BMW’s 5 Series is widely recognised as one of the very best executive saloons, and the Touring model has all its stablemate’s excellent qualities, as well as extra load capacity and versatility. And it’s still a great driving machine, making it a top choice for keen drivers with a family, sports kit or dogs to transport.
The design of the 5 Series Touring is a well-judged blend of functionality and flair. The BMW kidney grille flows seamlessly into the slim LED headlights, sculpted side panels give extra form and expression to the profile and the long roof sweeps down to a tapered rear tailgate and roof spoiler. The side windows end at the C Pillar with a version of BMW’s design signature ‘Hofmeister kink’ and in M Sport trim all the exterior brightwork is finished in high-gloss black Shadowline. It’s a good-looking machine, and as a thoughtful touch the rear screen will hinge open for when there’s not enough space to life the tailgate. Another clever idea; the load blind moves back and forth automatically when you open or shut the tailgate.
The 5 Series Touring is offered with a choice of three petrol and two diesel engines. To take the petrol variants first, the 520i hits the 0-62mph benchmark in 8.2 seconds, the 530i cuts that to 6.4s, and the range-topping 540i xDrive manages a very swift 4.9 seconds for the sprint. Combined fuel consumption for the most frugal 520i is between 35.3-39.2mpg on the WLTP measure.
Two diesels are available, the 520d and 530d, but the latter can be had with or without BMW’s excellent xDrive all-wheel drive system. Performance on the 0-62mph measure is 7.5 seconds for the 520d, 5.8 for the rear drive 530d and 5.6s for the 530d xDrive. If you’re looking for low fuel consumption, the 520d is the best choice with a combined figure of 47.9-53.3mpg, depending on the exact specification.
BMW’s iDrive is one of the best infotainment control systems around, offering a choice between using the 10.25” control display touchscreen and the separate iDrive controller, which many drivers find more user friendly than taking their eyes off the road to stab at a screen menu. Other standard features include front and rear park distance control, rain sensor with auto headlight activation, auto tailgate operation, ambient interior lighting and cruise control with braking function. You also get a free three-year subscription to Connected Music, allowing you to stream songs directly courtesy of BMW’s music partners Deezer and Napster, using the in-car SIM card.
All models come with six airbags and a host of electronic driver aids, including stability control. Automatic emergency braking (AEB), with pedestrian detection, is also standard and reduces the chance of a distracted driver accidentally running into the car (or person) in front. Options include lane-departure warning, automatic high-beam assist for the headlights, a driver fatigue detector and speed limit recognition.
If you like the award-winning 5 Series saloon but need a little extra load space and versatility, you’ll love the 5 Series Touring. The standard rear self-levelling suspension means it can swallow heavy loads without losing its poise, its cabin is a model of ergonomic and functional design, there’s a choice of drivetrains from the potent to the sensationally fast, and it looks great in the directors’ car park. Even if you’re thinking of an SUV, give a 5 Series Touring a try first…you could be glad you did.