BMW's luxury car defeats a high-quality shortlist, having been commended for its efficiency, handling, refinement, technology and sense of luxury
Matt Burt
11 January 2017

The BMW 5 Series has been announced as the What Car? Car of the Year 2017, beating an illustrious shortlist of cars including the Seat Ateca, Porsche 718 Cayman and Skoda Kodiaq.

The 5 Series fended off stiff competition from Mercedes-Benz and Rolls-Royce to win the Luxury Car of the Year award, before beating all the other category winners to be named the best new car of the past 12 months.

A team of judges representing Autocar’s sister brand What Car? commended the 5 Series for its efficiency, handling, refinement, technology and sense of luxury.

BMW Brand senior vice-president Hildegard Wortmann collected the Car of the Year Award at an awards ceremony in London this evening. He said: “For the BMW 5 Series to win the prestigious ‘Car of the Year’ award is an honour and testament to the hard work that goes into producing one of BMW’s core models.

“The BMW 5 Series is a brand-shaping saloon and in times of rapid change within the automotive industry we believe the seventh generation model points the way into the future. It is a truly outstanding car and I am very grateful to What Car? for this great recognition.”

What Car? editor Steve Huntingford added: “The BMW 5 Series is no stranger to success at the What Car? Awards; it’s something of a dynasty that has always stood for excellence, but the latest model moves things on again in all the areas that matter most to buyers.”

Other notable winners during the night included the Peugeot 3008, which won the Nexcel-sponsored Technology prize for its i-Cockpit interior layout, and the Toyota Prius, which was awarded the Safety award presented by What Car? and Thatcham. A full list of winners can be found at the What Car? Awards microsite.

Our Verdict

BMW 5 Series

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

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What Car? Car of the Year Awards category winners

City car Hyundai i10 1.2 Premium SE

Small car Skoda Fabia 1.2 TSI 90 SE

Family car Audi A3 Sportback 1.4 TFSI 150 Sport

Hot hatch Ford Fiesta ST-2 3dr

Small SUV Seat Ateca 1.4 EcoTSI 150 SE

Large SUV Skoda Kodiaq 2.0 TDI 150 4x4 SE 7st

Luxury SUV Audi Q7 3.0 TDI 272 quattro SE

MPV Volkswagen Touran 1.6 TDI 115 SE

Estate car Skoda Superb Estate 2.0 TDI 150 SE Technology

Electric car Renault Zoe Q90 Z.E. 40 Dynamique Nav

Executive car Audi A4 3.0 TDI 218 Sport

Luxury car BMW 5 Series 520d SE

Convertible Mazda MX-5 2.0 SE-L Nav

Coupe Audi TT 1.8 TFSI Sport

Sports car Porsche 718 Cayman 2.0

Reader award Honda Civic Type R

Safety award Toyota Prius 

Technology award Peugeot 3008 i-Cockpit 

Car of the year BMW 5 Series 520d SE

Join the debate


11 January 2017
Announcing awards for 2017 by the 11th of January strongly suggests a high degree of bullshit.

12 January 2017
As with the European Car of the Year Awards, these should be more correctly titled 2016 Car of the Year. But then the awards would be less newsworthy, would date more quickly and be less use for advertisers, so it's an understandable error.
Interesting to note that with nearly 20 awards up for grabs, there are no recipients from Vauxhall, Nissan, Jaguar Land Rover - and just one (for an 8-year old product) from Ford. Maybe their cars really aren't that good any more?

11 January 2017
It appears to get onto the shortlist you need have a German (owned) brand, and looking at the category winners, someone forgot to tell the Whatcar team that 2017 might not be the best time to be buying a new diesel. The list looks far more like a way of spreading awards between your major advertisers.

12 January 2017
artill wrote:

It appears to get onto the shortlist you need have a German (owned) brand,.... The list looks far more like a way of spreading awards between your major advertisers.

Apart from the 7 that aren't German owned of course.

12 January 2017
What is even more telling is that the 'Readers Award' didn't go to anything from VAG or even German owned - Honda picked that one up.
It does feel like awards such as this are granted in direct proportion to the amount of advertising and freebies made available by the manufacturers.

It's interesting to look at the runners up - not least because some of those are easily more deserving of a win than the actual winner.

Take the small family car for example - the winner was the A3, list price well north of £ 20k.

The runner up? The Astra, list price £ 18k but a quick scan of Autotrader will find you ex-demo with sub 10,000 miles for a little over £ 10k. Many people don't have £20k to blow on a car, quite alot of people will spend £ 10k on a car - and for that a nearly new, current Astra looks damn near unbeatable.

12 January 2017
Your right - the A3 really isn't that much better at all than the new Astra and in a few areas the Astra is actually the better car. For me I would rather the top spec Astra that would be cheaper than the bog standard A3

12 January 2017
You forget that the Astra will be worth about £2500 come trade in time.

12 January 2017
What no winner from either Jaguar or Land Rover......from the sister mag of Autocar.....

12 January 2017
How else are VAG going to pay for all the recent issues, warranty claims and compensation bills? Easy - heavily promote and advertise their products taking out double page spreads on the fist few pages of magazines, make the public think the product is hugely desireable and push the prices up, base the cars on the same chassis so it's minimal costs to produce and their you go...

Reality is somewhat different to what you read from the owners though on the forums.

12 January 2017
Quoting from "What Car"'s own review:

" but in some ways the 5 Series is even more sophisticated: a semi-autonomous driving mode is available that lets you take your hands off the wheel for up to 30 seconds."

Excellent - so the twats that routinely pilot Beemers will be able to be even more arrogant and careless than usual.

It would have been so much better if they'd included mandatory training on driving with good manners and reminders about the use of indicators and tailgating rather than giving the drivers even more excuses to behave like utter twats.

Frankly an XF or Volvo S90 would be a much better choice.


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