From £29,2508
Facelifted 5-series gets better economy, lower emissions and is now sharper to drive

Our Verdict

The BMW 5-series offers a compelling blend of all-round abilities, but wants specifying carefully

  • First Drive

    BMW 520d SE Saloon Auto review

    Buying a 5-series was always a no-brainer, and this facelift has cemented its place at the top of the executive class
  • First Drive

    BMW 518d saloon first drive review

    New entry-level diesel 5-series is a great car in the right specification but it faces stiff competition from the excellent Audi A6 Ultra

What is it?: 

The mainstream 5-series saloon facelift. It gets remodelled lights front and rear, indicators in its door mirrors and a resculpted nose to mirror the 'hooded-eye' look of the 3-series

Some versions flaunt modest dashes of extra brightwork, while inside the instruments appear on a digital, reconfigurable screen and there are detail decor improvements. Equipment improves with the standardisation of Business Navigation (about time) Bluetooth connectivity (ditto), a USB port and xenon headlights. 

And the infotainment system’s capabilities can be deepened with an i-Drive controller that doubles as a mouse, and facilities for dictating texts and emails. Later this year there’ll be an optional self-parking system requiring no control inputs of any kind, and a traffic jam assistant allowing the 5-series to steer, accelerate and brake with no intervention from the driver at up to 19mph. Which is probably just as well given that the mouse also allows web surfing.

What's it like?: 

Mechanically the changes are slight, but useful. All engines are now Euro6 emission compliant and have improved aerodynamics. There's also an engine-decoupling coast facility to help reduce CO2 emissions, and there’s an-all new, Valvetronic-equipped 4.4-litre twin-scroll turbo 550i V8. More significant to most 5-series buyers, however, will be the introduction of a new entry-level 141bhp 518d, although its 119g/km emissions are the same as the new 520d’s.

The 5’s chassis has also seen a light rethink in the form of retuned dampers for improved comfort and reduced roll, and the electric power steering has been remapped for improved precision. 

These dynamic improvements are mildly apparent, although we still consider the optional electronic dampers to be a 5-series essential for a pliant ride. The revised steering is a little more precise, but you’ll need the Sport setting for the most consistent, confidence-building rim resistance — this brings with it firmer suspension and a much livelier transmission. Configuring these settings individually, Audi-style, would be better.

Should I buy one?: 

There’s no question that the 530d is a very accomplished car. It’s impressively fast, quiet, slightly more economical and delivers the effortless journeying that cars like this are supposed to be about. It also has a beautifully crafted cabin that can be packed with electronic convenience items if your wallet is fat enough. So no major changes for the 5-series saloon and Touring, but then, these class best sellers don't need them.

BMW 530d Luxury

Price £43,415; 0-62mph 5.8sec; Top speed 155mph; Economy 55.4mpg (combined); CO2 134g/km; Kerb weight 1785kg; Engine 6 cyls in line, 2993cc, turbodiesel; Power 258bhp at 4000rpm; Torque 413lb ft at 1500-3000rpm; Gearbox 8-speed automatic

 

Join the debate

Comments
24

26 June 2013

Facelift?? It is even more invisible than most facelifts.The previous Bangle era 5 is still the business stylewise.

27 June 2013

For a BMW, this facelift came early as the 5-Series saloon was only unveiled in 2010, but I suspect it was done to coincide with the GT which was launched the year before.

As for the saloon, although not rubbish, it wasn't exactly class best when it was launched, but it seems it's been honed over the years and has now become an excellent car. In line with the recently fettled and further improved E-Class, it's a tough choice and either could arguably be seen as being better than a XF and miles ahead of an A6.

27 June 2013

Much as I like this car and would be very happy indeed to have one as my own car, I do wonder how BMW manage to get such low emissions and good economy from a 3 litre diesel engine in such a heavy car. 

I would really love to meet any real, normal, everyday person who drives one of these cars who could replicate those figures.  Somehow though, I bet they don't exist.

27 June 2013

martin_66 wrote:

Much as I like this car and would be very happy indeed to have one as my own car, I do wonder how BMW manage to get such low emissions and good economy from a 3 litre diesel engine in such a heavy car. 

I would really love to meet any real, normal, everyday person who drives one of these cars who could replicate those figures.  Somehow though, I bet they don't exist.

Mind you, given how irrelevant co2 is in the overall pollution equation and all the other noxious gases diesels put out, I hope thy are faking / fixing it somehow. The government fixes a tax and the manufacturers fixes a solution.

27 June 2013

Ray6O wrote:

martin_66 wrote:

Much as I like this car and would be very happy indeed to have one as my own car, I do wonder how BMW manage to get such low emissions and good economy from a 3 litre diesel engine in such a heavy car. 

I would really love to meet any real, normal, everyday person who drives one of these cars who could replicate those figures.  Somehow though, I bet they don't exist.

Mind you, given how irrelevant co2 is in the overall pollution equation and all the other noxious gases diesels put out, I hope thy are faking / fixing it somehow. The government fixes a tax and the manufacturers fixes a solution.

I agree, the government is so hung up on CO2, totally oblivious to the other particles and gases that diesels emit that are more harmful than petrol, even taking in to account the better economy of diesels. And the fact that Autocar are trying to advocate the introduction of trolleybuses in some urban/congested areas because of the effects of diesel is one case in point.

27 June 2013

@martin_66: I am at my 4th BMW and I can tell you I can always beat the declared consumption. Mind you I am a bit of an hypermiler.

27 June 2013

I run a current model 520d ED with manual box as my company car and consistently get 51-53 mpg (that's a real world average, not a "gentle cruise" figure). Range on a tank of diesel is normally 700-750 miles. I do 40k miles per year and normally cruise at 80+ when conditions allow.

I'd expect the 530d with a manual box to use little more fuel than the 520d, but with tha auto box it's tempting to squirt the throttle on take-off and that certainly will dent the mpg figures....

And I've seen several running reports of the marginally-lighter 320d on Autocar and related publications in which the journos report mpg in the mid 50s.

27 June 2013

ludditerider wrote:

I run a current model 520d ED with manual box as my company car and consistently get 51-53 mpg (that's a real world average, not a "gentle cruise" figure). Range on a tank of diesel is normally 700-750 miles. I do 40k miles per year and normally cruise at 80+ when conditions allow.

Ludditerider,

I would argue that as you are doing 40k per year you are not really doing normal, everyday driving, but, I suspect, doing mainly motorway driving, which is generally done at a steady speed with little variation in revs, and with the engine fully warmed up.

If I drive my Passat 2.0tdi on the motorway at a steady speed, with it fully warmed up, I can easily exceed 70 mpg.  However, a fair number of drivers (myself included) drive much shorter distances, so the car doesn't spend long enough properly warmed up (the diesel lump in my Passat takes an eternity to warm up, even in the summer), and they are probably changing gear, speeding up and braking a lot more often, so most of them (like me) will rarely get anywhere near the official figures.

27 June 2013

This is the first facelift (both external and internal) in years that I just can't see any difference at all.  Am I missing something here?  I normally thing I have an eye for detail as well...

27 June 2013

ballyblack wrote:

This is the first facelift (both external and internal) in years that I just can't see any difference at all.  Am I missing something here?  I normally thing I have an eye for detail as well...

Exactly what I was thinking, and I travelling in a 5 series yesterday!

Curious about those side parking sensors. I'm assuming those on the wheel arches are for the 'self-parking' system, but why aren't they colour co-ordinated like the others? Perhaps it's to let your neighbours know you can afford a self-parking system.

 

Pages

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week