Just about the classiest way to carry people and luggage.
What is it?
The estate version of BMW’s latest 5 Series comes with more luggage space than ever before to take on rivals from Audi, Mercedes and Jaguar.
How safe is it?
As well as the usual suite of airbags and electronics, the Touring comes with all-round parking sensors, voice control for the infotainment and cruise control with braking function.
Who should buy one?
A third of 5 Series buyers choose the Touring and they comprise business and family buyers looking for comfort, refinement, space and a great driving experience.
Road test by Al Suttie, August 2017
DRIVING AND PERFORMANCE
The BMW badge carries with it certain expectations, yet so does an estate model. In the 5 Series Touring, the German firm has married these two demands with considerable aplomb.
To cope with the loading requirements of its owners, BMW has increased the car’s towing capacity to 2000kg for all models and there’s air-sprung self-levelling rear suspension to keep everything on an even keel. When loaded up, the Touring remains supple and supremely diligent at negotiating corners. Even in M Sport trim, the suspension offers sufficient give never to upset the car’s progress or occupants’ calm.
When you’re running with lighter loads and fewer passengers, there’s little to separate this wagon from its saloon sister. Perhaps a tad more noise enters the cabin on rougher surfaces, but otherwise this car is a delight to drive in all conditions. Its refinement is top notch, while the handling, steering and brakes all offer more than you should ever need on public roads.
Petrol engines are taken care of by turbocharged six-cylinder units in the 530i and all-wheel drive 540i xDrive. Both are rapid and fun, but most buyers will head towards the diesel models.
You can choose the 530d in rear- or four-wheel drive forms and both offer tenacious cornering. Yet it’s the 520d that will be the best-seller and it’s easy to see why when it offers combined economy of 65.6mpg and 114g/km carbon dioxide emissions.
Every 5 Series Touring comes with a slick eight-speed automatic gearbox as standard and it’s a pleasure to use. You also have the Drive Performance Control that lets you tailor the car’s responses to suit the conditions or your mood. For what it’s worth, we soon just left the car in its default Comfort mode that works ideally in almost every situation. You can choose Sport for snappier gearchanges and marginally more steering feel, while Eco Pro maximises the car’s efficiency by reducing power to the air conditioning and being keener to make use of the stop-start function.
SPACE AND PRACTICALITY
BMW has made this Touring longer and wider than its predecessor, which translates into a larger load area of 570 litres when the rear seats are raised. Drop them all down and you free up 1700 litres of cargo capacity, which is not quite as big as a Mercedes E-Class Estate but still useful.
Just as importantly, the BMW’s load bed is completely flat when the back seats are tipped forward. Also, the seats are now split 40-20-40 to give more versatility when juggling passengers and luggage.
What hasn’t changed is the trademark Touring split tailgate with independently opening screen glass. It makes it easy to reach in for smaller items or when dealing with dogs travelling in the boot.
As for passenger space in the back seats, there’s ample room for feet, knees, shoulders and heads, though three abreast is a little snug for a trio adults.
Up front, there’s just as much room as in the saloon and it’s supremely comfortable.
All of the safety kit you’d expect of a car of this class and cost are present, which helps it to a five-star Euro NCAP rating. There’s autonomous emergency braking and six airbags, which only inflate as required so the others can deploy in the event of a secondary collision. A pop-up bonnet protects pedestrians, while the optional Driving Assistant Plus can even help guide the car around hazards.
There are SE and M Sport trims to pick from. The SE comes with 17-inch alloys, air con, cruise control, satnav and leather upholstery, as well as BMW’s Connected Drive system for online services. You also get 40-20-40 split and fold rear seats, a luggage dividing net and a separately opening glass screen. The M Sport adds a body kit, larger wheels, firmer suspension and roof rails in gloss black.
Around 85 per cent of 5 Series Touring buyers will head straight to the 520d version and it’s easy to understand why when it offers 65.6mpg and 114g/km of carbon dioxide emissions. That means this BMW qualifies for low-rate car tax and it won’t trouble company drivers’ wallets much for Benefit in Kind. Whether you lease or buy outright, expect strong residual values of around 42 per cent after three years and 60,000 miles.
WE SAY Just about the classiest way to carry people and luggage.
AT A GLANCE:
Performance: 0-62mph in 7.8 seconds
Economy: 65.6mpg combined
Tax: £160 first year, then £140 standard, plus £310 surcharge for five years
Figures for the 520d M Sport