Not only the most practical 5-series, but also the most likeable

Our Verdict

BMW 5 Series Touring

The BMW 5 Series Touring is a compelling premium estate, offering good space and efficiency, plus decent dynamics

12 September 2010

What is it

Our full examination of the new 5-series continues, with the combination of the entry-level four-cylinder diesel engine and the Touring bodyshell, tested on British roads.

As standard, the 2.0-litre diesel engine comes with a six-speed manual gearbox and stop-start to deliver the combination of 8.3sec 0-62mph pace and CO2 emissions of just 135g/km. Our test car, however, came with the optional eight-speed automatic gearbox, which, without stop-start, pushes emissions up to 139g/km.

What’s it like?

As the marginal increase in CO2 is not enough to move the 520d into a higher BIK category, we strongly recommend the £1495 automatic gearbox, as its taller top gear provides more refined motorway cruising. If there is one aspect in which the 5-series comprehensively trumps all its rivals, it is in the efficiency and refinement of the smaller-capacity diesels.

With an additional 60 litres of load space, the new Touring is now comparable with the current Audi A6 Avant but still trails the Mercedes E-class estate by 135 litres. Usefully, the Touring retains the previous model’s split tailgate. All 5-series Touring models get self-levelling rear air suspension as standard (the saloon uses coil springs).

It is not possible to option four-wheel steer or active anti-roll bars on a 520d, but variable-control damping is available, although our test car came with the standard passive dampers. Dynamically, the only upgrade fitted was bigger 18in alloys.

The suspension is not without fault – as with the SE-spec saloon, at times it feels too soft and at others too firm – but of all the 5-series variants we have tried to date, this is the most convincing. It is perhaps easier to overlook the loss of dynamic edge that has come with the adoption of electric steering in a more utilitarian variant.

Should I buy one?

Unless you must have the largest premium estate going, we can think of few reasons not to. Competitively priced, refined, efficient and in our opinion better looking than the saloon, it is our favourite Five yet.

Jamie Corstorphine

BMW 520d Touring SE

Price: £31,875; Top speed: 137mph; 0-62mph: 8.3sec; Economy: 53.3mpg; CO2: 139g/km; Kerb weight: 1790kg; Engine, type, cc: 4 cyls in line, 1995cc, turbodiesel; Power: 181bhp at 4000rpm; Torque: 280lb ft at 1900-2750rpm; Gearbox: 8-spd automatic

Join the debate

Comments
48

17 September 2010

All the car I could ever want . Maybe the "competitive" price is too steep though .

I would very much like to see a test of this against the forthcoming 2.2d XF Estate if and when it arrives .

Shame it is too pricey for me .

17 September 2010

I wouldn't call this better looking than the sedan - the sedan is handsome, sporty and very well proportioned.

If I wanted the space, I'd go for the GT before the estate... in fact, I'd go for the GT before the sedan too. The GT is just sooo much BMW!

17 September 2010

Considering the 5-Series has only been on sale for a few months i've seen loads, far more in the same period than i did when the Jag XF and E-Class were launched. Ok, the Jag has a smaller range of variants, but even then it appears the 5-Series will continue to be the nation's favourite exec car as it has done so for what seems to be the last 15-20 years or so.

17 September 2010

It is ammasing how BMW manage to get so much power out of thier engines, yet keep them so clean and frugle. It maybe they keep the weight down by not fitting indicators.

19 September 2010

Just ordered one. Can carry 5 in comfort, 55mpg, low road tax, 0-60 in 8 secs and having looked at the demo in the dealer the quality of the interior is fantastic. Can't justify the extra £10k for the 530d, the 520d seems amazing value and I see websites are quoting over 3 months for delivery. Might it get 5 stars on a full Autocar road test?.

19 September 2010

[quote gaz26]Just ordered one.[/quote] How long to wait for delivery before you get your car?

20 September 2010

Hoping to have it by Xmas

22 September 2010

A bit surprised to see so few comments on this as it's a clear cut candidate for "All The Car You Will Ever Need." I think the shape is great and I really love the interior, first estate I'd be likely to consider for ownership, in 535d form in about 2-3 years.

22 September 2010

I'm not really keen on bmw's 2.0D engine. I used to run an 06 plate 320D touring with a manual box and the engine lacked the mid range punch you would come to expect with a derv drinker. Really felt like i was thrashing a petrol engine. Also I feel the 8.3secs 0-62mph with a 5 series is slightly optimistic. Really need a V6 and auto in such a big heavy car .

24 September 2010

[quote a winding road]

I'm not really keen on bmw's 2.0D engine. I used to run an 06 plate 320D touring with a manual box and the engine lacked the mid range punch you would come to expect with a derv drinker. Really felt like i was thrashing a petrol engine. Also I feel the 8.3secs 0-62mph with a 5 series is slightly optimistic. Really need a V6 and auto in such a big heavy car .

[/quote]

That was the older and more thirsty N47 2 litre 163 lump. The newer N47N 177 and now 184 unit with Piezo injectors new turbo ect is more frugal and powerful but also smoother and less laggy.

Pages

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Mercedes C350e Sport
    First Drive
    28 September 2016
    Petrol-electric C-Class is a surprisingly well-priced alternative to a diesel but not the greatest example of the new ‘PHEV’ breed
  • Car review
    23 September 2016
    Aston kicks off its ‘second century plan’ with an all-new turbo V12 grand tourer
  • Ford Ka+ 1.2 Ti-VCT 85
    First Drive
    22 September 2016
    A rounded, refined and well-sorted bargain supermini – once you’re used to the confusing role redefinition imposed on the once-cheeky Ka
  •  Maserati Ghibli Diesel
    First Drive
    22 September 2016
    Maserati releases another range of updates for its range best seller, the Ghibli. We've driven the diesel version, but there's little improvement on before
  • Tipo Front
    First Drive
    21 September 2016
    New Fiat Tipo offers impressive space and practicality for a reasonable price. We try the 1.6 diesel on the demanding roads of North Wales