Last year we saw the latest 5 Series saloon and now, a year later, it’s the turn of the estate to get the full make-over. So does the estate suffer from carrying more weight around than the saloon?
No. In fact, the Touring, which is very much a European model, could be said to be the best iteration of the new 5 Series. It starts with the weight loss over the outgoing model of around 100kg. This is despite the overall dimensions inevitably increasing slightly.
With the Touring you also get self-levelling suspension at the back, so that you can carry heavy loads or no load and it still handles much the same. Those two things could be argued to deliver a handling and ride package superior even to the saloon. And that’s quite an achievement.
The cabin is like a cathedral – hushed, huge and accommodating. At a cruise it’s quite remarkable. You have the choice of two petrol or three diesel engines, all with the eight-speed Steptronic auto transmission. We tested the 3.0-litre diesel, the 530 d.
The straight-six turbocharged engine really is about as good a diesel as you can find on the planet, particularly when linked to that improbably smooth transmission. The four-cylinder diesels will do just as well for much of the time but the six-pot is ineffably smoother and more sophistication in feel.
The boot area is a triumph of packaging, with 570 litres to play with, with the seats up, and a load limit up to 730kg. The rear seatbacks can be folded electrically in the 40/20/40 configuration, and there’s that really clever rear window tailgate, that is as brilliant now as when it was first introduced.
That weight loss has helped raise those load limits and space, and there should also be about 11% less fuel consumed. Given that, and given the fact that it comes in under the premium tax rate, it’s hard to ignore the more practical attractions of the 520d in basic SE trim. That still gives you dual-zone air con, heated seats, cruise control, 10in iDrive touchscreen, parking sensors and much more.
You’d probably only use the difference between the 520d and the 530d about 15% of the time, so whether it is worth the extra purchase and running costs is up to you and your budget. But it’s a beautiful car, the 530d Touring. And, if you had that budget, adding four-wheel drive – the xDrive model – would give you one of the most complete all-year driving machines on the planet.
BMW 530d Touring
Engine Six cyls, 2993cc, turbocharger
Power 261bhp at 4000rpm
Torque 457lb ft at 2000-2500rpm
Gearbox 8-spd automatic
Top speed 155mph
Economy 56.4mpg (combined)
Graham Scott is a writer for AutoCar.Reuse content