BMW 5 Series saloon (2010-2016) - Interior & comfort
The BMW 5 Series has an impressive high-quality, stylish interior. Most models are comfortable, but those with sports suspension can be harsh
BMW has always been experimental with its interiors and pushed the boundaries of customer expectations – sometimes successfully, and sometimes not. The BMW 5 Series’ interior is the culmination of all that experience. It not only looks fantastic, but also has a raft of cutting-edge technology that's brilliantly integrated and easy to use. When it comes to build quality, it entirely justifies its price tag, although the Audi A6 just pips it for quality of materials.
You sit relatively low (a nod towards BMW's sporty philosophy), while both the steering wheel and seat have a huge range of adjustment. M Sport models feature figure-hugging seats that hold you firmly in place, yet are still perfectly comfortable.
BMW 5 Series dashboard
The whole dashboard is angled slightly towards the driver. The sat nav, stereo and access to other settings and information on the car are all controlled by the latest version of BMW's iDrive controller – a rotary dial that lets you click and scroll through various menus.
This was criticised for being fiddly to use in the past, but in the 5 Series it appears to have come of age. The way you navigate through the system is much slicker than before and the standard Professional Media sat nav lets you 'write' on the touchpad with your finger, which makes finding addresses and phones numbers much easier. It sounds complicated to use, but you pick it up quicker than you'd expect.
As you'd expect from an upmarket car like this, even entry-level SE models come with plenty of luxury equipment. Leather seats, cruise control, parking sensors and Bluetooth to connect your smartphone to the car are all thrown in as standard, while moving up the range to Luxury specification adds 18-inch alloys, higher-grade wood and metal finishes and interior lighting.
There are also plenty of hi-tech options, including £1,300 adaptive cruise control, which lets you keep a set distance to the car in front; a £1,000 colour head-up display that beams information onto the windscreen; and £500 lane-departure warning, which will stop the car from drifting out of its lane on the motorway.
A £1,750 night-vision package is also offered, with headlights that can automatically identify pedestrians and highlight them with a separate beam of light.