What is it?
Following the launch of last year’s award-winning saloon, BMW has moved onto the 5 Series second variant: the eminently likeable Touring. The estate version remains something of a European preoccupation (96 percent of the volume never leaves the continent), but that’s hardly limited the model’s success: the outgoing generation was the most popular yet, and accounted for almost a third of all 5 Series sold in the UK.
Regarding the latest version, the big news, appropriately, is bigness. The car is marginally larger in all directions than the model it replaces, and improves on the saloon’s seat-up boot volume by around 40 litres. At 570 litres, it only offers 10 litres more than its predecessor, but the permissible load limit is up by 120kg to as much as 730kg.
The reason for the payload gain is simple enough: alongside now standard self-leveling air suspension at the back, BMW has cut up to 100kg from the previous model’s kerbweight thanks to a more sophisticated mix of materials in the 5 Series new platform and body (the tailgate is now made of aluminium, for example).
Predictably, the weight loss results in wider efficiency gains. At launch, BMW will offer two petrol engines and three diesel in the UK – all mated to the eight-speed Steptronic automatic. Most notable in volume terms are the 520d and 530d, the respective 188bhp 2.0-litre four-pot and 261bhp 3.0-litre straight-six (the latter also offered in xDrive format).
BMW claims up to an 11 percent improvement in fuel consumption, making the 520d a 62.7mpg prospect. The 530d’s combined claim improves to 56.4mpg against a 5.8 seconds 0-62mph sprint. The 520d starts at a premium tax rate swerving £38,385; the 530d, £46,235 (with a £2k walkup to the xDrive variant).