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Price, fuel economy and range, finance and depreciation

This is the area where the BMW 5 Series has the clearest advantage over its rivals.

Take the 520d, as many thousands of company users will. It is more economical than a Mercedes E-Class 200 CDI. The Audi A6 2.0 TDI may match the BMW’s economy figures, but the BMW is 0.6sec quicker to 60mph. Without options, the BMW is cheaper than the Audi, too.

Residual values are impressive thanks to solid demand for used examples

It’s a similar story with the estate. Not only is the BMW 520d Touring faster than its rivals, but it is also cleaner and consequently the most affordable car in its class to run. 

Moreover, the petrol engines are similarly class-leading in terms of performance. The 528i not only offers almost 40bhp advantage over a Mercedes E250 CGI, it also emits less CO2.

The entire 5 Series range is priced competitively, and the decent standard spec means there is no need to spend a fortune on options – although it is a shame that buyers must opt for variable damper control if they want the best balance of ride and handling.

Even so, given that it has fine residuals, economy and emissions, the 5 Series Touring does nothing wrong in this area.

Notes of warning? The more powerful diesels’ economy disappoints when compared with the 520d (and the new Audi A6), but still offer impressive figures given the level of performance on offer.