relays your speed and satellite navigation instructions on to the windscreen, so you don’t have to take your eyes off the road.
Engines, drive & performance
Despite the addition of a large boot, the 5 Series Touring is as good to drive as the saloon. In standard guise it's accomplished, but you have to pay for the extras – such as Adaptive Drive – to enjoy BMW's usual excellence on the road. Even the entry-level four-cylinder engines are strong, with the 520d mixing pace and economy well. Larger six-cylinder turbos add strong performance, but unless you plan to tow heavy loads or enjoy driving quickly, smaller engines will still provide effortless mile munching.
Price, value for money & options
Equipment across all models include the basics for the executive class, such as leather seats and a Bluetooth phone connection, as well as climate and cruise control. You can spend plenty more on optional chassis systems that improve the driving experience further, with the list of extras covering anything you could possibly need. Opt for SE or M Sport spec with an entry-level engine, and the 5 Series is relatively good value. Two new specs were added to the range in 2013, Modern and Luxury, which add more luxurious features as opposed to the sporty ones added by the M Sport versions.