The BMW 5 Series is the default executive saloon, for good reason.
When it comes to executive class, business saloons it’s long been a fight between the BMW 5 Series, Mercedes-Benz E-Class and Audi A6. The BMW’s traditionally been the choice for drivers, but it’s also an economy champion.
What is it?
The BMW 5 Series, or as rival car company engineers might refer to it ‘the benchmark’. The 5 Series has long been regarded as the most competent, enjoyable to drive all-rounder in its class, and that’s not changed, even if the gap’s not what it once was between it and its competition. It’s sold with everything from four-cylinder diesel engines to turbocharged V8s under its bonnet, though the taxman here in Ireland means it’s the 518d and 520d versions that make up all the sales.
What is it like?
Sure, we’d all love an M5, but the economic reality makes that unlikely. Still, the 518d and its slightly more powerful (same engine, though) relation, the 520d, aren’t poor substitutes. That 518d produces 150hp, which might not sound too impressive, but it’s backed up with a decent 360Nm of torque, which makes light work of the 5. It’s a decent steer, the chassis balance excellent, the engines refined and the gearbox (manual or autos) slick. The fuel consumption and emissions are also very low.
Carzone verdict: 4.5/5
Having your cake and eating it? Certainly with the BMW 5 Series there’s an argument for that, as it's arguably at its best in its fuel-sipping, low CO2 emitting entry-level diesel guises. That’s useful given the tax constraints on buyers here. A comfortable, prestigious sporting saloon that looks good, is impeccably built and has all the badge appeal you could ever want, the 5 Series remains a very desirable buy, though newer rivals are closer than they’ve ever been, and, in some cases are actually preferable.