BMW 5 Series Review

Luxurious, spacious and sporty: the BMW 5 Series hides many talents behind its sharp design

Strengths & weaknesses

  • Hi-tech options, including driverless features
  • Comfortable and luxurious inside
  • Agile and involving to drive
  • The most expensive BMW 5 series yet
  • Lots of expensive optional extras
  • The car has grown in length and width
BMW 5 Series prices from £12,990.
Finance from £269.77 / month.

A spacious family car with cutting edge technology and the sort of agility in corners that wouldn't shame a sports car: the BMW 5 Series aims to be all things to all drivers and - compared to the competition - it's not far off.

Longer and wider than the old BMW 5 Series that it replaced, thenew car retains a sporty look, with its long nose and low silhouette. There’s still plenty of room inside, thanks to extra space. so adults should have no problem getting comfortable in he front or back. The boot has also increased, by ten litres, making it capacious enough to swallow all the luggage required for most family trips.

The interior also has the latest version of BMW’s iDrive software, with a 10.25-inch touchscreen for controlling media, navigation and connectivity functions. It uses a new system of tiles for the individual functional menus, just like a smartphone, along with swiping, gesture control and voice commands to make it simpler and less distracting to use on the move.

The system also includes BMW’s ConnectedDrive suite of services, which includes integration with a smartphone app, online concierge service, remote control parking (using the key from outside the car), wireless Apple CarPlay and use of Microsoft Office 365 to enable access to email and calendar from the car.

The fit and finish is also exemplary, the seats are very comfortable and supportive and the entire cabin has a quiet and relaxed ambience, with road, engine and wind noise levels all very low.

BMW might not use the slogan ‘Ultimate Driving Machine’ in its advertising any more but it's still what sets the company apart from its competitors. The Audi A6 and Mercedes E-Class have made ground on the 5 Series in recent years, but remain a step behind when it comes to agility in corners, grip, stability, and engaging, responsive steering. It all adds up to a car that's nimble and fun to drive.

These characteristics are allied to comfortable ride quality, which can be tweaked by selecting a range of driving modes to suit every driving style and road condition. For extra grip when accelerating in slippery conditions, the 5 Series is also available with xDrive four-wheel drive (for an extra £2,000 when new).

The new 5 Series also comes with a wide range of driver assistance and safety systems, including semi-autonomous features, under the Personal Co-pilot label, such as lane change assistant and an evasion aid, helping the driver to steer round obstacles in the path of the car.

The engine range has been simplified to just six options (some of which are bewilderingly efficient, on paper) and there are just two trim levels – SE and M Sport – to help buyers make a decision. That said, there are options galore – which soon rack up the already not-inexpensive price of the 5 Series.

And that's the catch with the 5 Series: it maintains he quality and driver engagement that it has built its reputation on, but you pay handsomely for the experience.


Key facts

Warranty 36 months / unlimited mileage
Boot size 530 litres
Width 2126mm
Length 4935mm
Height 1466mm
Tax £10 to £500 in first year, £140 or £450 thereafter

Best BMW 5 Series for...

Best for Economy – BMW 530e iPerformance

On paper, the plug-in hybrid petrol/electric 530e will be the economy champion, with official figures of 141.2mpg and 46g/km of CO2, plus an electric-only range of 29 miles.

Best for Families – BMW 520d

The most popular variant among buyers, the 520d combines 68.8mpg and 108g/km with a 7.5-second 0-62mph and a 146mph top speed.

Best for Performance – BMW 540i xDrive

Until the top-of-the-range M5 is launched, the most powerful, and fastest option for buyers is the 340 horsepower engine in the 540i that can accelerate the car from 0-62mph in 4.8 seconds.


  • February 2016 5 Series goes on sale in UK
  • March 2016 Plug-in hybrid 530e iPerformance and 520d SE EfficientDynamics added to range of engines.

Understanding BMW 5 Series names

Engine 520d

Most BMW 5 Series cars are named according to the engine that they use. All cars start with the number 5 and the larger the number that follows, the more powerful the engine. The letter 'd' indicates a diesel engine, 'i' is used on petrol models and 'e' signifies hybrid power.

Trim level M Sport

Each trim level offers a different amount of standard equipment. The BMW has two: the entry-level SE and more expensive M Sport

Driven wheels xDrive

The standard BMW 5 series uses the engine to power its rear wheels only. But xDrive cars have four-wheel drive

BMW 5 Series Engines

Petrol: 530i, 530e, 540i
Diesel: 520d, 520d ED, 530d

The least powerful 520d diesel engine will be the choice of an overwhelming majority of buyers (around 70%, according to BMW), thanks to its impressive official economy figures – 68.8mpg on the combined cycle and 108g/km – while still managing a 7.5-second 0-62mph time.

An even more efficient version of this engine, the 520d SE EfficientDynamics, has a 72.4mpg fuel consumption figure and CO2 emissions of just 102g/km. All are available with eight-speed Steptronic automatic gearboxes as standard, which are smooth-shifting but also enable driver intervention with paddles behind the steering wheel.

A more powerful 530d diesel knocks almost two seconds off the 0-62mph sprint time, but also lowers fuel economy to 60.1mpg and increases CO2 emissions to 124g/km. The additional power is tangible on the road, with a lot more acceleration at the driver’s disposal.

Both 520d and 530d variants are available with xDrive four-wheel-drive systems that switch power to the wheels with most traction. The addition of xDrive costs around £2,000 and worsens fuel economy: in the 520d, it makes the car marginally slower from a standing start, but quickens the 530d.

On the petrol side, the 530i is powered by a new 2-litre engine. The 0-62mph time is 6.2 seconds.

Until the range-topping M5 performance model arrives at the end of 2017, the quickest car in the 5 Series range is the 540i xDrive, which harnesses its available 340PS to return a 4.8 second 0-62mpg time, while official fuel consumption is 39.2mpg – although that is likely to be considerably lower in real-world use.

The most intriguing version is likely to be the 530e iPerformance plug-in hybrid that goes on sale in March 2017, which has official figures of 141.2mpg and 46g/km. True, those figures are set using a complicated formula in a laboratory, so don’t expect to be able to replicated them in the real world, unless your daily commute is less than the 530e’s electric-only range of 29 miles and you only rarely have to use the petrol engine.



Fuel economy


Acceleration (0-62mph)

Top speed







520d ED






520d xDrive












530d xDrive







Petrol/electric hybrid











540i xDrive






BMW 5 Series Trims

SE, M Sport

BMW has reduced the number of trim levels for this latest 5 Series, so it’s now available in SE and M Sport., plius a lengthy list of additional options that can add thousands of pounds to the cost of the car.

SE models come with standard equipment that includes 17-inch alloy wheels (18-inch on 530 and 540 models), dual-zone air conditioning, ambient interior lighting, Bluetooth, emergency call, the Professional Multimedia Navigation Touch infotainment system, DAB digital radio, leather-upholstered seats, front and rear parking sensors, rain sensors with automatic headlights, multifunction steering wheel, front seats with part-electrical adjustment and LED headlights and rear lights.

For an extra £3,000 (on 320d variants) or £3,300 (for 530 and 540 models), M Sport cars add 18-inch alloys (19-inch for 530 and 540), LED front foglights, aerodynamic bodystyling, M Sport suspension, M Sport brakes (for 530 and 540 variants), leather dashboard and front Sport seats.

Optional extras include a four-zone climate control system and Ambient Air package, which uses ionisation to improve the air quality inside the car (and fragranced), a number of different sound systems (including a 16-speaker Bowers and Wilkins surround sound set-up), a Rear-Seat Experience with 10.2-inch screens and Blu-Ray player, nine different alloy wheel designs and 23 colour variations.

BMW 5 Series Reliability and warranty

The new 5 Series has only just been launched, so it’s too early to determine how reliable it is. However, the previous generation was 55th overall in the 2016 Driver Power survey, although BMW only came 21st in the list of 32 manufacturers.

BMW has a three-year, unlimited-mileage warranty that is very similar to its rivals in the premium market – none of whom has taken the plunge to offer anything on a par with the warranties from Korean manufacturers Hyundai and Kia, which offer five and seven years respectively.

Used BMW 5 Series

The BMW 5 Series is expected to hold its value well. Experts predict that it will be worth around half of its new price after three years.

However, it's clear that it loses much of that value on the first year, making 2017 cars between £8,000 and £10,000 cheaper than the official new price. This means that prices for the current BMW 5 Series start at around £25,000 or £350 a month on the used market.

It's a considerable saving but it's still a high price for many, so the previous-generation 5 Series is the best option if you're looking to spend less, particularly as it still compares well to modern cars, with efficient engines, relatively recent technology and the same sporty character as the latest model.

You'll find both saloon and Touring (estate) versions of the current 5 Series on sale for less than £30,000, with diesel engines most common in this price range.

The more powerful petrol models tend to be more expensive, starting at around £32,000 or £400 per month, although these are typically well-equipped in M Sport specification.

The hybrid BMW 530e iPerformance isn't exempt from the sharp drop in value during the first year, cutting the cost of these models which benefit from low company car tax, to less than £40,000, or around £550 per month, on the used market.

Other Editions

5 Series (2010 – 2017)

The BMW 5 Series saloon offers an unbeatable blend of performance, comfort and low running costs

5 Series Touring (2017)

Handsome, spacious and better to drive than an SUV, the largest BMW estate is one of the best upmarket load luggers money can buy