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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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BMW 530i Touring test drive 1
BMW 530i Touring test drive 2
BMW 530i Touring test drive 3
BMW 530i Touring test drive 4

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What’s it like inside?

The interior of the BMW 5 Series is a wonderfully solid place to be. High-quality materials are used throughout, and it really does feel very well screwed together. The main infotainment system dominates the centre of the cabin, but it’s fringed by buttons and controls that are simple to operate and feel robust enough to stand up to years of use.

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Our only concern is how the (optional) gloss piano black finish will handle daily use – it collects dust and fingerprints very easily, and will likely look a little grubby after plenty of time with the car.

As with the 5 Series saloon, the estate version offers plenty of leg and headroom for those sitting in the back too. There’s also enough space for three to sit in comfort back there – making it ideal for ferrying five around without any grumbles from those in the rear seats.

What’s under the bonnet?

The way BMW’s naming structure now relates to the size of engine under the bonnet means that what is actually powering the 530i may come as a bit of a surprise.

   

Whereas older BMW vehicles wearing a ’30’ badge would’ve been powered by a silky six-cylinder 3.0-litre engine, new models make use of a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder.

Though it may be down in terms of capacity over the engines of old, it makes up for it with a power output of 252hp and 350Nm of torque allowing the 530i to go from 0-60mph in 5.9 seconds before hitting a top speed of 135mph.

BMW also claims that the 530i will return 35.3mpg on a combined cycle, while emitting 141g/km of CO2. Power is sent to the rear wheels via an eight-speed automatic gearbox.

What’s it like to drive?

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BMW always works hard to ensure that its cars have a level of involvement for the driver, and this is certainly the case with the 530i. There’s weight to the steering, and despite being a large car it’s easy to place.

In Sport mode, the throttle response sharpens and weight is added to the steering, though even in Comfort setting it’s an easy car to drive. Its low-speed ride is also well maintained, thanks to the adaptive suspension soaking up the first level of road imperfections.

The engine is remarkably silky for a four-cylinder unit, and pulls powerfully from low down the rev range. Gear shifts are smooth and effortless, and though you can take control of them by using the steering wheel-mounted paddles, we tended to stick it in full auto and leave the gearbox to its own devices.

Verdict

The 5 Series Touring remains one of the best options for those looking for a car which will travel great distances with little fuss, while transporting its occupants in great comfort. It’s spacious and practical, and even this petrol version delivers decent economy figures.

We’d still argue that the diesel motors make for a more viable option, owing to their ability to return truly excellent miles per gallon. However, that depends on your driving requirements. If you prefer to opt for a petrol engine then the 530i isn’t a bad choice at all.

Similar cars

Audi A6 Avant, Jaguar XF Sportbrake, Mercedes-Benz E-Class estate

Key specifications

Model as tested: BMW 530i Touring M Sport
Price (on-road): £59,050
Engine: 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol
Gearbox: Eight-speed automatic
Power: 252 hp
Torque: 350 Nm
0-60mph: 5.9 seconds
Fuel economy (combined): 35.3 mpg (WLTP)
CO2 emissions: 141 g/km (NEDC) / 181g/km (WLTP)*
*road tax is still determined by NEDC CO2 ratings until 2020

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

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