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First Drive: BMW 520d M-sport Touring

The story:
The next phase of BMW’s new 5-Series launch sees the arrival of the Touring estate model, following a few months behind the saloon and ahead of the third prong – the 5-Series Gran Tourer – coming next year.
Category:E-segment
Key rival:Audi A6 Avant
BMW 520d M-sport Touring
Price:£41,820
MPG:62.7mpg
Emissions:119g/km
On sale:Now

BMW’s excellent new 5-Series is now available in estate Touring form, to complement the saloon version. 

The new BMW 5-series touring is 36mm longer, 8mm wider and 10mm taller than its predecessor, while the most important figure is probably the extra 10 litres of boot space in a car bought for its load-lugging ability, taking it to 570 litres. That puts it five litres ahead of the Audi A6 Avant and Jaguar XF Sportbrake, but behind a Mercedes E-Class Estate.

First Drive - BMW 520d Touring - 2017 - boot imageThe boot area is also wider than the old car’s in terms of reduced wheelarch intrusion, which is useful for sliding in larger loads, while the handy tailgate window, which allows users to lift the glass panel for easy access without raising the whole tailgate, is again a standard feature. The rear seats also drop virtually flat in a 40:20:40 formation via a switch in the boot, as well as from the back seats.

BMW offers three petrol and three diesel engines, the overwhelmingly most popular one being the 520d. In SE trim, it gets down to 114g/km, although the M-Sport’s larger wheels put that figure up to 119g/km, 5g/km and one BIK band higher than the saloon, but better than all its rivals bar the 115g/km Audi A6 Avant.

The price gap from saloon to Touring is a not-inconsiderate £2,200, although that’s only £100 more than Audi charges to go from saloon to Avant, and £200 below the premium for a Jaguar XF Sportbrake.

The BMW 5-Series Touring, predictably, does all the same things well as the saloon, which means it’s the best-handling and most refined car in its class, with high-speed wind and road noise especially well controlled. Whole-life costs also impress, with only the new XF Sportbrake getting the better of the BMW thanks to its cheaper P11D price and equally excellent residual value.

This leads onto a point worth making that the Touring is actually more expensive than any of its rivals, including the Mercedes E-Class Estate, which would traditionally have been the most expensive option.

Nevertheless, the 5-Series Touring has maintained its position as an excellent all-round Only Car You Would Ever Need.

Paul Barker

The verdict

More practical and more tech-packed than ever. It’s not cheap, but the 5-Series Touring is about as good as all-rounders get.