WITH the family car market currently dominated by SUVs and crossovers it would be easy to think that the estate has been consigned to motoring history.
Nowadays these spacious and versatile load-luggers are often overlooked in favour of faux 4x4s, afflicted by the perception that they've somehow fallen behind the times.
Nothing could be further from the truth, of course, and a case in point is the formidable BMW 5 Series Touring.
This is an estate car that boasts modern good looks and absolutely bristles with the latest technology that the automotive world has to offer - and, despite its extra bulk, delivers the dynamic and engaging drive for which the brand has become renowned.
There are three petrol and three diesel engines to choose from, all mated to a silky-smooth eight-speed automatic transmission and some available with four-wheel drive.
SE grade is the standard version but for around £3,000 more M Sport trim adds more aggressive design touches, inside and out, and a lowered suspension.
The enhancements are predominantly cosmetic, though, so you get just the same performance if you'd sooner keep the extra cash in your pocket and opt for the SE car.
In the case of the mid-range 2.0-litre 530i petrol power pack that means acceleration from 0-62mph in a very tidy 6.5 seconds and a top speed of 155mph.
And while the better fuel economy of the diesels will undoubtedly appeal to the target market of business buyers, the claimed 45.6mpg for this variant is competitive for a car of this size offering that sort of pace.
It handles pretty well too, given its dimensions, with well-weighted steering offering plenty of feedback. Select sport mode (there's also eco pro and comfort) and there's definitely some fun to be had as the throttle and steering responses are sharpened up.
A 570-litre boot fulfils the capacious requirements of an estate car and this rises to a whopping 1,700 litres with the rear seats folded down - more than enough to keep all you flat-pack furniture enthusiasts happy.
And because this is a car, not an SUV or crossover, you don't have to lift your build-it-yourself wardrobe and shelving units anywhere near as high to get them in.
The spacious cabin is as plush as you'd expect of a BMW and impressive standard equipment includes navigation, air conditioning, digital radio, heated front seats, leather upholstery and a 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment interface with gesture function.
As ever with the premium German marques, you will have to start ticking the options boxes to get some of the more enticing features and the cost soon adds up - more than £10,000 worth of extras on my test car pushing the price towards £60,000.
If your pockets are that deep, though, adding the active cruise control (£965) and driving assistant (£895) options will give you a car that will pretty much drive itself on a motorway, even stopping and moving off again in traffic jams.
And if you're the sort who likes to pose with your gadgets then you'll want to consider the display key (Â£235) in combination with the remote control parking system (Â£395).
The touchscreen key fob is nearly as big as a mobile phone but it does show selected information about the vehicle's status and allows certain functions to be controlled - including the remote parking.
This allows the driver to line-up the car facing a tight parking space or garage, climb out and drive it in remotely before turning off the engine and locking the doors via the key, starting it up again and reversing back out in the same way when it's time to go.