Skip advert
Advertisement
In-depth reviews

BMW 5 Series review – a near-faultless executive saloon

“It’s incredibly hard to fault the latest BMW 5 Series as one of the most well-rounded cars in its class, but it comes at a price”

Carbuyer Rating

4.3 out of 5

Owners Rating
Be the first to review
Price
£51,605 - £88,495

Pros

  • Beautiful interior and build quality
  • Good to drive
  • Comfortable

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Mediocre warranty
  • Heavy

Verdict – is the BMW 5 Series a good car?

BMW has done itself proud with the latest 5 Series, which is one of the most well-rounded executive saloons on the market. Not only is it good to drive, it’s comfortable and boasts a beautiful interior that feels ergonomic, well-built and makes use of intuitive technology. There’s loads of interior space and no tradeoff in boot space if you go for the plug-in hybrid over the petrol model, but beware that this impressive car comes at a steep price.

BMW 5 Series models, specs and alternatives

The BMW 5 Series is a long-standing staple of the BMW executive saloon car range, which is now in its eighth generation. It’s long set the benchmark as a refined German executive car which offers a more engaging driving experience than its close competitors the Mercedes E-Class and Audi A6.

Advertisement - Article continues below

For the first time, the BMW 5 Series range consists of petrol, plug-in hybrid and fully-electric models; the latter of which is badged as the BMW i5. Even entry-level petrol models get some form of electrification, though, with a 2.0-litre mild-hybrid-assisted engine. These versions cost from just over £50,000 and are badged 520i. Plug-in hybrids make up the majority of the range, coming in two power outputs badged 530e and 550e. There’s no longer a diesel version of the 5 Series, despite one being offered in other European markets.

The BMW i5 comes in two versions – the standard i5 gets a single rear-mounted electric motor, but the performance M model badged M60 xDrive gets a higher power output from two electric motors (one on each axle).

Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement - Article continues below

In the UK, the BMW 5 Series is offered in two main trims, forgoing the more pedestrian-looking entry-level trim offered in other markets in favour of M Sport and M Sport Pro, which feature a sportier exterior design as standard.
 

Trim levels

Power options

  • M Sport
  • M Sport Pro
  • 520i 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged mild-hybrid petrol (208bhp)
  • 530e 2.0-litre four-cylinder plug-in hybrid petrol (295bhp)
  • 550e xDrive 3.0-litre six-cylinder plug-in hybrid petrol (483bhp)
  • i5 eDrive40 single electric motor (335bhp)
  • i5 M60 xDrive dual electric motors (592bhp)

MPG, running costs & CO2 emissions

Now that the BMW 5 Series range consists of mild-hybrid, plug-in hybrid and fully-electric variants, it’s economical across the board. The biggest savings can be made driving the i5 electric model and the plug-in hybrids because of their low emissions, with the potential to make them great company cars thanks to favourable tax incentives. The PHEVs boast a much more usable electric range than that of the old plug-in hybrid 5 Series. Read more about the BMW 5 Series' MPG, running costs & CO2 emissions...

Engines, drive & performance 

The BMW 5 Series lineup now mainly consists of plug-in hybrids, though there is a 520i entry-level mild-hybrid petrol, too. The 5 Series is more geared towards an engaging driving feel than all-out comfort, but it’s arguably a better all-rounder than its rivals, which can feel rather numb in comparison. Read more about the BMW 5 Series' engines, drive and performance...

Interior & comfort 

The BMW 5 Series strikes a good balance on the inside, with a less minimalist design than that of a Tesla, but smart, clean lines that evoke a sense of calm. It’s beautifully built and finished, exuding high quality, and the infotainment system is one of the best on the market. Read more about the BMW 5 Series' interior and comfort...

Boot space, practicality & dimensions 

The BMW 5 Series boasts a spacious interior which should make it comfortable for drivers and passengers alike. The boot is a good size and it’s even available as an estate Touring model if you need even more space. Read more about the BMW 5 Series' practicality and boot space...

Reliability & safety

BMW doesn’t score particularly well in our Driver Power Customer satisfaction surveys, but reliability doesn’t seem to be a weak spot either. Safety is top-notch, however, with the 5 Series getting the full five-star rating from independent crash-test body Euro NCAP. Read more about the BMW 5 Series' reliability and safety...

BMW 5 Series alternatives

The BMW 5 Series has had a long rivalry with executive models such as the Mercedes E-Class and Audi A6, but now the electric i5 goes up against standalone electric models from the aforementioned rival brands and new emerging brands, there’s quite a varied mix of competitors.

Advertisement - Article continues below
Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement - Article continues below

Should you buy a BMW 5 Series?

Quite simply, the BMW 5 Series is hard to fault. This time around it offers a wide range of choices for buyers, with a comprehensive lineup of petrol, plug-in hybrid and electric models, and is arguably the most well-rounded of its competitors in terms of comfort and driving feel.

The 5 Series really does feel special, particularly on the interior, where it exudes an air of luxury and strikes a good balance of physical controls and intuitive virtual ones via the crisp infotainment system. Fit and finish is impeccable and its large dimensions mean there’s a lot of passenger space, too.

The BMW 5 Series is a fairly practical saloon car, and whereas PHEV versions of many cars are robbed of interior and boot space, there’s no trade-off in the 5 Series unless you go for the all-electric i5, which gets a marginally smaller boot.

If we were to criticise anything, it would be the price – the BMW 5 Series is an expensive car, and jumping up to the 530e PHEV from the mild-hybrid 520i is a circa-£8,500 leap. In fact, that’s the case with each different engine option, so while it might start from just over £50,000, a fully electric model will cost just shy of £80,000, and the range-topping i5 M-car will set you back just under £100,000.

What is the best BMW 5 Series for low running costs?

The cheapest of the BMW 5 Series range to run is the BMW i5 thanks to its zero-emissions status meaning it’s free to tax until 2025, after which point it will cost just £10 a year. It’s also exempt from the first five-year surcharge applicable to cars costing over £40,000 as a result. Purchase one as a company car and you can make big savings because it sits in the lowest BiK (Benefit-in-Kind) tax band. If you don’t fancy the BMW i5, then the 530e is the next best option, as it’s got a cheaper list price and still boasts low emissions which will put it in a low Benefit-in-Kind tax band, although be aware that the luxury car surcharge for the first five years of ownership for cars costing over £40,000 will be applicable for this model, as well as VED (road tax).

How we tested the BMW 5 Series

We drove the BMW 530e plug-in hybrid on British roads in dry, clear weather in April 2024.

Skip advert
Advertisement

Which Is Best?

Cheapest

  • Name
    520i M Sport 4dr Auto
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £51,605

Most Economical

  • Name
    530e M Sport 4dr Auto
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £60,045

Fastest

  • Name
    550e xDrive M Sport 4dr Auto
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £77,195

Charlie writes and edits news, review and advice articles for Carbuyer, as well as publishing content to its social media platforms. He has also been a regular contributor to its sister titles Auto Express, DrivingElectric and evo. As well as being consumed by everything automotive, Charlie is a speaker of five languages and once lived in Chile, Siberia and the Czech Republic, returning to the UK to write about his life-long passion: cars.

Skip advert
Advertisement

Recommended

BMW 3 Series review – an impressive, but expensive executive saloon
BMW 3 Series saloon
In-depth reviews
3 Jul 2024

BMW 3 Series review – an impressive, but expensive executive saloon

Mercedes E-Class review – a smooth and refined executive saloon
Mercedes E-Class UK drive dynamic
In-depth reviews
26 Jun 2024

Mercedes E-Class review – a smooth and refined executive saloon

Top 10 large executive cars – the best to buy in 2024
Best large executive cars
Best cars
19 Jun 2024

Top 10 large executive cars – the best to buy in 2024

BMW 5 Series review (2017-2024)
BMW 5 Series saloon front 3/4 tracking
In-depth reviews
18 Jun 2024

BMW 5 Series review (2017-2024)

Have You Considered

Mercedes E-Class review – a smooth and refined executive saloon
Mercedes E-Class UK drive dynamic
In-depth reviews
26 Jun 2024

Mercedes E-Class review – a smooth and refined executive saloon

BMW i5 review - refined and good to drive
BMW i5 UK
In-depth reviews
24 Jan 2024

BMW i5 review - refined and good to drive

Most Popular

Best new car deals 2024: this week’s best PCP finance offers
Carbuyer best new car deals hero
Deals
5 Jul 2024

Best new car deals 2024: this week’s best PCP finance offers

All-new MG HS aims to “disrupt the market”
MG HS teaser profile
News
1 Jul 2024

All-new MG HS aims to “disrupt the market”

Ford Capri returns! Coupe reborn as new all-electric SUV
Ford Capri front quarter
News
10 Jul 2024

Ford Capri returns! Coupe reborn as new all-electric SUV

BMW M5 gets electrified! New 717bhp plug-in hybrid super saloon revealed
New BMW M5 front quarter
News
25 Jun 2024

BMW M5 gets electrified! New 717bhp plug-in hybrid super saloon revealed

Most powerful BMW M5 ever breaks cover with new plug-in hybrid V8 powertrain and an angry face
Top 10 large executive cars – the best to buy in 2024
Best large executive cars
Best cars
19 Jun 2024

Top 10 large executive cars – the best to buy in 2024

Large executive cars are the ideal choice for drivers who want something classy and capacious
BMW 5 Series review (2017-2024)
BMW 5 Series saloon front 3/4 tracking
In-depth reviews
18 Jun 2024

BMW 5 Series review (2017-2024)

"The BMW 5 Series held onto its place at the top of the executive saloon class"
BMW 5 Series hybrid review (2019-2024)
BMW 5 Series
In-depth reviews
5 Jun 2024

BMW 5 Series hybrid review (2019-2024)

“This pair of punchy PHEVs offer everything you’d expect from a 5 Series, plus excellent CO2 emissions"
New BMW 5 Series Touring trades diesel engines for electrification
BMW 5 Series Touring rear quarter
News
6 Feb 2024

New BMW 5 Series Touring trades diesel engines for electrification

New estate body brings an extra dose of practicality to the 5 Series, but no diesel engine option in the UK
Top 10 best family cars 2024
Best family cars 2023
Best cars
2 Jan 2024

Top 10 best family cars 2024

The 10 best family cars you can buy all offer space, comfort and plenty of technology
Top 10 best used hybrid cars 2024
The best used hybrid cars 2023
Best cars
15 Dec 2023

Top 10 best used hybrid cars 2024

Read our guide to see the best used hybrid cars available to buy right now
Top 10 best used family cars 2024
The best used family cars hero
Best cars
29 Nov 2023

Top 10 best used family cars 2024

If you're looking for a second-hand car to ferry your loved ones around in, here's our list of the best used family cars
Skip advert
Advertisement
BMW 5 Series and i5 go on sale, cost from £51k
BMW i5 reveal
News
24 Oct 2023

BMW 5 Series and i5 go on sale, cost from £51k

New BMW 5 Series is on sale now alongside all-electric i5 version
Luggage-swallowing BMW 5 Series Touring confirmed for 2024
BMW 5 Series Touring teaser
News
18 Oct 2023

Luggage-swallowing BMW 5 Series Touring confirmed for 2024

BMW is following up its striking new 5 Series saloon with a Touring estate next spring – including electric variants
BMW 5 Series Touring estate review
BMW 5 Series Touring
In-depth reviews
15 Aug 2023

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"
Top 10 best used estate cars
The best used estate cars 2023
Best cars
4 Aug 2023

Top 10 best used estate cars

Estate cars are a great alternative to SUVs; they offer lots of boot space without compromising on running costs. Here are the best used estate cars y…
Top 10 best saloon cars
The best saloon cars 2023
Best cars
17 Mar 2023

Top 10 best saloon cars

The saloon may be one of the oldest types of car around but it can still be the perfect match for the needs of many buyers. We show you 10 of the best…
Top 3 used all-wheel-drive saloons for £25,000
Hero
Tips and advice
23 May 2022

Top 3 used all-wheel-drive saloons for £25,000

Dear Carbuyer, I’m looking for a luxurious saloon with all-wheel drive. What is out there for £25,000?
BMW M5 saloon review
2021 BMW M5 Competition saloon - front 3/4 dynamic
In-depth reviews
18 May 2022

BMW M5 saloon review

"Buyers in the market for a super saloon will find it hard to look past the BMW M5"
Your complete BMW car configurator guide
BMW M4 configurator
Tips and advice
8 Sep 2021

Your complete BMW car configurator guide

Your complete guide to the official online BMW car configurator and the process of building your new BMW car
Top 10 best self-parking cars
DS 3 Crossback
Best cars
16 Jul 2021

Top 10 best self-parking cars

We name the 10 best cars with self-parking technology, so read on to find out which cars take the stress out of parking
Skip advert
Advertisement
New 626bhp BMW M5 CS storms in
2021 BMW M5 CS
News
26 Jan 2021

New 626bhp BMW M5 CS storms in

BMW M5 CS has chassis upgrades and more power than the standard M5 Competition
Facelifted BMW 5 Series vs Mercedes E-Class: rivals comparison
BMW 5 Series vs Mercedes E-Class
News
21 Jan 2021

Facelifted BMW 5 Series vs Mercedes E-Class: rivals comparison

The BMW 5 Series and Mercedes E-Class have both been updated recently but which is the best premium saloon?
2023 electric BMW 5 Series expected to wear BMW i5 badge
News
27 Aug 2020

2023 electric BMW 5 Series expected to wear BMW i5 badge

Next BMW 5 Series range to get choice of petrol, diesel and electrified powertrains
2020 BMW M5 Competition powers in with extra tech
News
16 Jun 2020

2020 BMW M5 Competition powers in with extra tech

Facelifted 616bhp M5 Competition saloon gets tweaked styling and updated technology
New 2020 BMW 5 Series officially breaks cover
New 2020 BMW 5 Series saloon - front 3/4 driving
News
26 May 2020

New 2020 BMW 5 Series officially breaks cover

Facelifted BMW 5 Series gets tweaked styling, updated technology and new flagship models for 2020
BMW M5 Edition 35 Years limited-run model revealed
BMW M5 Edition 35 Years static
News
17 May 2019

BMW M5 Edition 35 Years limited-run model revealed

Special edition of BMW’s super-saloon celebrates the 35th anniversary of the M5

Tips & advice

View All
Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide
Car dashboard symbols and meanings
Tips and advice
26 Mar 2024

Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide
Public EV charge point
Tips and advice
11 Jan 2023

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?
PCP vs HP
Tips and advice
17 May 2022

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?

Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Tips and advice
21 Mar 2024

Average speed cameras: how do they work?

Best cars

View All
Top 10 best car interiors
Peugeot 208 hatchback
Best cars
25 Jun 2021

Top 10 best car interiors

Top 10 best electric cars 2024
Best electric cars
Best cars
16 May 2024

Top 10 best electric cars 2024

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2024
The best cheap-to-run cars 2023
Best cars
2 Jan 2024

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2024

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2024
Fastest hot hatchbacks hero
Best cars
2 Jan 2024

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2024