The BMW 5 Series has been a common feature of Irish roads for many years now and for many it’s the benchmark for a large, premium saloon.
This car’s history stretches back to 1972 and BMW is now back with the seventh generation of the 5 Series. I’ve always had a soft spot for the BMW 5 Series and its M5 derivatives. The gentle evolutionary styling has taken it from the 1970s right up to the present day, but now the 5 Series is more of a technological tour de force than ever.
The front end looks more strong and graceful, and at the back things have improved too. Full LED headlights are standard.
Inside, the cabin of the new BMW 5 Series has been rejuvenated and looks to have caught up with the times with a more modern interface. The quality is excellent…everywhere. The digital instrument cluster has more modern graphics and the iDrive infotainment system has also been revised and feels more intuitive. A high resolution 10.25 inch screen comes as standard. There is still a bewildering list of menus and options to scroll through, but that’s more down to the technological scope of this car.
The new 5 Series is 36mm longer than the outgoing model, 6mm wider and 2mm taller. The wheelbase has been extended by 7mm and there is more knee room and legroom. There are large footwells in the back, though the middle passenger will have to splay their legs around a large transmission tunnel – but width ways the car is very accommodating for three. The boot is a competitive 530 litres but naturally the saloon style narrow aperture makes access a bit more restricted.
In Ireland there are three trim levels, with entry models starting at €51,950 for the popular 188hp 520d. SE models start from €55,490 and M Sport from €56,980. BMW’s xDrive all-wheel drive system is also available from €60,630. There are also 530i and 540i petrol variants and a 530d diesel with 261hp. A 530e plug-in hybrid is also available from €62,550. All models have an eight speed automatic transmission as standard.
The technology available with the new BMW 5 Series is impressive including gesture control, remote parking and a number of driver assistance technologies that bring the 5 Series closer to fully autonomous driving. The optional Driving Assistant Plus safety package includes the Lane Keeping Assistant, the Lane Departure Warning system and the Lane Change Warning.
I really enjoyed sampling the Steering and Lane Control Assistant. For short periods of time you can take your hands off the steering wheel and it steers the car to keep it in lane. The idea is to reduce driving stress particularly in traffic.
The car I tested was a 520d M Sport and the refinement of the 2.0-litre diesel was very apparent. The engine pulls strongly – with a tap of the accelerator you’re away. BMW has paid particular attention to reducing interior noise levels in the development of the new 5 Series and it really shows. This is a super quiet, comfortable long distance cruiser. Yet on smaller roads, the BMW 5 Series is lithe and agile with beautiful rear wheel drive handling. The steering is meaty with plenty of feedback for a tactile experience behind the wheel.
It’s easy to fall in love with the new BMW 5 Series. This is a quality machine and feels like a modern and cutting-edge business saloon. Competition is fierce in this segment with the new Mercedes-Benz E-Class and Volvo S90 also highly accomplished cars, but the new BMW 5 Series feels like a true masterpiece.
Model tested: BMW 520d M Sport Saloon
Price: €56,980 (€73,223 as tested)
Engine: 2.0-litre turbo diesel
0-100km/h: 7.5 seconds
Top speed: 235km/h
CO2 emissions: 114g/km
Motor tax: €200 per year