BMW 520d M Sport

Touring

BMW 5-Series Touring, side
BMW 5-Series Touring, front
BMW 5-Series Touring, rear
BMW 5-Series Touring, rear
BMW 5-Series Touring, interior
BMW 5-Series Touring, boot

I HAVE a problem with the BMW 5 Series estate. And it is my problem. Let's face it, if I told you it was ‘very good', you'd look at me as if I was stupid, and reply, "Of course it is!"

And that, in a nutshell, is my problem. The estate version of BMW's all-conquering 5 Series has been extremely good for as long as I can remember. Now in its fifth generation, it is the perfect estate car.

But, how can us mere motoring mortals keep up with that? How many ways are there to tell the world the 5 Series Touring is a bloody good estate car?

Perhaps we should just stick to the facts.

For a start, it looks great. The latest 5 Series Touring is lighter, slightly longer, a teeny bit wider and a smidge taller than its predecessor. The wheelbase has been extended a tad too.

There's also 10 litres more luggage space - 570 litres with the seats up and a maximum of 1,700 litres, 30 more than its predecessor. The tailgate window can also be opened independently.

All models feature 40:20:40 near flat-folding rear seat backrests, which can be released remotely from the boot at the push of a button as well as load-dividing nets and a practical underfloor storage space.

Standard automatic self-levelling rear suspension maintains a constant ride height regardless of payload.

The 5 Series Touring range starts with the SE, which includes 17-inch alloy wheels, heated leather seats, an easy-to-use 10.25-inch touchscreen with satnav, front and rear parking sensors, LED headlights and dual-zone climate control among the long list of standard equipment. The voice control system now also accepts instructions formulated in everyday language rather than set commands.

All models have six airbags and an autonomous emergency braking system that can automatically apply the brakes if it thinks you are going to collide with another vehicle or pedestrians. There's also a rear-view camera, and Surround View that shows a 3D image of the vehicle and its surroundings from various angles on the control display.

Other features include a Lane Keeping Assistant, which comprises of Lane Departure Warning system, Lane Change Warning and Side Collision Warning system, which operates at speeds between 18-130mph. This triggers a visual signal and steering wheel vibration if another vehicle is encroaching from the side. If enough space is detected on the opposite side, the system correctively steers the vehicle in this direction.

The M Sport version adds larger wheels, a stiffer, sportier suspension and more aggressive body styling.

Add the technology package and you get a remote control parking function that lets you drive the car forwards or backwards when you're not in it by using the key, an excellent head-up display, and gesture control which responds to simple hand or finger movements.

The 5 Series Touring is powered by a range of three petrol and three diesel engines. The exemplary 2.0-diesel unit in the 520d Touring develops 188bhp, and a stonking 400Nm of torque between 1,750 to 2,500rpm. It officially returns 65.6mpg though I managed a more believable 34.6mpg in everyday conditions. A superb, smooth-changing eight-speed automatic gearbox is fitted as standard on all models.

The ride is calm and controlled and the Touring is extremely quiet even under acceleration - and even on the 520d there's plenty of oomph.

Optional Electronic Damper Control allows you choose between three different modes - Comfort, Sport and Adaptive - and while Sport does beef up the estate's handling characteristics for a more involved drive, why would you want to choose anything other than Comfort, which is quite simply all you will ever need.

Comfort certainly seems to suit the luxurious, high quality interior.

FAST FACTS

BMW 520d M Sport Touring

Price: £43,025

Mechanical:188bhp, 1,995cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving rear wheels via 8-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed:139mph

0-62mph:7.8 seconds

Combined MPG:65.6

Insurance Group:31

C02 emissions:119g/km

Bik rating:27%

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