As for the engine, it may not be the newest unit out there, but it’s certainly effective. Performance is strong enough for full-throttle to rarely be required and BMW’s mastery of the eight-speed ZF auto 'box continues. Shifts are smooth when they should be and swift when you start playing with the manual mode.
Refinement is impressive, too; it isn’t quite as hushed and vibration-free as the equivalent Audi A6, but it manages to be quieter than the E-Class and XF during normal use. Yes, it gets a bit coarser when you’re pushing on, but what four-cylinder diesel engine doesn’t?
Inside, things don’t look too different at first glance. The layout is familiar enough, but there have been plenty of detail changes including the raising of the infotainment screen, addition of a fully digital instrument display and a wholesale lift in material quality.
It’s that good that it’s time for a cliché alert: it really does feel like a miniature 7 Series. You’ll be looking a very long time before you see anything approaching a hard surface, the switchgear feels delightfully precise and all the key touch points feel top-notch. This is how executive interiors should be done.
It’s a shame then, that rear seat space isn’t quite as generous as in some rivals. It’s not that it’s pokey, but an E-Class or Volvo S90 would have a good lot more leg room. If you’re likely to carry particularly tall rear passengers, it’s something that's worth considering.
Should I buy one?
If you’re after the best-handling executive saloon out there, then the 5 Series probably isn’t for you. Yes, it’s exceedingly good, but a Jaguar XF is a bit more involving and agile.
If we’re honest, though, most cars of this type won’t be spending much of their time on motoring nirvana roads. If anything, it’ll be the exact opposite - the hellish reality of our crowded motorway network. Here, the 5 Series really appeals in its ability to play the cosseting luxury barge to a tee, while also providing enough engagement to keep a keen driver entertained on their favourite stretch of Tarmac. Factor in the top-quality interior, and this is the most-rounded executive saloon currently on sale.