Lat­est gen­er­a­tion of BMW’s flag­ship es­tate is just great

Solihull News - - MOTORING NEWS - ENDA MULLEN enda. mullen@ trin­i­tymir­ror. com

IT’S easy to imag­ine an au­to­mo­tive fu­ture where al­most ev­ery­one is driv­ing an SUV or cross­over – and prob­a­bly an elec­tric one at that.

In our seem­ingly un­stop­pable thirst for spa­cious and prac­ti­cal fam­ily cars that of­fer a com­mand­ing view of the road and look like a rugged off- roader, one might rightly imag­ine es­tate cars to be on their way out – but don’t write them off just yet.

De­mand is still high for what once was the de facto fam­ily car of choice – per­haps even more so at the pre­mium end of the mar­ket where the likes of Audi, BMW and Mercedes con­tinue to bat­tle it out.

In many ways it’s horses for cour­ses when it comes to choos­ing be­tween th­ese three and all have mul­ti­ple strengths and few weak­nesses.

Do you like the im­pres­sive glide- like ride qual­ity that char­ac­terises most Mercedes cars or do you pre­fer Audi’s renowned fit and fin­ish?

BMW buy­ers might tra­di­tion­ally have favoured driv­ing dy­nam­ics above all else.

Nowa­days all score highly in all re­gards and it prob­a­bly is just a case of per­sonal pref­er­ence.

So, what of the lat­est 5 Se­ries Tour­ing – the fifth gen­er­a­tion of BMW’s flag­ship es­tate car?

As one might ex­pect it’s a good ex­am­ple of evo­lu­tion.

A sig­nif­i­cant first is be­ing able to opt for BMW’s xDrive all- wheel drive, which is be­ing of­fered for the first time on a 5 Se­ries Tour­ing.

As is the trend in the in­dus­try it also comes with more re­fined and po­tent diesel en­gines com­pared to the out­go­ing model.

Diesel- wise you can choose the 530d or 520d – a 3.0- litre, six cylin­der diesel unit or a 2.0litre, four cylin­der one.

A 520d in SE trim is at the more rea­son­ably priced end of the scale while this 530d xDrive M Sport Tour­ing sits at the other end.

The 2.0- litre en­gine de­liv­ers 187bhp while the 3.0- litre de­liv­ers 261bhp.

In be­tween there’s a 525d, which has a more po­tent ( 228bhp) ver­sion of the 2.0- litre diesel unit.

For petrol purists you can choose be­tween 182bhp and 249bhp 2.0- litres ( 520i and 5301) or a 3.0- litre six- cylin­der de­liv­er­ing 335bhp.

The lat­est 5 Se­ries Tour­ing looks good, with enough dif­fer­ence and moder­nity to dis­tin­guish it from the model it re­places.

En­hanced di­men­sions mean more room through­out the cabin with the most no­table im­prove­ment be­ing for rear seat pas­sen­gers, who get ex­tra leg and shoul­der room.

A real bonus is a big­ger 570litre boot, which of­fers an ex­tra 10 litres of car­ry­ing ca­pac­ity com­pared to the old model. With the seats down you get a whop­ping 1,700 litres of space.

A split open­ing tail­gate, which means the glass win­dow can be opened sep­a­rately, is great for throw­ing those small bags in and an­other easy to like fea­ture is the kick open­ing for the boot.

Ba­si­cally you slide a foot un­der the rear bumper and hey presto the tail­gate opens auto- mat­i­cally. On the in­side the 5 Se­ries Tour­ing is sump­tu­ously ap­pointed and beau­ti­fully kit­ted out.

For­get the clin­i­cal and some­what stark in­te­ri­ors BMW favoured a few years back, this is splen­didly stylish and de­spite some of the high- tech kit on board is a breeze to find your way around, with an all dig­i­tal dash­board and iDrive in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem us­ing a 10.2- inch screen.

Stan­dard equip­ment is de­cent enough, though as with all BMWs it’s easy to start adding things on.

To drive it is as good as one would ex­pect and very much in the BMW tra­di­tion of be­ing a real driver’s car.

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