I’ve always said it, one of the things that I like most about brands like BMW, Audi and Volkswagen is the way in which they keep a steady line every time they introduce the next generation of a vehicle. The biggest change I recall from BMW was when the 5 Series went from being an E39 (1996-2003) to being an E60 (2004-2010). I wasn’t a fan. I used to own an E39 and it was my favourite car at the time. I felt that they took away some of their classiness. However, when the F10 (2010-2016) came out, some of the design changes from 2004 seemed to make sense. It was the start of a new line. The most recent model, the G30, shows the steady line developing and while the subtle changes may not be enough for some, it’s certainly brought me back to loving the 5 Series as a car.
BMW 5 Series Touring video review
Yes, the new BMW 5 Series pretty much looks the same as the outgoing model, but those small changes help to turn this car into a more dynamic vehicle. This new car now weighs up to 100kg lighter, it’s got a completely up-to-date iDrive system, and thankfully (as of yet) there is no GT version – although, this will become the 6 Series GT (G32).
Over the last couple of months, we have got our hands on both the new BMW 5 Series saloon (G30) and the BMW 5 Series Touring (G31). In both saloon and estate form we got to try out the 520d engines and the 530d xDrive.
The saloon felt a little harsher over bumps than the 5 Series Touring. However, the Touring version does come with a self-levelling rear air suspension as standard – which helps if you have bulkier loads in the boot. Both the saloon and estate versions offer a satisfying drive on the road. Steering is very well weighted and body roll is minimal. Taking this car out on most road types is, dare I say it… fun. The Touring feels nicer to drive than the saloon and the 530d xDrive is much more refined than the 520d.
Whether it’s the estate or saloon version of the BMW 5 Series that you are looking at, there can be no doubting that the 520d model will be the biggest seller. The main reason for this is that it’s the least expensive. There are some other practical reasons too. The 520d is more economical than the rest of the range, and as well as that, it’s better in terms of emissions (we haven’t looked at the 530e yet!). Fuel economy aside though, this 4-cylinder engine is very capable. Of course, we’d all prefer a 6-cylinder 265hp 530d xDrive, but the 520d is impressive too. If you tend to look at figures like 0-100km/h, the 520d can do it in an impressive 7.5 seconds (7.8 in the BMW 5 Series Touring). Yep, I’m aware that the 530d xDrive (€69,480 - saloon) can do it 5.4 seconds, and that is very thrilling – but at a price difference of more than €16,500, I’d be happy to settle with the 520d (€52,800).
BMW 5 Series Saloon video review
Of the many stand-out things about the new BMW 5 Series, it must be the 8-Speed automatic gearbox that impresses the most. This is without a doubt the best that I have driven in a BMW. The good news is that it is standard on the BMW 5 Series – and, it comes with flappy paddles, so if you aren’t happy with the speed of changes, you can just change them yourself. Changes from gear to gear are fluid and at no point did I feel it hanging on too long. This coupled with a nice ride and brilliant sound insulation makes the 5 Series one of my favourite cars from 2017. Yes, the suspension can feel stiff sometimes – if you’re running on let’s say 20-inch tyres, you might feel it a bit bumpy on uneven surfaces (we had 20-inch run flats in our 530d xDrive saloon, and it was noticeable).
The interior is excellent too. As expected for your €52k+, the interior quality is very good, but ignoring that, the infotainment system and technologies within this vehicle are top class. Our test models all contained the technology package. This is not cheap. In the 530d xDrive saloon that we drove, it had a price tag of €2,321 – but the technology is excellent. First up is the display key. This is your car key, but it has its own touch screen and it can update you as to the status of your vehicle. For example, if it’s not locked, it’ll let you know. You can also plan to heat the vehicle and do some other funky stuff through it. Then there’s the head-up display – it’s without a doubt the best head-up display that I’ve seen in a car. It’s large, undistracting, very easy to use, and to top it all off, it shows all the data that you’d want to see in a head-up display. Then there’s Gesture Control – where you get to change the channel of the car just by pointing your fingers from a certain position at your stereo. This seems a bit gimmicky – but the technology behind it is pretty cool, and for all we know Gesture Control might be a step towards a future in-car entertainment picture from BMW. Right now, we can kind-of laugh at it and say how useless it is, but if this is a piece from a future jigsaw, I reckon we’ll look back and see the sense behind it.
BMW’s iDrive system is superb too. Apart from being easy to navigate around, it is presented brilliantly and allows access to BMW’s online services. I’m yet to use their mobile app and concierge services, but I have spoken to BMW and they’ve promised to set me up for a few hours where I will only examine the technology and infotainment systems within the vehicle – keep an eye out for that video on our YouTube channel.
All-in, any guise of the new BMW 5 Series will impress you. However, I always point this out, watch the extras list, even without them, these cars are not cheap!
Viewed used BMW 5 Series cars for sale on Car Buyers Guide here.