Nearly new buying guide: BMW 5 Series Touring

25 November 2021 - autocar

Nearly new buying guide: BMW 5 Series Touring

Entertaining all-rounders are seldom as classy as this

The BMW 5 Series Touring is somewhat like a smartphone: it can do pretty much anything. Family holiday? Check. Monthly shop? Of course. Track day? Faster variants, certainly. In the world of posh estates, few come as capable straight out the box. 

Under the bonnet, the current-gen Touring was initially (when launched in 2017) made available with three petrol and three diesel engines. The petrols range from a sprightly 182bhp 2.0-litre four-cylinder in the 520i to a punchy 335bhp 3.0-litre six-cylinder in the 540i. The diesel lineup includes 2.0-litre four-cylinder units with 187bhp and 228bhp, plus a 261bhp 3.0-litre six-pot.

 From 2020 onwards, the engines gained mild-hybrid technology, otherwise known as MHT. The range eventually settled on the following models: the 520i MHT, 540i xDrive MHT, 530e hybrid xDrive, 520d xDrive MHT and 530d xDrive MHT. 

So power is pretty plentiful – 0-60mph is dispatched in a mere 4.7sec in the 540i – but how is the Touring on fuel? Your safest bet is the post-facelift 520d, with an official fuel economy figure of 55.4mpg. The petrols are a bit more thirsty, although the post-facelift 2.0-litre 520i has a decent WLTP average of 42.2mpg. 

Equipment levels are generous, even on standard SE cars. Every 5 Series has 17in alloy wheels, leather trim, cruise control, LED headlights, front and rear parking sensors, dual-zone climate control and a 10.2in infotainment system with DAB radio and satellite navigation. M Sport has 18in alloys, firmer suspension and sportier exterior and interior touches. 

On the road, the 5 Series Touring is very comfortable and, especially when paired with one of those sixcylinder engines, quick. It’s a quiet, relaxing car to drive and, in examples fitted with adaptive dampers, the ride is particularly good. The model handles well, too. Examples come in either four-wheel drive (xDrive) or rear-wheel drive. 

The interior is plush, with highquality materials and solid-feeling switchgear throughout. All the buttons are clear and easy to use and BMW’s iDrive infotainment system remains among the best in the business. We particularly enjoy the convenience of its rotary dial. 

In terms of practicality, you’re getting a hefty boot with the Touring – one of the biggest in its class. Passenger space is also plentiful in the front and rear, and there’s lots of adjustment available with the front two seats, as well as standard 40/20/40-split folding in the back. 

Around £19,000 is enough to get you a 2017 Touring with an average mileage. For a low-mileage car from 2018, expect to part with around £24,000, while a 2019 or 2020 example with a reasonable spec can set you back upwards of £27,000. 

You will need at least £21,000 for a 530d. A 530i will cost you about £28,000 and a 540i commands around £34,000. With the earliest 530e plug-in hybrids being 2021 cars, they go for around £50,000.

The 5 Series Touring was given a comprehensive facelift in the latter half of 2020. It gained a larger, more imposing grille, a more aggressive bodykit and a decent dose of extra standard equipment. 

 BMW doesn’t currently produce an M5 Touring, so the closest you’ll get is the 540i – or an Alpina B5. Based on the 5 Series Touring, the B5 gets a 600bhp 4.4-litre engine and a top speed of 202mph. 

Due to being registered after April 2017, all petrol and diesel 5 Series Touring owners will be charged £155 per year in road tax, or £145 for hybrid cars. If your car was over £40,000 when new, you will also be charged an extra £335 per year for years two to five after the date of its first registration. 

The 5 Series, in saloon form, featured in the latest What Car? Reliability Survey. In petrol guise, it was first out of seven cars in the luxury car category. As a diesel, it ranked fifth. BMW as a brand finished in 13th place out of 30 manufacturers, beating Audi (18th) and Mercedes-Benz (22nd).

Buyer beware

Engine: Problems have been reported with the fuel pump system, which can lead to poor engine performance and rough idling. Worn tensioners and idler pulleys can be identified if the engine starts to make a squealing sound. The timing chain has been known to snap suddenly. 

Gearbox: The automatic gearboxes aren’t the smoothest, according to some owners. The transmission reportedly can slip gears, and on occasion thumps while shifting. 

Recalls: A total of 63,888 examples are said to be affected by a recall involving the exhaust gas recirculation cooler leaking over time. To resolve the issue, it will need to be inspected with an endoscope and replaced if evidence of leaking is found. 

A similar issue is known to have affected 153,602 cars. This time, however, the leak could result in a fire. To resolve it, the EGR cooler will need to be replaced. 

A total of 4025 cars are said to be affected by a potential software fault concerning the crankshaft sensor, which may result in the item being replaced. Your local BMW dealer can carry out these repairs free of charge.

Our pick

520d: Unless you’re after top-end performance (and care little about getting the utmost fuel economy), you’re best off with the 520d: one of the cheapest to buy, definitely the cheapest to run and still with more grunt than you are likely to need.

Wild card

540i M Sport edition: Only a handful from 2020 are available, so you’ll need upwards of £50,000. Its powerful engine is complemented by a strikingly sporty exterior that will be sure to turn heads.

Ones we found

2018 BMW 520i SE, 35,000 miles, £23,590 

2019 BMW 530d M Sport, 25,000 miles, £33,480 

2020 BMW 540i M Sport, 10,000 miles, £46,500

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