In-depth reviews

BMW 5 Series saloon - MPG, running costs & CO2

The latest BMW 5 Series is even more economical than the old one, which is an impressive achievement

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4.6 out of 5

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4.0 out of 5

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MPG, running costs & CO2 Rating

4.5 out of 5

Executive expresses like the BMW 5 Series have to perform something of a balancing act: buyers at this end of the market expect low running costs paired with impressive performance, practicality and luxury – and that means powerful engines, big bodies and lots of equipment.

These demands tend to push a car's weight up, which is an enemy of high economy and low emissions. Carmakers must work hard to achieve all this, but the results can be impressive and the 5 Series is a case in point. Despite being fast, spacious and well appointed, it can return well over 50mpg with a diesel engine – and even more if you pick a plug-in hybrid model. Every four- and six-cylinder engine now gets mild-hybrid technology, recouping energy normally wasted under braking; helping them to be cleaner and reduce running costs for company-car drivers.

BMW 5 Series MPG & CO2

The BMW 520d is a stalwart of the 5 Series range. It returns up to 58.9mpg in SE trim and emits from 127-133g/km of CO2, which means company-car buyers will be liable for a middling Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) bill. These are all factors that make it a hit for business and private buyers who spend a lot of time on the motorway, where an electric car can lack range.

If you’re happy to trade some fuel economy for some extra performance, the BMW 530d xDrive M Sport manages up to 51.4mpg and emits 145-159g/km, putting it in pricey BiK bands. Be aware that all the 5 Series’ diesel engines use AdBlue to reduce emissions, which high-mileage users may need to top up in between annual services. See our article on AdBlue for more information.

The real economy star – on paper at least – is the petrol-electric plug-in hybrid BMW 530e, which officially returns as much as 201.8mpg in SE trim with rear-wheel drive. With the four-wheel drive xDrive model, this figure falls to a maximum of 176.6mpg. As with many hybrids, that figure might be tough to match in real-world conditions, but low CO2 emissions of 31-41g/km mean 530e customers won’t pay the London Congestion Charge, while business users get a significantly lower BiK liability. A faster 545e xDrive PHEV is also offered, which sees fuel economy drop to just over 150mpg and emissions creep up to 40-50g/km.

If your commute is under around 35 miles, you should be able to get to work in the 530e without using any petrol.

Those hankering for a conventional petrol engine can choose between the BMW 520i (which returns up to 44.8mpg) or the BMW M550i xDrive, which can only manage 26mpg and emits over 240g/km of CO2.

After the first year’s CO2-based road tax (normally included in the on-the-road price) all 5 Series will cost £150 a year to tax – although any cars with a list price (including options) of more than £40,000 are liable for an additional surcharge of £325 a year in years two to six, bringing the annual bill to £475 during that period – or £465 a year for the plug-in hybrids.

Insurance group

The BMW 520d should be cheapest to cover but considering it starts in group 38 out of 50, you can see that all versions of the 5 Series are relatively expensive to insure. The range-topping M550i xDrive isn't quite in the top band though, falling into group 46.


All BMWs require servicing based on on-board indicators that use sensors to determine when maintenance is necessary. To ensure there are no nasty shocks when it comes to time to book your 5 Series in for a service, BMW offers servicing packages for its cars. Do investigate these, as they can be real money-savers.


BMW’s three-year/unlimited-mileage warranty is reasonable if unexceptional – and identical to the policy that Mercedes provides.

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