For more than 40 years the BMW 5 Series has been the go-to executive saloon for millions of business-type mile-crunchers with an enthusiasm for driving.

The car’s blend of talents has always been highly commendable and rarely matched, offering supreme ride comfort, cutting-edge interiors and, whenever it takes your fancy, exciting and entertaining rear-wheel-drive dynamism.

For this latest 5 Series – the G30 generation – there is no dramatic leap away from familiarity. A record 2.1 million sales of the previous-generation model, along with feedback from its buyers, signaled to BMW that the best course of action to continue its executive saloon’s sales success was to gently tickle the formula rather than rethink it.

The result of that train of thought has delivered a new 5 Series that is in essence a mini version of the latest 7 Series.

Much of the styling and technology has been borrowed or adapted from the flagship limousine, and both models share the same modular platform.

Improvements over the outgoing 5 Series include reduced weight, revised suspension and a tonne of new tech, such as the latest iDrive system, gesture control and semi-autonomous driving features.

These upgrades, and being so closely related to the 7 Series, mean the new 5 Series could, in theory at least, represent the closest thing to limousine luxury you can buy in the executive saloon class.

The G30 5 Series is available in saloon and estate form with a choice of three petrol engines – the 520i, 530i and 540i – three diesels – 520d, 525d and 530d and one hybrid - the 530e iPerformance. To complete the line-up is the full-blooded 592bhp M5.

But the stoic 5 Series is facing a new threat. It’s no longer just a case of rivalling the quality within its own class (which has plenty of it to offer); now buyers are showing a trend of ditching traditional segments in favour of more fashionable SUVs and compact saloons.

The 5 Series, then, needs to lay down a case that it’s more enviable and appealing than ever.

Even with all these upgrades, is it compelling enough to remain in the pantheon of modern machines and keep buyers interested? Let’s find out.

Save money on your car insurance

Compare quotesCompare insurance quotes

First drives

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Hyundai i30 N
    Standard spec is good so paint colour is our car’s only option
    First Drive
    23 April 2018
    What’s Hyundai’s first hot hatch and N-brand debutant really like? Let’s find out
  • Jaguar E-Pace 2018 review hero front
    Car review
    20 April 2018
    Can Jaguar’s compact SUV bring flair and dynamic polish to a fast-growing class?
  • Audi TT RS Coupé
    First Drive
    20 April 2018
    The Audi TT RS has the looks, a vociferous engine and the supercar-baiting performance, but is it too uncompromising to use as a daily driver?
  • Lamborghini Urus review 2018 hero front
    First Drive
    19 April 2018
    The supercar maker's new 4x4 is massively capable wherever it goes, while being extremely conspicuous and costly while it does it
  • Skoda Kodiaq
    First Drive
    19 April 2018
    High-spec seven-seater Kodiaq begins its family life with a lot to prove — for Skoda and SUVs