BMW 5 Series Touring Review

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

Strengths & weaknesses

  • Good to drive
  • Spacious cabin
  • Large boot with clever tailgate
  • No hybrid or plug-in version
  • Cost of active safety features
  • Mercedes E-Class estate larger still
BMW 5 Series Touring prices from £18,995.
Finance from £337.37 / month.

BMW 5 Series Touring prices from £18,995   Finance from £337.37 per month

The 5 Series has long been the benchmark by which other large, comfortable cars are judged, and the current estate model - the BMW 5 Series Touring - is no exception. The 5 Series Touring is well worth considering if you want a little more cargo space than you’d find in a large saloon without sacrificing any of the quality or comfort. Equally, if you drive a high-riding SUV, you may just miss the feeling of being connected to the road, and in this respect cars like the 5 Series Touring deliver a subtly superior driving experience thanks to their low stance and involving feel.

There's no shortage of competition here. Upmarket estates are held in high esteem by consumers and although cars of this type have suffered from reduced sales in the wake of the SUV boom, they still have a place in today's market. The Audi A6 Avant, Jaguar XF Sportbrake, Mercedes E-Class Estate and Volvo V90 are all vying for your luggage set, child seats, bicycles, four-legged friends, furniture or whatever else you choose to throw at them.

This latest generation of the BMW 5 Series Touring costs from roughly £40,000 to well over £55,000 new, though used models are available from £12,990 or £310.95 per month on BuyaCar. Depending on your budget, you'll have a choice of petrol or diesel engines, but sadly the plug-in hybrid which has proved so popular in the 5 Series saloon - especially with those wanting an alternative to diesel and company car drivers looking to reduce their benefit-in-kind tax bills - is not available in estate models.

The interior is kitted out with the latest version of BMW’s 'iDrive' software, with a rotary controller down by the gearstick for the 10.3-inch media system - plus touchscreen controls - for functions including media, sat-nav and phone elements. It can be operated in much the same way as a smartphone, as it responds to swiping fingers, voice commands or even gestures made with your fingers – although you’ll have to pay an extra £160 for the latter - we see no problem with sticking the rotary controls though.

As standard, BMW includes its ConnectedDrive suite of services which take the humble family car a step closer to being integrated with nearly every aspect of your work life and home life. You get a smartphone app, online 'concierge service', remote control parking (using the key when outside the car), wireless Apple CarPlay and use of Microsoft Office 365 to enable access to email and your calendar.

Four adults will fit very comfortably in the cabin, but with three adults across the rear seat, it’s slightly more cosy. There are a pair of Isofix attachment points for child seats in the back, you get ventilation ducts and controls in the back (with the option of four-zone climate control) and even the back outer seats can be heated (a £325 option).

In terms of practicality, the rear windscreen opens by itself, so you can pass in a bag or three of shopping and place them on top of something big and heavy that’s already been loaded. Alternatively, the electrically-powered tailgate will rise out of the way and close itself, operating the luggage cover at the same time.

There's space for 570 litres of luggage in the boot, which is good for this class of estate, and as you’d expect the rear seats can be lowered at the touch of a button, while the three-part split/fold arrangement of is handy.

As for driving, the 5 Series Touring steers accurately, feels poised and responsive and the ride comfort is good if you specify your car wisely - avoid the M Sport suspension and run-flat tyres, or stretch to the optional adaptive dampers (a £985 option). Four-wheel drive, known as xDrive, is available on the 540i petrol and 520d and 530d diesel models.

Naturally these days, any car that professes to be advanced comes with a wide range of active safety systems. This one is no exception – but you’ll have to pay a substantial premium for most of them. For example, Driving Assistant Plus costs £2,250, but for that you get active cruise control with a stop and go function, crossing traffic warning, a lane-keeping and changing assistant and even an evasion aid that helps steer around approaching hazards.

Key facts

Warranty Three years/60,000 miles
Width 2126mm
Height 1464mm
Length 4,942mm
Boot space 570/1,700 litres
Tax £170-£855 in the first year, £140 or £460 thereafter

Best BMW 5 Series Touring for...

Best for Economy – BMW 520d SE

Able to return as much as 48mpg, the 2.0-litre turbocharged diesel is the engine to plump for if you want to make every tank of fuel last as many miles as possible.

Best for Families – BMW 520d SE

Because it’s both frugal and powerful enough to cope with almost all driving conditions, we’d say the 520d SE version is all you’ll need from a Touring.

Best for Performance – BMW 540i xDrive M Sport

The 540i petrol might be only slightly faster than the 530d over the 0-62mph sprint - taking just 4.9 seconds - but we reckon the gap widens in all other scenarios. As standard it features four-wheel drive for assured roadholding.


  • June 2017 New-generation 5 Series Touring goes on sale

Understanding BMW 5 Series Touring names

Engine 520d

Petrol engines are designated with an ‘i’, diesels have a ‘d’. There are both 2.0-litre, four-cylinder and 3.0-litre, six-cylinder engines in the diesel and petrol ranges.

Trim SE

There are two trim levels – SE and M Sport – with the latter being slightly more expensive, and featuring firmer suspension.

Driven wheels xDrive

Four-wheel drive is available as an option on 520d, 530d and 540i models and is branded as xDrive.

BMW 5 Series Touring Engines

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

Unlike the saloon version of the 5 Series, BMW doesn’t offer a plug-in hybrid option with the Touring. That’s a shame because it restricts choice, for company car drivers in particular.

As it is, the entry-level 520d diesel engine is the most popular unit, and it’s a solid starting point that shouldn’t disappoint. It's a 2.0-litre engine producing 190hp and is able to power the Touring from 0-62mph in 7.8 seconds. Of more significance is the fuel economy; 47.9mpg is possible, and the CO2 emissions are as low as 121g/km.

For more thrust and a little more refinement, you’ll need to upgrade to a 530d. This 3.0-litre, six-cylinder diesel can return up to 43.5mpg, and emits at least 140g/km. It gets from 0-62mph in 5.8 seconds. The xDrive four-wheel drive system is available with both diesel options, with an additional £2,000 cost - but bear in mid that fuel economy will suffer slightly and, like every model, they come with an eight-speed automatic gearbox.

In the petrol range, there are three versions of the same 2.0-litre, four-cylinder engine. The 520i offers 184hp and can accelerate from 0-62mph in 8.2 seconds, while the 530i manages 252hp and 6.5 seconds – a significant increase. The economy for both is not too far apart (see table, below) while the CO2 emissions are the same.

For a serious kick in the back when accelerating, there is the 540i Touring. Offered exclusively with xDrive four-wheel drive, it is a 340hp powerhouse that can go from 0-62mph in 4.9 seconds. However, fuel economy drops to as low as 30mpg.






Top Speed



43.5 – 47.9mpg


7.8 secs


520d xDrive


42.2 – 46.3mpg


7.9 secs




40.9 – 42.2mpg


5.8 secs


530d xDrive


37.7 – 41.5mpg


5.6 secs




34.9 – 39.2mpg


8.2 secs




34 – 36.7mpg


6.5 secs


540i xDrive


30.1 – 31.4mpg


4.9 secs


BMW 5 Series Touring Trims

SE and M Sport

There isn’t a great deal of difference between the levels of standard equipment of the SE and M Sport trims. The latter is all about giving the car a more sporty feel, which is achieved through a combination of cosmetic and mechanical changes.

Those changes include the addition of a unique style of 18 or 19-inch alloy wheel, firmer uprated suspension, larger brakes (for the 530i, 540i and 530d) and various body styling parts, as well as some different interior trim, pedals and steering wheel.

All models come reasonably equipped. There’s dual-zone air conditioning, an automatic luggage cover, Bluetooth with voice control, BMW’s Live Cockpit and a Connected Package (with navigation and Apple CarPlay), cruise control, variable drive modes, parking sensors, heated front seats and automatic lights and wipers.

A host of optional packages could add many more thousands of pounds to the cost of any Touring, should you get carried away. We’d like to see more safety equipment fitted as standard; having to pay £895 or £2,250 for the respective safety packs to have features that are fitted to less expensive cars is far from pleasing.

BMW 5 Series Touring Reliability and warranty

The new 5 Series has improved BMW’s standing in ratings such as the Auto Express Driver Power Survey, taking it from 55th for the previous generation to 36th overall. It was ahead of its class competitors, too.

BMW offers a three-year, unlimited-mileage warranty that is similar to its rivals in the premium market.

Used BMW 5 Series Touring

You can find this generation of 5 Series Touring for sale from as little as £18,000, which will be from 2017. Spend somewhere around £24,000 and you’ll be able to afford a relatively low mileage, 2018 model, with not as much difference in price between the 520d and 530d models. The diesels are by far the more widely available versions; petrols are comparatively rare and cost more

Other Editions

5 Series (2010 – 2017)

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

5 Series (2017)

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