BMW 5 Series Touring Review logo

BMW 5 Series Touring Review

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heycar review

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

Written by

heycar editorial team

00/10
heycar rating
“Possibly the best premium estate”

Best bits

  • Excellent balance of handling and comfort
  • Flexible 2.0-litre diesel engine
  • Appealing cabin

Not so great

  • Rough ride in M Sport models
  • Back seats suited to two not three

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BMW 5 Series Touring Exterior Front

Overall verdict

BMW 5 Series Touring Interior

On the inside

BMW 5 Series Touring Driving Front

Driving

BMW 5 Series Touring Driving Side

How much does it cost to run

BMW 5 Series Touring Driving

Prices, versions and specification

Overall verdict

"If you have the money to buy a big premium estate then you’re spoilt for choice. The 5 Series Touring is spacious, comfortable, attractive inside and out and great to drive. Get the right specification for you and you’ll have a car you won’t ever want to sell."

BMW 5 Series Touring Exterior Front

Reputation and a strong back catalogue counts for a lot in premium-car land, and nowhere is that more apparent than when it comes to medium estate cars. There’s been an estate - okay, Touring - version of the BMW 5 Series saloon going all the way back to the late 1980s, and its success has been down to successfully retaining the quality and enjoyable driving experience of the saloon but with a hefty slice of additional practicality.


From the front you’re highly likely to mistake the Touring for its saloon sibling. It’s not until you get to beyond the rear doors that there’s any real difference in the bodywork, but BMW has integrated the wagon tailgate neatly into the design. This is still a handsome car - there’s no shame in preferring it to the saloon in fact - so you won’t feel like you’re driving around in a glorified van.


This is not a ‘lifestyle’ estate though - not only does it have the space, it also has some clever features that make it extra practical. You’re paying extra over the saloon for the estate rear end, so it needs to deliver. There’s 570 litres of boot space with the rear seats in place and a significant 1,700 litres with the seats folded, and the rear bench is split 40/20/20 so you can carry two passengers and have bigger loads too.


There’s lots of choices to be made when it comes to engine options. On the petrol front there’s a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder in 184PS and 252PS forms (badged 520i and 530i respectively) as well as a 3.0-litre, six-cylinder petrol with 333PS (badged 540i). On the diesel front there’s a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder with 190PS and a 3.0-litre, six-cylinder with 286PS, and all options have mild hybrid technology. The Touring will also be available in plug-in hybrid form late in 2020.


Inside, the 5 Series Touring is highly appealing, wherever you happen to be sitting. There’s plenty of space for starters, with plenty of space for four adults. You can fit a fifth in the middle but it’s not a full-width seat and has a transmission tunnel stealing some of the legroom. The layout of the fascia is textbook BMW - it’s swimming in tech, but manages to avoid looking like the inside of the Space Shuttle.


To drive, the Touring offers an almost identical driving experience as the saloon. So you get strong performance from every engine option, good grip and finely balanced handling that makes it a real pleasure to drive. It is spec-sensitive - there are three suspension options depending on the model so it’s important to choose the one that’s right for you - but the fundamentals are excellent.


The 5 Series Touring is a popular choice of premium wagon and with good reason, mainly because it delivers so consistently in so many areas. It’s great to drive, comfortable, spacious, smart, safe and nice to look at. It’s not cheap and you need to be careful with the spec, but no one could fault your decision making by choosing the 5.


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


Is the 5 Series Touring right for you?

If you have a small to medium sized family but the idea of an MPV or SUV makes you wince, then the 5 Series Touring will happily step in. If you have small children in car seats or older ones that like to complain about stuff, you don’t need to worry - the Touring can handle them both. If you need a car to use every day for commuting the Touring can happily do that too - the refinement on offer is strong so you can cover big distances with ease.


If you like the idea of all these features but don’t really need the extra space, then you can save a bit of money by going for the Saloon. Similarly, if you spend a lot of time doing short journeys and are in and out of town a lot, you might want to consider something a bit smaller.


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

Even if you’ve decided the Touring is the car for you, you still need to make some crucial decisions. With a sensible head on, the 520d is all most people will ever need. It’s surprisingly quick but also the most economical. If it has to be petrol, the 540i is lovely to drive but thirsty - we’d hang on for the plug-in hybrid version. You can have most models in xDrive four-wheel-drive form too, but for most people there’s no need, as it just adds expense and weight.


The two trims available are SE and M Sport, with the latter adding bigger wheels and appealing cosmetic add-ons. The SE is the most sensible, but if you go for the more appealing M Sport we’d suggest specifying either the standard suspension or the upgraded adaptive suspension option - the sports suspension that’s standard on M Sports hurts the ride too much.


What other cars are similar to the 5 Series Touring?

There’s some very obvious competition for the 5 Series. The Mercedes-Benz E-Class and Audi A6 Avant are the key German competition - the E-Class is a little more comfortable and spacious, while the A6 has the smartest cabin and the best build quality. Jaguar also has a contender with the XF Sportbrake, which is the nicest to drive of the lot, while Volvo’s V90 is stylish, distinctive and practical too.

Learn more

BMW 5 Series Touring Interior

On the inside

BMW 5 Series Touring Driving Front

Driving

BMW 5 Series Touring Driving Side

How much does it cost to run

BMW 5 Series Touring Driving

Prices, versions and specification