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Loaded for the road

BMWs family friendly 5 series Touring is an all-round pleasure with a phenomenal extras package Review by Adrian Ion

April 2011 - From the Print Edition

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One of the cars I most enjoyed driving from last year was the new 5 series from BMW, an excellent car that brings back great memories of driving pleasure. It seems I am not alone, as the sales of this model are impressive, even in these difficult times.
As Spring comes and people start to go out more, I thought to bring to attention a family friendly vehicle that can be enjoyed equally by children of all ages this is the 5 series Touring.
The new 5er is an exceptional all-rounder. With a boot space of 560 litres, this will be enough for most families, but if a unique selling point is a huge boot, then opt for the Mercedes E Klass, as it is 100 litres bigger. However, other than the larger boot, the E Klass cannot match the 5 series in any other category. The BMW looks better, drives better and sits better on the road.
I tested the 530 diesel version, which is the best choice in the range of engines if a driver is looking for fuel economy but needs that extra spice of adrenaline. The engine which can develop 245 HP is brilliant and - combined with an exceptional eight-speed automatic gearbox - will offer a driving experience that will make the appetite for this motor all the hungrier.
This is not a cheap car and additional extras will make the bank account cry, especially if the buyer demands to turn a standard 5er into an exceptional 5er.
Here I am not taking about the optional high quality leather seats and Hi-Fi sound system, but the magic systems such as Adaptive Drive or Integral Active Steering, or Dynamic Driving and Damping Control, that transform the car by a push of a button from a docile sheep into a roaring tiger.
Standard equipment levels are almost good - by German car standards - but the extra options menu offers a long list, including a head-up display, infra-red night vision with pedestrian recognition, four-wheel steering, surround-view cameras to aid parking and Park Assist, which takes over the steering - and sometimes even manages to park the car for you.
The design of the car is a huge improvement over the last generation not only on the outside, but especially inside the car. The front part has the best appearance, it is very aggressive and muscular, offering a sensation that the car is moving and wants to bite the tarmac.
The choice of most buyers will be the 520 diesel, a decent engine that will do its job most honourably, taking the car from zero to 100 km/h in about eight seconds. My choice would be the 530 diesel and the enthusiasts will go for the 535 D, 550 i with its impressive twin turbo V8 engine or wait for the M5. Buy any version can satisfy when it comes to the Beemer. ■

Vital statistics
BMW 5 series Touring
Engine: six cylinders with 2,993 cmc
Acceleration:zero to 100 km/h: 6.4 seconds
Performance: Top speed 243 km/h
Fuel consumption:
Urban in l/100 km - 8.1
Extra-urban in l/100 km - 5.3

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