BMW 5 Series saloon - Interior & comfort
The BMW 5 Series is beautifully made and bang up-to-date inside
Compared to its forebears, this BMW 5 Series doesn’t represent as much of a step change in design as the latest Mercedes E-Class did when it was launched, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The 5 Series has always had a well designed, logically arranged dashboard and the latest car simply improves the ingredients of an already proven recipe.
That's still the case for the facelifted model, which is thoroughly updated but still feels conservative in its layout. The refreshed 12.3-inch touchscreen taken from the X5 is worthy of mention, though, with clear graphics and fast responses that make it one of the best systems in the class.
Not only are there seamless ergonomics: you also get suitably premium materials and the latest infotainment and connectivity systems. Ride comfort is impressive, particularly on cars with the smallest alloy wheels. The larger wheels don’t do such a good job of disguising bumps from potholes and drain covers and low-speed ride quality isn’t quite so serene as a result.
BMW 5 Series dashboard
Like many modern upmarket cars, the 5 Series 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 interior.
The 5 Series range is opened by the SE. Standard features include the infotainment system described above, as well as sat nav, a DAB radio, leather seats and a cruise-control system that’ll slow the car gently for corners, returning to the pre-set speed once the road straightens out.
Standard cars also have alloy wheels, ambient lighting, LED headlights, heated front seats and steering wheel-mounted shift paddles for the gearbox. BMW also fits its ‘ConnectedDrive’ package to all 5 Series. This includes access to a concierge service, as well as eCall, which automatically contacts the emergency services if the airbags deploy in a collision.
Download an app to your smartphone and you can enjoy BMW’s standard ‘remote services’, allowing you to remotely check where your 5 Series is and its status, as well as locking or unlocking it, flashing its headlights or setting the temperature.
Upgrading to M Sport trim adds larger alloy wheels, ‘M’ details around the upgraded interior and a more muscular exterior. An M Sport Edition trim was added as part of the midlife refresh in late 2020, adding 20-inch alloy wheels, adaptive LED headlights, black exterior trim, red brake calipers and rear tinted glass.
The 5 Series is undoubtedly very well equipped but adding thousands of pounds to its list price is easily done. The 520i M Sport, for instance, comes only in white as standard, so many will add metallic paint to this popular model. That costs around £900, although it’s fair to point out that Mercedes and virtually every other carmaker also charge you for metallic paint. Whichever brand you go for, this seems measly considering large executive saloons typically cost at least £30,000.
BMW has also curated a number of packs that bundle desirable features, starting with the £2,500 Technology Pack that brings a head-up display, WiFi, Gesture Control and a Harman Kardon sound system. Costing the same again, the Comfort Pack adds a powered bootlid, heated steering wheel and keyless entry, along with electrically adjustable front seats. Again, this seems rather expensive considering some of these features are standard in quite a few mainstream family cars.