For more than 40 years, the German-made BMW 5 Series has been salivated over by senior managers across the world.
The estate model is awesome, but it’s the saloon that gets pulses racing. The booted 5 still exudes more kudos than many exec motors - and the seventh embodiment of this Bavarian brute has shown the likes of Audi and Mercedes-Benz that the 5 Series will always be a hard nut to crack.
The 2017 BMW 5 Series is faster and lighter than the resigning model - it’s also more cost-effective. Unsurprisingly, the car is bloated with better technology and it’s been given a shot in the arm in the comfort division.
It’s a good-looking machine, too – with a conventionally handsome exterior not radically different from the withdrawing model, but now a little more like its larger, 7 Series sibling. The understated changes could possibly be perceived as lazy, but BMW has tried to craft braver shapes before and it hasn’t been a popular move. So, looking like a compact BMW 7 Series is no bad thing for the fresh 5 Series.
Inside is a similar story – the car is visually very alike the retiring 5 Series. If you’ve driven an up to date BMW, you’ll be familiar with the arrangement of the controls, but there’s now an added emphasis on quality. While the previous generation BMW 5 Series had a decent cabin, it had dropped behind Mercedes’ E-Class, in terms of finish and style; it just didn’t feel as superior. From a design viewpoint, some may feel that’s still the case, but now the quality is more than a match for its competitor’s offerings.
Tech has developed now to the point where autonomous technologies are being drip-fed into new vehicles. For that reason, this latest generation BMW 5 Series has the ability to autonomously accelerate, brake and steer around obstacles – ideal for long-haul driving. The 5 Series can also park itself without you being inside it. This is achieved via BMW’s new ‘remote control’ key. The tech is truly remarkable, but you must have the patience to put your faith into it.
The state-of-the-art BMW is good for five-up, and the boot boasts 530-litres of cargo space. This is great for a big shopping trip or for some golf bags. That said, the boot is a bit clumsy to load, because of its shape.
General build quality outshines any other 5 Series – and that’s saying something. The 2017 5 Series is magnificently finished and the Bavarian brand has stepped up in providing the first-rate, refined feel the former 5 Series was starting to leave behind.
On the move, the new 5 Series is everything you could hope for. In the driver’s seat, you’re comfortably low-slung, and the vibrant clocks and wraparound dashboard make you feel like you’re at the controls of an aeroplane. All the switchgear operates with a graceful action and it falls easily to hand.
Even though the cutting-edge BMW 5 Series is broader by 6mm and longer by 36mm, the four-cylinder, 190ps, 520d M Sports Saloon we drove tugs like a train. The 0-62mph sprint is over in a mere 7.5 seconds – and the top speed is 146mph.
Steer into a snaking slice of tarmac and the booted 520d M Sports answers promptly to your input, while the BMW’s Comfort, Sport and ECO PRO settings - each shifting the steering response throttle and – will fit your temperament, as well as weather and road conditions, faultlessly.
But, let’s be blunt; 2017’s 5 Series will be used to hoover up motorway miles more often than being hammered through hairpins. We had no concerns gliding at 70mph up and down the UK’s motorway network for this test. Indeed, the feisty 5 Series smooths out bumps and lumps, making any kind of blacktop - even pothole-peppered tarmac - feel decent.
Anticipate forking out £39,835 for the 190ps BMW 2017 520d M Sports Saloon we assessed. But if you are a professional selecting this as your company vehicle, it will give you those reduced emissions you will want for reduced benefit in kind tax demands. This energetic model emits only 114g/km of CO2 - and you’ll be happy to hear it will return up to 65.7mpg.
Pros ‘n’ Cons
- Performance √
- Efficiency √
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- Divisive Image X
Fast Facts (BMW 520d M Sports Saloon)
- Max speed: 146 mph
- 0-62 mph: 7.5 secs
- Combined mpg: 65.7
- Engine layout: 1,995cc 4-cylinder turbo diesel
- Max. power (PS): 190
- CO2: 114 g/km
- Price: £39,835
Written by motoring journalist, Tim Barnes-Clay.
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