12 March 2014
BMW rounds off its new 5 Series range with the introduction of the Touring estate model. It offers more space than the 5 GT and the previous Touring model to make a solid case for it being the most complete version of the new Five line-up. BMW is so confident about its new wagon, it reckons it will snaffle sales from its arch rivals at Audi and Mercedes, and the Touring should also account for one in every three new Fives sold. We’re confident this latest 5 Series Touring is one of the most appealing, adaptable estates whether you’re paying with your own cash or the companies as there’s a model here to suit all tastes.
If there’s one thing a BMW has to do well it’s deliver on performance. The whole ‘Ultimate Driving Machine’ shtick has become a rod for BMW’s back of its own making, but luckily for the Germans this latest estate dishes up the goods. Entry point to the 5 Series Touring range price-wise is the 520d, which offers 184bhp and 0-62mph in 8.2 seconds when the motor is attached to the six-speed manual gearbox. Go for the option eight-speed self-shifter and that time only drops a fraction to 8.4 seconds while losing none of the useful mid-rev grunt and refinement of the superb diesel engine. This motor is the pick of the bunch, especially for company drivers, thanks to its blend of strong performance and economy and it makes light work of heavy loads in the 5 Series Touring. The other diesel engines are six-cylinder units all based on the same 3.0-litre turbodiesel. For the 525d, power is at a restrained 204bhp yet it still manages 0-62mph in 7.3 seconds as a manual or auto. Upping the ante is the 530d that serves up 245bhp and a seamless whoosh of low- and mid-rev oomph, which helps cover 0-62mph in 6.4 seconds regardless of which gearbox you prefer. Ultimate diesel performance is delivered by the twin-turbo 535d and its 299bhp. Nought to 62mph is dealt with by the 535d in just 5.7 seconds and top speed is capped at 155mph, making this a massively capable diesel-fuelled sports wagon. If you prefer petrol power, there are 523i, 528i and 535i versions, with the two less potent models sharing the same 3.0-litre engine in 204- and 258bhp forms to give 0-62mph in 8.2- and 6.9 seconds respectively. The 535i also uses a 3.0-litre engine but with twin turbos to conjure up 306bhp for 0-62mph in 6.0 seconds flat with the manual gearbox, or 6.1 second with the auto. In every case, the engines are super smooth, the gearboxes slick and there’s always power on tap for safe overtaking and relaxed cruising.
There’s a choice of the standard suspension set-up with the 5 Series or BMW’s Dynamic Drive Control (DDC), which offers comfort, normal and sport settings. With the optional DDC, it also has an effect on the steering feel to tailor the Five to your preferences. It works very well and, in comfort or normal modes, offers a superb ride for all types of road in the UK. In standard form, the 5 Series is not as plush over the bumps as the Jaguar XF, but the BMW is still impressive and has superb body control for when the driver wants to make the most of the prodigious grip. The only disappointment here is the steering could do with more feel as the electric assistance dulls some of the sensory interaction between the car and driver. Still, refinement in the 5 Series Touring is excellent and all models come with self-levelling rear suspension to keep the car on an even keel when the boot is loaded up.
It’s all good new here as the new 5 Series Touring uses the same engine line-up as the brilliant saloon, and the engines are also tried and tested from other BMW models. The eight-speed automatic gearbox is a new unit but unlikely to cause an concern in the Five, and the rest of the mechanical package should prove tough and durable. Build quality is top notch in this BMW and the panel gaps, fit and finish, inside and out, is first rate to rank alongside the best from any class of car.
It would be a determined thief who tried to pinch a 5 Series without the aid of a key thanks to deadlocks, alarm and immobiliser. For safety, every 5 Series Touring comes with twin front, side and curtain airbags, as well as anti-lock brakes, ESP traction and stability control, and Isofix child seat mounts in the back seats. There’s also an active bonnet for the 5 Series that pops up to create a cushion of space beneath it to better protect pedestrians in the event of a collision. BMW also offers a number of safety features as options, which include Night Vision with pedestrian recognition to spot people and objects in the dark. A head-up display means the driver doesn’t have to move his or her eyes from the road for long, while the Surround View camera helps the driver see out of blind junctions better via a display on the dash-mounted screen. There’s also the option of Lane Departure Warning, Lane Change Warning to tell the driver if there’s something in the blind spot of the door mirrors, and Speed Limit Display.
This is where the 5 Series Touring stands or falls, and this car stands with its head held up high. It may not have the outright load capacity of some rivals, notably the Mercedes E-Class Estate, but the Touring offers a very useful 560-litres of cargo space with the rear seats in place. In this form, there’s little intrusion from the wheelarches and the load sill is low enough to make lifting heavy goods into the boot a simple affair. The rear seats can also be tipped slightly forward to free up a further 30-litres of space with the optional Extended Storage pack or, more relevantly, allow big square boxes to be stowed easily. Fold all of the rear seats and there’s a maximum of 1670-litres of luggage capacity, or this can be varied with passenger needs thanks to the 40/20/40 split and topple rear seats rather the more usual 60/40 arrangement found in most wagons. As with the previous 5 Series Touring, the rear screen opens separately from the main tailgate to let the user reach into the boot easily. When the tailgate is opened, the luggage cover automatically retracts and replaces itself when the lid is closed. For people, the Five offers superb room in the front with excellent all-round vision and comfort, while space in the back is good for the outer two passengers. The transmission tunnel robs foot space for the person sat in the middle seat, though.
BMW says the 5 Series Touring will enjoy the strongest used values of the three main German executive estates. This makes is a sound buy for private users and will help keep lease rates at a decent level for company buyers. Business users will appreciate the 520d’s 135g/km (139g/km with the auto ’box) carbon dioxide emissions, and everyone will like the 54.4mpg average economy on offer (53.3 with the auto). The starting point for the 5 Series range is the SE model, which comes with leather seats, air conditioning, cruise control, electric windows all-round and Bluetooth connectivity. The 520d also has Auto Start-Stop as standard for the first time on a BMW 5 Series to help with economy and emissions. As the Touring arrives, so does BMW’s popular M Sport version of the 5 Series, which includes a sporty bodykit, 18in M Sport alloy wheels, sports suspension and hip-gripping sports seats.
Submitted: 15/09/2010 10:30:31
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