OK on big wheels
All perform well
Basics are OK
Full safety spec
Superb engines and chassis, image
Still no looker
No fault here
4 NCAP stars?
Avoid big wheels
Not pretty, not cheap to buy or run either.
The 5-Series was facelifted for 2007 but the changes were minimal. The bumpers, light lenses and grilles were tweaked and some new alloy wheels were added to beef up the showroom appeal. It's aging well, the 5-Series, but it's still no classic.
As an entry-level car the 520d acquits itself remarkably well in the big 5-Series although d still prefer the zippier 523d or the smooth, 6-cylinder 525i or 530i. The twin-turbo 535d is seriously quick but silly money, while the 500hp M5 is the real supercar deal.
Like most BMWs, the 5-Series has a quick but slightly numb steering, though it's less of an issue for a big, luxurious car. The ride is excellent, though the M Sport pack upsets the serenity, especially on Irish roads. M5 is mind-blowing and now available as a barking wagon!
The Series 5’s cabin was reworked in 2007. The design remains edgy but the electric window switches and heater controls have thankfully been relocated and eight programmable buttons allow the i-Drive wheel to be avoided. The dials and basic driving position are as excellent as always.
Like the 3-Series, the 5 feels very solidly made and is mechanically very robust. Refinement levels are exceptional unless you fit big wheels and order the sport suspension and while it's capable over back roads it at its best on the Autobahn.
The disappointing 4-star 5-Series has six airbags, ISOFIX child seat mounts, seatbelt pretensioners and load limiters, ESP and emergency brake lights as standard. Automatic lights and wipers and park aids are standard on most models also.
BMW could do with taking a peak in the back of a 2007 Mondeo because the 5-Series' rear space isn’t exactly limo-like. The boot is huge, though, and the estate is even more accommodating, but in-dash storage still isn’t brilliant despite the dash revisions.
The 5-Series is expensive but at least you feel it's money well spent. Residuals are strong and holding - it's not as prone to personal importation as the 3-Series, while running cost vary wildly depending on the engine and model so stick to diesels.
Basic models have six airbags, electric windows, remote locks, a CD player, air conditioning, i-Drive and 17-inch alloy wheels but you have to shell out more for essentials like cupholders, an iPod jack, Bluetooth, sat nav and an automatic transmission.
The best engines include the uprated 177hp, 350Nm 2.0 diesel (520d); 204hp/400Nm (523d); 218hp, 250Nm 2.5 6-cylinder (525i); 286hp, 580Nm 3.0 6-cylinder twin-turbo diesel (535d) and, of course, the M5's amazing 500hp, 520Nm 5.0-litre V10.