As with exterior, the BMW 5 Series’ cabin is all about restraint. Beyond the joystick-style gearlever, there is little here that is likely to offend.
The Mercedes-Benz E-Class' dashboard is now dominated by two 12.3in large screens and the virtue of fewer and larger buttons, but once you’re familiar with it the 5 Series presents no problems to navigate. And for what it’s worth, in our opinion it is the BMW that has the more attractive appearance and upmarket feel.
Ergonomically there is just one fault: the pedals are slightly offset to the right. In other respects the seating position offers adequate space and adjustment for most shapes, and the major controls are well sited.
But it is in the rear of the cabin that the 5 Series’ extended wheelbase pays most dividends, with more shoulder and legroom than the previous model. There’s enough to accommodate two full-size adults in comfort (three at a push), and enough to trouble the E-Class.
Luggage space of 520 litres is fractionally less than the class average, but by only a few litres; the E-Class holds 540 litres. Although the space is uniformly shaped, it is quite narrow between the rear arches.