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BMW 5 Series Review

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heycar review

      Launch year
      2017
      Body type
      Premium
      Fuel type
      Petrol, Diesel, PHEV
heycar editorial team

Written by

heycar editorial team

00/10
heycar rating
“Executive saloon tour de force ”

Best bits

  •  Blend of refinement and comfort
  •  Supreme handling
  •  Efficient engines

Not so great

  • Some options are pricey
  • Rear seats not as roomy as some rivals’
  • No all-wheel drive for some models

Read by

BMW 5 Series Exterior Side

Overall verdict

BMW 5 Series Interior

On the inside

BMW 5 Series Exterior Front

Driving

BMW 5 Series Driving Back

How much does it cost to run

BMW 5 Series Driving Side

Prices, versions and specification

Overall verdict

"The BMW 5 Series saloon is a barometer for the executive market. As the sector’s regular best-selling model, when things are good for the 5 Series, they are good for everyone. This is because when the Five is booming, business is booming thanks to the BMW being the desired choice of so many company car drivers."

BMW 5 Series Exterior Side

It’s easy to see why, too. The 5 Series is a superb executive saloon, with top notch refinement and quality throughout. Like its predecessor, BMW's trademark driving enjoyment shines through on a challenging road, although some might feel that the interior feels a little flat against the equally excellent Mercedes-Benz E-Class. However, that’s a very subjective matter.


If your heart’s set on the BMW, you’re unlikely to be disappointed. It has a wonderfully finished cabin and is packed with the latest convenience and safety tech. It also provides ample space for a family of four and is an outstanding long-distance motorway cruiser.  


That’s true even if you go for the basic 520i or 520d models. Despite forming the entry point into the 5 Series range, both come with an automatic transmission as standard, plus they are powerful, torquey and quiet, providing plenty of overtaking punch. Should your budget or company car allowance permit, then the 530i or 530d are even quicker, yet still economical. You also have the choice of a 530e hybrid model, as well as the 540i and 550i models for superlative performance.


As good as the 5 Series is on a long run, it really stands out on a country road. Compared to rivals from Mercedes-Benz and Audi, the BMW is a touch more poised and direct, giving a real sense of connection between the driver and the road. If you really enjoy driving, this is the best car in its class and puts even the Jaguar XF in the shade.


The front seats provide plenty of adjustment, while the back row provides ample space. The boot, too, is a decent size but since this is a saloon its practicality is limited if you want to carry bulky stuff. But if space is a big concern you can always go for the Touring version, which is about as practical as cars come.


Be in no doubt, the BMW 5 Series is a brilliant executive saloon. The Mercedes-Benz E-Class may have a slightly more luxurious feel to its cabin, but the BMW is the more involving to drive. It means the BMW is very easy to recommend, though you may want to try the Merc just to make sure the 5 Series is perfect for you.


If you're looking for the older version, you need our BMW 5 Series (2010-2017) review.


Is the BMW 5 Series right for you?

The success of the BMW 5 Series in all its generations suggests the German firm has struck on the ideal formula for executive saloon car success. That doesn’t mean BMW has ever stopped refining the Five and this latest generation is the very best yet. It offers more cabin space than ever before, which was always a slight negative for rear legroom, and has a superb sense of interior quality.


There are two simple trim choices to pick between and BMW even lets you have the more aggressively styled M Sport model but with the smoother SE suspension as a no-cost option. It’s one we’d choose for the SE set-up’s cushier ride. There’s also a choice of rear- or four-wheel drive for both diesel engines and hybrid models and selected petrol versions.


All of this means its simple to tailor a 5 Series to your needs and thrown in as standard with every version is a level of driving fun that no other car in the executive sector can rival. It makes the BMW that rare thing of a dual personality car without any compromises in achieving either discipline of comfort or agility. If you need more space, the BMW 5 Series Touring is the best estate on the market. There's also the high performance BMW M5.


What’s the best BMW 5 Series model/engine to choose?

Which BMW 5 Series saloon is right for you depends largely on whether you are a private buyer or a company car driver. For those funding the car with their own cash, we’d recommend the 520d in a heartbeat as it offers excellent fuel economy and emissions for a car of this size while also delivering massively on refinement, comfort and performance. We’d also say the all-wheel drive xDrive model makes sense for anyone concerned about winter driving.


Business users will be better off with the 530e in rear-drive M Sport trim as it slashes Benefit in Kind payments to 10 per cent. It also offers an electric-only range of up to 37 miles, while WLTP official combined fuel consumption of up to 201.8mpg will have the company accountant jumping for joy.


As for the decision between SE and M Sport trims, the racier M Sport wins on looks, but we’d take the no-cost option of the SE suspension for a more soothing ride.


What other cars are similar to the BMW 5 Series?

The BMW 5 Series saloon has two main rivals in the shape of the Audi A6 and Mercedes E-Class. Both have vault-like build quality, a fine range of engines and the option of all-wheel drive. The Audi is more slanted towards motorway cruising, while the Mercedes prefers outright comfort to the BMW’s agility.


It’s also worth considering the Jaguar XF, which is closest to the BMW in its driving manners. Volvo’s S90 prefers a soothing ride, while the Maserati Ghibli is an expensive though appealing alternative if you can afford its asking price and running costs.


Learn more

BMW 5 Series Interior

On the inside

BMW 5 Series Exterior Front

Driving

BMW 5 Series Driving Back

How much does it cost to run

BMW 5 Series Driving Side

Prices, versions and specification