BMW 5 Series Touring (2010 - 2017)

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reviewed by Anonymous on 18 October 2012
4
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5

520d SE Auto 5dr Estate

reviewed by a900ss on 1 September 2012
5
Overall rating
5
How it drives
4
Fuel economy
4
Experience at the dealership
5
How practical it is
4
How you rate the manufacturer
5
Overall reliability

The only car you'll ever need.

I’ve had a BMW 520d touring auto from 29th May and here are my first thoughts after 6 weeks and 4,500 miles of driving.

My car is SE specification with no options other than an 8 speed automatic gearbox. It has standard 17 inch wheels and run flat tyres (no spare). Exterior colour of blue and a beige leather interior. I do circa 30,000 miles a year so comfort is my priority but I do drive ‘swiftly’ so do expect a car to handle on the B roads as well as the motorways. I do very little town driving as I live in rural Gloucestershire but I do a fair bit of motorway driving.

First things first, the headlights are dire. This is a company car and at the top end of my budget which left no room for options unless I paid the full value of the options myself. With hindsight, I would have specced Xenon’s. I had them on my last car and were amazing. Going back to halogen, and the BMW halogens in particular, is a very retrograde step. I have checked other forums in case it is me expecting more than I should but it does seem to be a very regular complaint – the 5 series needs to have Xenons if you want to drive at night!!!!! OK, Rant over.

In every other respect the car is fantastic. It is super comfortable for a family of four and dog, quiet, refined, quick, handles well (especially for such a large car) and reasonably economical.

The car is very large, the bonnet exceptionally so. Interior space up front is excellent and you sit quite low in the car, you feel very coc***ed. Quality of the trim is the best I have ever experienced and I have driven plenty of Audi/Mercs/BM’s before. The car has quite a long wheelbase which combined with an ‘average at best’ steering lock and thick pillars makes car parks sometime challenging. I am more than competent at driving (ex HGV1) but it is a large car with restricted vision in smaller spaces. Drive slowly and it’s fine. The upside of this is that on the road, it is supremely relaxing and just eats up the miles. It is ultra quiet and everybody I have given a lift to has remarked how quiet the car is when travelling. This can cause an issue on motorways as unless you are on cruise control you can very easily be travelling at a higher speed than thought/sensible.

The car does have a ‘Sport/Comfort/Eco Pro’ button by the side of the gearbox and it does make a real difference. I don’t bother with Eco Pro. It works up to 75MPH and is supposed to dial down the air con and electrical systems to save fuel. In real life if saves hardly any fuel but the car is as responsive as me when I am asleep.
Comfort is where I spend most of my time, car behaves like a lazy auto should changes up between 1700 and 2000 RPM in normal driving and is very smooth. Car will accelerate quickly when you kickdown.

Sport is the B road blast option. It holds gears longer, turns traction control down a bit and won’t engage 8th gear. Nice for when the mood grabs.

As I don’t have the adaptive suspension option, the sport/comfort button doesn’t alter the ride but it rides just about right for me on the standard 17’s. I would be the first to admit that I would prefer bigger rims for aesthetics but as a day to day car, 17’s are the sweet spot for ride/handling. I would not consider M Sport suspension at all. The SE is firm enough for a back road blast and comfortable enough on the motorway.

The engine is certainly big enough for propelling the car up the road even if it does weigh in at 1.8 tonnes. Overtaking is no problem whatsoever and I expect this to get better as it loosens up over the next 20,000 miles or so. At 80MPH the car is turning over at just over 2,000 RPM.

Even though the car is ‘bog standard’, the included kit is still impressive and some highlights are:
Bluetooth integration to phone is fantastic. Some people are surprised when I tell them that I am driving as they just can’t tell.
Ipod Integration with the I-Drive displays album artwork and you can control the ipod directly with the I-Drive – very good.
E-mails, SMS and my calendar can be displayed on the I-Drive screen from my BlackBerry (iPhone will work from ios6 release). When stationary you can view the complete e-mail, when moving you can just read the headers.
Can program the ventilation to come on 30 minutes before you get in the car to cool it down with ambient air. Handy for these hot days we are currently experiencing!!!!

MPG – I guess a lot of people are interested in this and I am happy with what it is delivering. I have done a lot of driving with a roofbox on and with 4 bikes on the roof which is all sub 40MPG but in normal driving I am getting just over 45MPG. This is measured brim to brim, the actual computer reckons I get an additional 2MPG. If I were to drive on the motorway at 70MPH, the car would be delivering well in excess of 50MPG. I don’t so it doesn’t.

Other notes:
Engine oil warms up very quickly, within 3 miles. I guess this will be different in the winter (note I wrote oil not water – it doesn’t have a water gauge, just an oil temp gauge and oil takes longer to warm than oil)
In the sun you do get an annoying reflection in the windscreen. I wear polarised sunglasses so it isn’t an issue for me.
Also in the sun, you can get an annoying reflection from the shiny black trim in the central reservation. Why can’t trim be matt to avoid this?
Car spins its rear wheel very easily – might be the energy tyres but could be an issue in the snow…
Brakes stop very well but do need a firm shove, much firmer than most cars I have driven recently
Rain water collects on top of bumper below tailgate making it dirty.

Very accurate speedometer, reads 100MPH when doing a true 98MPH judged by TomTom sat nav

Car rolls and rolls and rolls when you lift the throttle. Takes a bit of getting used to, you need to lift much earlier than expected or else you are straight onto the brakes!!!!

In summary – best car I’ve ever had; quick, economical, handles well, comfortable just don’t drive at night!!!!

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5
reviewed by Anonymous on 26 June 2012
4
reviewed by Provence Boy on 30 May 2012
5
reviewed by Devon Dumpling on 13 May 2012

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About this car

Price£32,590–£60,220
Road TaxD–L
MPG26.4–62.8 mpg
Real MPG73.7%

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