New car test drive

BMW 530i Touring test drive

Though most still opt for a diesel engine in their estate car, the 530i’s petrol unit may make sense instead

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What is it?

Though many people after a comfortable car that’s practical and easy-to-drive are turning to SUVs and crossovers, there’s still a place for the humble estate. This is one such vehicle – the BMW 5 Series Touring.

Though BMW makes a raft of SUVs (and the list is growing fast), the German manufacturer still makes two rock-solid estate cars. The 3 Series and 5 Series Touring models are both top picks for those who aren’t after the high-ride of off-roaders but still want plenty of practicality. Here we’re testing the more spacious and petrol-powered 530i.


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What’s new?

Quite a lot of what is new about this car is under the bonnet – but we’ll get to that in a little more detail later.

This particular car is finished in range-topping M Sport trim, which means you get larger alloy wheels, sports suspension and more aggressively-shaped lower body bits. You also get a variety of M Sport touches inside, such as a multifunction steering wheel with ‘M’ badges.

Our test car also came with optional adaptive suspension, which allows you to soften the ride just the right amount to counteract the effect that the large 19-inch alloy wheels and run-flat tyres have on it.

How does it look?

BMW 5 Series Touring - best Christmas sleighs 2018

   

Beauty is very much in the eye of the beholder here. I think that the latest generation of the BMW 5 Series is one of the best-looking yet, and it certainly looks striking enough out on the road.

On the other hand, a colleague argues that each new model BMW launches makes its predecessor suddenly seem more attractive…

Though our test car was finished in a rather subdued grey colour, it still looked special enough, especially when coupled with the larger alloy wheels and dropped ride height you find on M Sport-specification cars.

It’s a big car, there’s no doubt about that, but the styling of it manages to disguise its overall heft quite well – sweeping lines and relatively short overhangs make it look a little smaller than it actually is. It’s a clever effect, and one which is executed well.

What’s the spec like?

Our car came in M Sport specification, and it gets a lot of standard equipment included as part of the car’s price. Lower-output engine models get 18-inch alloy wheels with run-flat tyres, while the higher-spec engines come with 19-inch wheels. All versions get the full M Sport styling package, which includes redesigned side skirts and front bumpers.

You also get automatic climate control air conditioning, ambient interior lighting and front heated seats.

Our test car also came with optional extras such as the visibility package (which includes adaptive LED headlights and headlight washers), as well as the technology package (wireless phone charging, gesture control and a head-up display).

In total, our car came to £59,050 – which is a substantial amount more than the £47,232 base price of the vehicle. If you’re mulling over a new 5 Series, be wary about paying a lot of money for some nice gadgets that won’t add anything to the car’s resale value.

Continued on next page: Interior, drive and our verdict

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Jack Evans
Jack Evans
Articles by Jack Evans are provided for The Car Expert by the Press Association. They include test drives of the latest new cars and features on various aspects of automotive life.

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