Inside & Out: 9/10
The BMW 5 Series Touring is not a new car to Ireland, but it is gathering momentum in terms of sales, as there has been a move away from larger SUVs such as the X5. What is new is the M Sport version of the Touring.
It adds M Sport suspension, M aerodynamics and 18-inch alloys. You also get specially developed sports seats inside, an M leather-clad steering wheel, an M gear lever knob, an anthracite roof lining and M aluminium hexagon interior trim strips.
Engine & Transmission: 8/10
With 184hp and 380Nm of torque, the lowliest engine in the range is still quite brilliant. To start with it is frugal, returning a believable 5.3 litres/100km, and with CO2 emissions of just 139g/km (even with an automatic transmission) you pay just €156 to tax it each year.
Our test car's engine was twinned with the automatic gearbox and in truth it suits the car better than the manual - though the manual is very good. There's little reason to consder any other engine in the range. Sure enough, sometimes you yearn for the extra little bit of power that comes from the six-cylinder diesels, but most of the time this four-cylinder unit really is more than enough.
Ride & Handling: 7/10
This is a seriously competent car in a lot of areas, with really good steering and poised handling. The ride is perhaps a little too firm on the M Sport model and that spoiled things a little on longer journeys so, despite the fact that the M Sport model looks great, the standard SE version makes for a more comfortable car.
Equipment, Economy & Value for Money: 7/10
This car starts from €49,660 - and by the time someone went crazy with the options list our test car came to almost €61,000. The extras included a Visibility Package for €1,791, the Media Package (satnav) for €2,902 and the Sports Automatic Transmission for €2,376, while the Panoramic Glass Sunroof cost €1,776.
Running costs should be low though, as it will return 5.3 litres/100km as mentioned above and its CO2 emissions of 135g/km means it sits in motor tax Band B with annual road tax of €156.
Without doubt the current BMW 5 Series is one of the most desirable cars around today and in Touring form it is, for us, one of the most complete cars on sale - at any price. Would we have the M Sport version? No: it just doesn't suit the estate, but it is a super car nonetheless and we would have it over any SUV too.
BMW 520d M Sport Touring
- Engine: 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder diesel
- Maximum power: 184hp at 4,000rpm
- Maximum torque: 380Nm at 1,900rpm
- Acceleration (0-100km/h): 8.3 seconds
- Maximum speed: 220km/h
- Fuel economy (combined cycle): 5.3 litres/100km (53mpg)
- CO2 emissions: 135g/km
- Motor tax band: B
- Annual road tax: €156
- Retail price: Official price of test car without options is €49,660