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BMW 5-series Touring: Test Drive Review

Date: 28 June 2010   |   Author: Tristan Young

Category: Executive
P11D price: £30,390
Key rival: Mercedes E-class estate

If you had to impose a CO2 limit of 140g/km on your fleet and still keep your most senior staff happy by offering an executive estate, it's now possible thanks to the new BMW 5-series Touring.

The model offers the first chance to drive the engine that will power the majority of new 5-series sold, both as estates or saloons. It's a revised version of the 2.0-litre diesel, which now produces 184hp, up from 177hp. The old unit wasn't inefficient or lacking power, but rivals' engines were starting to catch up, so it was time for BMW engineers to move the game on, again. The updated engine has an even wider rev-range of power and as well as being more powerful is also more efficient.

The 0-62mph is 8.3 seconds, down from 8.6, but perhaps more impressive is that the official combined consumption is up to 55.4mpg from 53.3mpg. The knock-on effect of this greater efficiency is that CO2 has fallen to 135g/km from 140g/km (even the auto's now at 139g/km), putting the car in a 1% lower company car tax band than the outgoing car and 3% points lower than the equivalent Audi A6 or Mercedes E-class. The engine's only downside is that it's a touch noisy when accelerating from very low speeds, but this is only noticeable because at higher velocities, in particular at motorway speeds, the engine is all but inaudible in the cabin.

As with the saloon, the 5-series is now a much more comfortable place to be when driving, but you'd have to option the Dynamic package, which costs £2820, and the £965 variable damper control, which offers four settings (Normal, Comfort, Sport and Sport+), to experience the level we did on the launch.

But it's the boot that's important in an estate, and while it is up 60 litres in volume to 560 litres, it's still third in class. However, it's now only five litres behind the A6's, and the BMW's load area is more useable as it is wider. If you're obsessed with boot space, though, the Mercedes E-class estate is miles ahead at 695 litres.

BMW has also introduced a few handy boot developments, such as a powered cover that returns to the closed position automatically once the boot is shut. There's a one-pull Seat-folding lever, too, and the seats can be folded in a 40:20:40 format. The rear seat backs can also be placed more upright to provide a bit more room.

The separate opening rear window, useful for loading in tight parking spaces such as supermarkets, is retained, and the boot now opens further into the car's roof, which means the tailgate opens higher, allowing better access to the load area.

The BMW 5-series Touring may be slightly smaller than its competitors, but the improved comfort and still excellent handling plus stunning efficiency and performance mean a class-winning product.

BMW 520d SE 184hp 2.0d 5dr manual
P11D price£30,390
Model price range£30,390-£39,650
Fuel consumption55.4mpg
CO2 (tax)135g/km (19%)
BIK 20/40% per month£88/£176
Service intervalvariable
Insurancegroup 32E
Boot space (min/max)560/1670 litres
Engine size/power1995cc/184hp
Top speed/0-62mph138mph/8.3secs
On saleSeptember 2010
VerdictImpressive. Efficient and
powerful, comfortable
and fun


Impressive. Efficient and powerful, comfortable and fun