The BMW 5-Series Touring is long considered one of the most versatile and comfortable family wagons in the premium segment. Does it live up to our expectations? We took the BMW 530d Touring out for a drive across the German countryside and on the Autobahn.
First introduced in 1991 the BMW 5 Series Touring took the recipe of the 5 series limousine and combined it with the practicality of a small van. Now in its sixth generation the BMW 5-Series is still one of the top selling models of the brand.
Engine & Performance
The BMW 5-Series comes with a wide range of engine varients – from a 2 liter four cylinder in the 520i to a twin turbo 4.4 liter V8 in the 550i. For our test we received the keys to the latest 530d Touring with a 3 liter straight-6 Turbo Diesel engine.
This 3 liter EfficientDynamics engine produces 258hp and 560Nm of torque from as low as 1,500rpm. That is enough for a sprint from 0-100 km/h in 5.9 seconds and a top speed of 250 km/h. The BMW 530d comes with an 8-speed automatic gearbox as standard. Optionally you can chose the Sport Automatic Gearbox which allows for quicker shifts in sport mode. Very Rolls-Royce like is the anticipating gearbox which choses the optimal gear based on navigation data in sport mode. Or in Comfort mode the system equally provides tips to release the throttle if it knows a speeding limit or village is appearing soon. Clever stuff!
With Adaptive Drive and air suspension the BMW 530d rides very smooth and with dynamic drive leaning in the corners is reduced the a minimum while steering is made more precise. On our test drive it worked well and took even rough roads in great comfort. BMW has a long standing name for sporty driving but in terms of ride comfort, it is Audi that provides the firmer ride in comfort mode at the moment.
All can change at the touch of a button. Two buttons next to the gear lever allow you to change the general setup of the car from eco pro to comfort to sport. In sport the sensation of driving changes to the sportier spectrum of the range. Gear changes are less subtle, throttle responds is directer and the steering feels tougher. With the 530d in rear wheel drive setup, the rear axle actually turns into the corner slightly. You wont actively notice it but what you will notice is that the BMW 530d loves corners.
I long regarded the BMW 6-Series Gran Coupe as one of the most stunning cars on the market. The BMW 6-Series being a derivative of the BMW 5-Series it is obvious I like the design of the 530d Touring too. It needs a set of large wheels to finish the design though.
Inside BMW has done a lot to give the 5-Series a luxurious feel. The leather and ambient lighting are excellent. But the overall look and feel is a bit dated, especially the classic dials and plethora of buttons scattered around the cabin. This will hopefully be addressed in the next generation 5-Series due in 2017.
What to spec?
Choosing what to spec on your new BMW 530d Touring may not be an easy task, thats why we share some of our favorite features with you.
Navigation package ConnectedDrive – Large infotainment screen, live traffic data and some other gadgets to get you from A to B quickly and comfortably.
Driving Assistant Plus – Includes adaptive cruise control and lane assist including traffic jam assist.
Adaptive Cornering Light – Turns the headlights to where you are going, very neat feature if you drive in the dark a lot.
Head-up display – Projects your speed and navigation instructions on the windscreen in front of you.
Blind spot assistant – Warns you when there is a car in your blind spot.
Surround view – Gadget that shows your car from above while parking, makes it easy to park this car even in the smallest parking spot.
Adaptive Drive – Change the damper settings between comfort and sport. Makes the car more versatile and makes it corner better thanks to cornering stability.
Sport Automatic Gearbox Steptronic – Adds launch control, steering wheel paddles and faster gear shifts.
Climate Control – No need to explain this one.
Whatever you do always get the navigation system with the large screen. You will regret getting the smaller screen forever.
What about the competition?
The market for luxury wagons is quite well populated, besides the obvious contenders like the Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate and the Audi A6 Avant, there is the new Jaguar XF Estate to take into account. Exterior design wise the BMW 5-Series is one of the best looking luxury estates on the market today – the drive holds the middle between Mercedes-Benz (very comfortable) and Audi (very sporty). The Jaguar XF Estate is the outsides but brings a certain style and flair to the table that the German trio doesn’t have. The BMW is pretty well equipped when it comes to infotainment and assistance systems but the interior works a bit dated. With the new E-Class, A6 and 5-Series coming in the next two years we look forward to see how the cards play for the next generations.
The BMW 530d Touring is a very versatile family and business estate. It combines slick design with a pleasant and all round engine. With the Adaptive Drive option it feels as at home at country roads as on the autobahn. We find the dashboard design to be a bit dated but that won’t take away the fact that the ergonomics and infotainment work as they should.