The side exterior of a blue BMW 5 Series

BMW 5 Series review (2017-2023)

The BMW 5 Series is a top executive car that delivers strong performance, ample practicality and superb comfort. It's also well kitted out with high-quality features. In short, it's one of the best large saloon cars you can buy.

Pros

  • Executive styling is smart and sporty
  • Excellent balance of comfort and driver enjoyment
  • Estate offers superb practicality and good looks

Cons

  • Older models are a bit dated
  • Boot space of the saloon isn't as practical as rivals
  • Parts can be expensive

Summary

“The BMW 5 Series combines luxury and technology with a great driving experience.”

By Cazoo editorial team

With superb presence and upmarket looks, the BMW 5 Series excels in combining luxury and technology with a great driving experience.

Inside the 5 Series, you’ll find high-quality materials and lots of space in the front and back. There’s a great choice of petrol and diesel engines, a plug-in hybrid option and the range is topped by the awesome M5.

We're focusing here on the 5 Series sold new between 2017 and 2023, updated with new features in 2020. It’s available as a stylish saloon, elegant and sporty estate. Each provides a great drive with a comfortable ride and all the practicality a modern executive requires.

What’s the interior like?

“Everything inside the BMW 5 Series feels very premium.”

Everything inside the BMW 5 Series feels very premium. There are thick padded materials covering the dashboard, the buttons all have a solid feel and the seats are of the highest quality. Trim surfaces, such as aluminium or carbon fibre, make the areas you touch feel luxurious.

The driving position is slightly lower than rivals, which offers a comfortable and relaxed posture for cruising but also positions you nicely if you fancy some quicker, more involved driving. The steering wheel is chunky and very responsive, while all the controls are clear and easy to use, and include a number of different ways to control the iDrive infotainment system.

The introduction of the latest generation in 2017 saw the interior move even closer than before to the super luxurious BMW 7 Series flagship in terms of luxury, comfort and design. The big infotainment screen looks great and is easy to use, and some models have features such as gesture control, which recognises the driver’s hand movements to change settings.

Rear legroom is excellent and boot space is also excellent, although rivals like the Mercedes-Benz E-Class have more space still.

What’s it like to drive?

“The BMW 5 Series might be an executive car but it has a sporty side.”

The BMW 5 Series might be an executive car but it has a sporty side. The latest generation is packed with driver assistance systems and useful items, such as a head-up display which projects essential information onto the windscreen so it is in the driver’s line of sight.

The way the car can take corners is superb, with an agility that rivals like the Audi A6 can't match. Even the entry-level engines provide a good level of power whether cruising on the motorway or winding your way along B-roads. Diesel engines suit this car extremely well, unless you want the power that comes with the 540i or the high-performance M5.

The 520d has a great balance of power and economy. It rarely struggles even with five passengers and their luggage, making it the most popular choice in the range. For a bit more power consider the 530d. All versions have eight-speed automatic gearboxes.

The ride comfort is a little firm, particularly if you choose a model with the popular M Sport package. Ideally, find one with the optional Variable Damper Control feature, which allows you to choose the set up you want, whether that’s comfort or sport (performance) mode. The four-wheel-drive xDrive-equipped models tend to use more fuel but are worth looking at if you need extra traction in slippery conditions.

Is it cost-efficient to buy and run?

“The 5 Series is surprisingly affordable to buy and run if you choose the right model.”

A used BMW 5 Series can be a real bargain, thanks to big depreciation from new and the opportunity to buy a model that’s been fitted with loads of executive extras. Running costs aren't as high as you might expect, particularly if you go for a diesel engine such as the 520d which delivers up to 52 mpg. Hybrid models can be even more frugal but they’re expensive to buy. The high-performance models – particularly the M5 – will be very pricey to buy and run.

Vehicle Excise Duty (car tax) and insurance can be quite high depending on the model but are on a par with BMW’s executive rivals, such as the Mercedes E-Class, Audi A6 and Volvo S90 and V90.

An easier way to find or sell a car

You’ll find lots of used cars for sale at Cazoo, all available to buy through our trusted dealers.

Cazoo makes selling a car just as easy – just enter a few details for an instant online valuation. If you accept the offer our partners will get in touch to arrange payment and collection of your car at a time that suits you.

Which one is best for you?

For general use, we think the 520d is a fantastic option, although if most of your journeys are short, a petrol model or a plug-in hybrid could be more cost-effective choice. If you want something that looks and feels a bit more sporty, then opt for an M Sport version – there are lots of them available. Otherwise, the SE trim is perfectly decent.

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