BMW 5 Series review 2019

Find out more about the BMW 5 Series in the latest MOTORS Review

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Out of 5


  • Strong build quality
  • High levels of technology
  • Wide range of engine choices


  • Expensive
  • Optional extras quickly bump up the car’s price
  • Ride can be firm on certain models
Model Review


The BMW 5 Series has been around for some time now, and though the boxy shape that took the motoring world by storm back in the 1970s has disappeared, BMW has ensured that some of the key features which made that original car so popular have been applied to its modern versions too.

At the heart of the 5 Series has always been an involving drive. Though it’s always been capable of travelling huge distances without the faintest hint of protest, throughout the years the 5 has put a grin on the face of whoever is behind the wheel when the roads get twisty. The original car did it, and the latest version does it too.

Solid build quality has always been present too (though this did falter a touch during the early 2000s), and the most recent incarnation feels as bullet-proof as ever. It means that the 5 Series has always been able to live up to whatever you could throw at it, be that family duties or cross-country schleps.

It has consistently been at the forefront of technology, with a lot of the features found on the top-end 7 Series trickling down to the 5 before any other car in the BMW range. This latest version proves the point once again—it’s bristling with high-tech kit likely to delight gadget lovers.

Latest Model


The most recent 5 Series, the G30, arrived in 2017 to almost immediate success. It moved the game forward over the car it replaced – the F10 – offering a more high-tech cabin along with a more efficient range of engines, too. Though the styling changes weren’t exactly ground-breaking, BMW’s designers had tweaked the look of the 5 Series enough to properly differentiate it from the car it took over from.

Based on the same platform as the 7 Series, the latest 5 offered more interior space too, and a Touring version meant there was an option for those who wanted a little more room in the boot, too. A hybrid version has since been introduced, bringing electrification to the 5 Series range.

And, as we mentioned, the latest 5 Series was also accompanied by the latest in-car tech. A standout feature was ‘Gesture Control’, which allows you to change certain aspects of the car’s infotainment — such as the audio volume—simply by waving your hand in front of the dash. It’s a clever feature, and though it feels a touch odd to operate initially, it soon becomes second nature, particularly when on the move.

Value for money


Make no mistake, the 5 Series is a premium model and you can expect its price to reflect this. Prices start at £36,755, and for this you’ll be looking at a base-spec SE 520i, with relatively small wheels and a limited amount of standard equipment. In fairness, you still get satellite navigation, automatic air conditioning and heated seats but that’s really about it. At this price point, it’ll be a relatively plain-looking 5 Series you’ll be getting the keys to.

You’ll still be getting a good driving experience however much you pay, be it base-spec 520i SE right the way up to 530d xDrive M Sport.

One of the issues you need to be wary of is the tempting options list. This is the case with most premium manufacturers, even a small smattering of options can quickly bump up the car’s overall price. It’s something to be careful of if you’re creating your car from scratch, though keep a sharp eye for crucial options when buying used in order to extend the car’s resale value.


Looks and image


The 5 Series manages to toe the line between stylish and over-the-top well. There’s no mistaking it as anything but a BMW—the huge kidney grilles up front speak for themselves – but it’s a well-executed design and one which looks just as good parked up outside a school to collect the kids as it would outside a five-star country hotel. It’s all things in truth.

M-Sport cars in particular look good on the road and when parked up, thanks to large alloy wheels with intricate designs and a slight drop in ride height. If you’re after the most ‘dynamic’ looking version of the 5 possible, then this is your best bet.

This continues inside. The cabin of the 5 Series is very well made, with plenty of high-quality materials used throughout. It’s spec dependent, though; pick a dark colour leather upholstery and, when coupled with a dark headliner, it can make for a rather subdued cabin. Opt for a lighter interior and a panoramic roof, and the interior of the 5 becomes a far brighter and more spacious-feeling area. Whichever you choose, it’s all dominated by a large central infotainment screen, which gives you control of features such as the satellite navigation and media functions.


Video review

Space and practicality


If you’re after decent practicality, then you’ve come to the right place. Even in saloon form, the 5 Series can offer up to 530 litres of space, and though that falls behind the Jaguar XF and Mercedes E-Class in terms of outright room, there’s more than enough for most occasions. It’s worth remembering that if you do opt for the 530e plug-in hybrid, then the boot capacity is reduced to 410 litres.

Then there’s the Touring version. With the rear seats in place, there’s 570 litres of space to play with, rising to 1,700 litres with the seats folded flat. They fold properly flat too, meaning that loading larger items into the back doesn’t take any effort at all. However, it does still lag behind the likes of the Mercedes E-Class and Volvo V90 in terms boot space.

You’ve got more than enough room in the cabin too. A variety of cubbies and storage bins are dotted throughout the car’s interior, and those in the back can enjoy plenty of head and legroom. You won’t find many complaints from those sat in the rear of the car over longer journeys – it’s almost as comfortable as the front.




There’s a whole lot of choice available when it comes to drivetrains in the 5 Series. It ranges from a 2.0-litre petrol engine in the 320i, all the way up to a bi-turbo 3.0-litre, straight-six diesel in the range-topping 530d. All come with an automatic transmission, and though the vast majority send their power to the rear wheels only (in traditional BMW style), many can be specified with BMW’s xDrive all-wheel-drive system, which adds greater capability in slippery conditions.

Then there’s the latest-generation M5, which utilises a 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged V8 that develops 592bhp and 750Nm of torque. It too makes use of the xDrive all-wheel-drive system, albeit deployed here in a more performance-orientated way than the ‘regular’ cars in the 5 Series range. It’ll hit 60mph in 3.2 seconds and reach 155mph, and is arguably one of the best generations of M5 ever. You won’t, of course, get half as good economy figures with it as you would from a diesel-powered 5 Series – but then you’d have to expect this from the most powerful car in the 5 Series range.


Running costs


You’ll be looking at pretty reasonable running costs across the board with the 5 Series even the smaller-capacity petrol engines capable of delivering good economy figures. They aren’t the ones we’d opt for, however; the base-spec 520d matches the character of the car down to the ground and provides more than enough punch for around-town driving or motorway cruising, and if you do want a little more performance then the 530d is a fine choice too.

However, if you’re trying to bring costs down completely, then the 530e plug-in hybrid is a great option. It allows you to run on electricity alone when around town, but there’s still the added flexibility afforded by the inclusion of a combustion engine. There’s not a lot of electric range—BMW claims just over 28 miles, in fact—but it’s enough for a quick trip to the shops or a pootle around town.

Things to look for


BMW is famed for decent reliability, and though previous 5 Series models have suffered with suspension and tyre issues, these shouldn’t be too much of an issue with the new one. There is a lot more technology on board as we’ve mentioned, but you shouldn’t have any problems with this.




The Mercedes E-Class is one of the 5 Series’ most notable rivals, owing to its excellent interior quality and efficient range of engines. There’s also the newly-released Audi A6, which again has an impressively built cabin. Finally, you could look towards the Volvo S90 and V90, both of which offer a different take on executive design, but deliver it in a typically Scandinavian, minimalist fashion.


  1. Best overall saloon to drive
  2. Good range of refined engines
  3. Limited trim options
  4. Expensive options list
  5. Running costs are reasonable
  6. Smart styling, if not slightly safe
  7. Average reliability record
  8. Very safe, with plenty of safety options
  9. Excellently finished interior
  10. Excellent overall performance