BMW 5 Series Touring estate - Interior & comfort
Build quality, materials and layout of the BMW 5 Series Touring are all excellent
BMW 5 Series Touring dashboard
Like many modern upmarket cars, the 5 Series Touring has its infotainment screen sitting permanently atop the dashboard – it doesn’t retract. As with the display found in the latest E-Class, however, it’s well integrated into the overall design and doesn’t spoil the aesthetics of the 5 Series’ interior. The fact it’s sat on, rather than in, the dashboard also makes it easier to view while you’re driving, because you don’t need to take your eyes off the road for so long.
All 5 Series Touring models come with BMW’s iDrive infotainment system and it remains one of the best on the market. The refreshed 12.3-inch main screen is shared with the latest BMW X5. It’s very clear and is operated like the touchscreen of a smartphone. A character recognition system has been incorporated into the rotary wheel controller, allowing you to sketch the shape of a letter on the pad when entering words or postcodes rather than scrolling through and hopping between letters, which can become tedious.
A ‘Gesture Control’ feature is part of the Technology Pack and gives you another way of controlling the infotainment system without using the rotary controller. If, for example, someone calls you and your mobile is linked to the system, you can gesture to accept or reject rather than pressing buttons. It’s a nice idea, but feels a bit gimmicky and isn’t any easier than using the controls on the steering wheel.
The 5 Series Touring is available in two trims, called SE and M Sport. The entry-level car is the SE, but it still comes with more standard equipment than a lot of top-spec cars. The SE gets sat-nav, a DAB radio, heated leather seats and a cruise control system that can automatically slow the car at corners, before getting back to the preset speed once back on a straight road.
The SE also features 18-inch alloy wheels (17-inch for the 520i and 520d), ambient lighting, LED headlights, heated front seats and steering-wheel-mounted shift paddles for the automatic gearbox. BMW’s 12.3-inch multifunction digital instrument display, called Live Cockpit Plus, replaces traditional dials. Audi’s Virtual Cockpit is still the slicker system, but it’s good that the digital system is standard on the 5 Series Touring.
The M Sport trim costs quite a bit extra and includes 19-inch alloy wheels (18-inch wheels on the 530e), extra trim pieces and twin exhaust pipes. The bodywork is slightly more muscular and M Sport cars also have upgraded brakes (520i and 520d buyers don’t get these). You can make the 5 Series Touring look even sportier with the M Sport Pro option pack, which brings extra black exterior trim, brake calipers painted either blue or red, tinted windows and special M Sport seatbelts. Also available are 20-inch alloys; they look nice but cost extra and don’t ride so smoothly – especially as they come with run-flat tyres.
BMW’s Display Key allows you to set the car’s air-conditioning to come on in advance. It’ll also show economy figures and servicing information on its small colour screen. There's also a remote-control parking function operated by the Display Key – although you'll need to order the Parking Assistant Plus for this.
Like all manufacturers of ‘upmarket’ cars, BMW offers customers a lot of options and it’s easy to make the car considerably more expensive than its list price if you’re not careful.
The equipment packages range from around £1,500 to almost £5,000. The Technology Package (at around £2,500) includes a wi-fi hotspot, a head-up display, wireless phone charging, gesture control and a Harman Kardon stereo. Upgrading to the Technology Plus pack (just over £5,000) adds further enhancements including all of the parking packages and BMW’s drive recorder dash cam system.
The Comfort Package gets you a heated steering wheel, keyless entry and extra storage options, while the Comfort Plus pack adds all this plus front and rear seat heating, massage seats, ventilated seats and four-zone climate control. The Entertainment Pack adds a TV function and rear seat screens. Prices are as per the two Technology packs.
Active cruise control is a system that can look after acceleration as well as braking to a standstill if necessary – it’ll even assist with steering to keep you safely in lane. Another useful driver aid is Parking Assistant Plus (£700 on its own), which uses a team of cameras to provide an all-round view of the car as seen from above, helping you to squeeze in and out of parking spaces.
Which Is Best?
- Name520i MHT SE 5dr Step Auto
- Gearbox typeSemi-auto
- Name530e SE 5dr Auto
- Gearbox typeSemi-auto
- Name540i xDrive MHT SE 5dr Auto
- Gearbox typeSemi-auto