BMW 5 Series Touring estate review
"The BMW 5 Series Touring makes a powerful case for the traditional estate against the SUV, and is an almost perfect family car"
- Excellent to drive
- Pricey options
- No manual gearbox
- Cheaper alternatives
The BMW 5 Series Touring is the estate version of the 5 Series saloon. It was first seen in 1991, and since then the German car maker has sold over a million of this practical luxury car. The current model is the fifth generation, and alternatives include the Mercedes E-Class Estate and Audi A6 Avant, which are a similar size and price.
It's little wonder that the 5 Series Touring has continued to be so popular. It brings impressive practicality, style, a high-quality cabin, many excellent engines to choose from and a delightful driving experience. It's one of a handful of cars with the complete package - something for everyone.
A facelifted 5 Series Touring went on sale in early 2021, with a range of minor changes including a refreshed design, updated technology and the introduction of 48-volt mild-hybrid assistance across the petrol and diesel lineup.
As with the rest of the 5 Series range, there's loads of space inside for passengers and the interior is luxurious - yet thanks to the hatchback boot, it's much more practical than the saloon. All versions of the 5 Series Touring come with alloy wheels, sat-nav, LED lights and leather seats, together with access to BMW's 'remote services' – a smartphone app that allows you to check vehicle status and remotely operate functions such as ventilation and central locking.
There are two diesels, a plug-in hybrid and two petrol models, and all but the entry 520i are offered with BMW’s xDrive all-wheel drive system. The popular 520d 2.0-litre diesel has 187bhp and is a great all-rounder – it’s fast, smooth and cheap to run. In fact it's so good that it makes the more expensive models look worse value.
Nevertheless, the six-cylinder 530d is even smoother and very quick. Its 0-62mph time is just 5.6 seconds and its engine provides effortless pulling power, combining perfectly with the smooth-shifting eight-speed auto box to make it very relaxing to drive. The four-wheel drive xDrive system is excellent, with a composed and agile chassis and smooth steering making for a relaxed driving experience. Above this, the six-cylinder 540i xDrive petrol is a luxurious and powerful engine that feels upmarket - but it's not cheap to buy, and fuel economy of around 30mpg means it’s expensive to run.
The plug-in hybrid 530e model can drive on electric power alone for short periods so it's great for those with a short commute in town. It's powerful and efficient.
The BMW 5 Series Touring is fantastic to drive no matter which engine you choose, especially considering its size. Whether you're on a motorway or a twisty country road, the BMW is fantastic. It's smooth and comfortable, yet fun to drive as well - a rare trait.
Only the high price is off-putting, as it's not a cheap car. Yet in 520d form its low running costs help to offset that, and it brings everything you could want in a car: it's practical, fast, fun, comfortable and full of modern kit. It's a great all-rounder and one of our favourite cars.