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Awards 2011 - Business Car of the Year: BMW 5-series

Date: 25 January 2011

The Business Car of the Year is the BMW 5-series. It's good that the readers of this publication agree with the writers, as the 5-series, in 520d form, was the only 10/10 road test result awarded by BusinessCar in 2010.

So it's no surprise that the new, sixth-generation model has grabbed the attention. Styled to obtain some of the looks of its luxury saloon big brother 7-series, the new 5 is again available in saloon and Touring estate form, as well as the half-brother crossover 5-series Gran Turismo.

It's also no surprise that the 520d was available pretty much from the off with the new model, rather than being added to the line-up well after launch like last time out. It accounts for around 80% of 5-series sales, and the new 520d is presently the only executive model that gets below the 130g/km mark.

On top of the 520d, there are seven other engine choices, four petrol and three diesel. The petrol engines range from the 204hp 523i through to the 407hp 550i, while on the diesel side the 520d's siblings include the rather potent 299hp 535d.

The Tourer was launched just a few months behind the saloon in September 2010, and offered a big step up in terms of practicality over its predecessors thanks to a 560-litre boot that's 60 litres larger, with increased width making for more usable space for wide loads. The Seat-folding and luggage cover mechanisms are also improved.

Already leading the executive segment in terms of emissions and economy through its Efficient Dynamics developments, BMW is going to move the target again this year with the introduction of a 5-series that's under the 121g/km benefit-in-kind tax banding, an achievement that would have seemed ridiculous to even consider just a few years ago. Launch dates are still to be confirmed, but the new model, based on the 520d but with a range of efficiency measures designed to eek out every last drop of fuel, should be on sale at the end of 2011.

So it's a very successful introduction for the new 5-series, which continued the good work and corporate desirability of its predecessor, but with improved running costs and equipment levels.