From £29,250
Worthwhile efficiency-driven changes to an already excellent car.

Our Verdict

BMW 5 Series

The BMW 5 Series offers a compelling blend of all-round abilities, but wants specifying carefully

  • First Drive

    BMW 520d SE Saloon Auto review

    Buying a 5-series was always a no-brainer, and this facelift has cemented its place at the top of the executive class
  • First Drive

    BMW 518d saloon first drive review

    New entry-level diesel 5-series is a great car in the right specification but it faces stiff competition from the excellent Audi A6 Ultra
Matt Prior
24 February 2007

What is it?

A mildly facelifted new BMW 5-series (fresh from a record sales year), with redesigned lights and bumpers. Inside, there are new door panels, a re-jigged centre console layout and some upgraded materials.

Detail changes are more significant. Petrol engines get latest-generation direct-injection for greater efficiency.

What's it like?

The 530i petrol we tried is better than ever. It’s brilliantly smooth and 14bhp more powerful (at 268bhp), so it knocks 0.2sec off the manual’s 0-62mph time, now 6.3sec.

But the most noticeable change is to the auto gearbox, which has adopted BMW’s latest, trigger-like selector. It’s easy enough to control but lacks the old shift’s more pleasing solid feel because it’s a fly-by-wire system. There’s no hydraulic linkage; gear changes are now made (more quickly) by electric motor (so there are paddles on the wheel, too).

Other efficiency improvements include cooling flaps closed when not needed, a cooling pump that doesn’t operate at full whack all the time and an alternator that does the same; brake-energy regeneration now charges the battery.

The power steering system’s new high-viscosity fluid gives the only chassis change; it’s less sticky, and a touch lighter.

Otherwise the 5-series drives the same as before: better than anything else in the class, with the odd hiccup in ride quality. Only now a 530i will cover 4.6 miles more per gallon, and emits 20g less CO2 per kilometre while it’s doing it.

So should I buy one?

Now more than ever the 5-series makes a case for itself as the default executive car of choice.

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Dallara Stradale
    The Stradale is the first road-legel car from Italian motorsport constructor Dallara
    First Drive
    16 March 2018
    The motorsport constructor's first road car is inspired by Lotus minimalism. Does it thrill on road and track?
  • Hyundai i30 N
    Standard spec is good so paint colour is our car’s only option
    First Drive
    16 March 2018
    What’s Hyundai’s first hot hatch and N-brand debutant really like? Let’s find out
  • Porsche Boxster GTS
    This is the new GTS version of the Porsche Boxster
    First Drive
    15 March 2018
    The 718-generation Boxster is our favourite roadster of the moment – so is this new GTS variant worth the extra outlay?
  • BMW 5 Series
    First Drive
    15 March 2018
    The BMW 5 Series is top of the mid-exec pack, but is there still room for a diesel saloon in everyday family life?
  • Audi A7 front
    First Drive
    14 March 2018
    The new Audi A7 Sportback looks the part, but how does the new Mercedes-Benz CLS rival cope on UK roads? We find out