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A boot load of ability. Image by James Jenkins.

A boot load of ability
BMW's twin-turbo 535d often steals the headlines, but the 525d is a good value alternative and just as good to drive.

 



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| A Week at the Wheel | Cambs, England | BMW 525d Touring |

Inside & Out: star star star star star

The BMW 5 Series was controversial in terms of styling when it was introduced, but the lines have aged well and the estate versions perhaps look even better than the saloons. As ever the looks are very dependant on wheel and colour choices, but it retains a fresh and sporting appearance.

Familiar contemporary BMW style greets the driver inside, complete with the love it or hate it iDrive system. It's definitely a neater solution than the cluttered and confused dash found in some rivals, but Audi's MMI system maybe just pips it for user friendliness.

The ergonomics and quality of materials in the 5 Series Touring are good, only marred by a slightly twisted driving position. Accommodation is spacious and comfortable and the load bay is as big as most would ever need, if not as capacious as the class-leading Volvo V70.

Engine & Transmission: star star star star star

Although the BMW 535d turbodiesel engine lacks the headline grabbing outputs of the other 3.0-litre derivatives, it is no mean performer itself. A peak power figure of 194bhp would have been deeply impressive not so long ago; ironically it's been BMW's progress of late that has demeaned such numbers. In practice the 525d hauls well and is smooth and refined. There is a little more vibration through the pedals than one might expect now, but it's not excessive or overly intrusive.

Ride & Handling: star star star star star

Clearly BMW's focus on dynamic handling bias is carried over to the Touring versions as well. There is no noticeable deterioration in the driving characteristics compared to those of the saloon. With no cargo on board it retains the sharp turn in, balanced cornering and unflappable poise we enjoy in the saloon, meaning it offers driving involvement not found in any rivals. The ride remains on the firm side, but it's not crashy or uncomfortable and this seems a fair trade for the driving experience.

Equipment, Economy & Value for Money: star star star star star

Diesel endows the 525d with admirable economy and, from a tax point of view, emissions. We averaged 35mpg over a week of mixed driving. Motorway miles would push that figure further upwards. Equipment levels are sensible rather than generous and some extras can be expensive. There is no doubt though that the BMW is a justifiably premium model.

Overall: star star star star star

It's hard to fault the 5 Series Touring in isolation, or compared to the competition. The 525d represents a sensible middle ground in the performance versus economy trade off, although the 530d and 535d are even more impressive exponents, albeit at a premium.

Other rivals offer more space, most notably the new V70, but take into consideration how often one actually needs all of the load lugging ability and in many cases it wouldn't be the primary concern. In most every other regard, mainly in the driving, the 525d beats the Volvo, although the Swede does offer four-wheel drive and is arguably safer.

In the real world, the 525d Touring could be all the car you ever need, as a large family car with load lugging ability and the character and chassis to indulge the driver in some fun when the occasion arises.

Dave Jenkins - 17 Nov 2007









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2007 BMW 5 Series specifications: (525d M Sport Touring)
Price: £36,265 on-the-road.
0-62mph: 7.8 seconds
Top speed: 144mph
Combined economy: 44.1mpg
Emissions: 171g/km
Kerb weight: 1735kg

Full technical specifications

2007 BMW 5 Series Touring. Image by James Jenkins.2007 BMW 5 Series Touring. Image by James Jenkins.2007 BMW 5 Series Touring. Image by James Jenkins.2007 BMW 5 Series Touring. Image by James Jenkins.2007 BMW 5 Series Touring. Image by James Jenkins.

2007 BMW 5 Series Touring. Image by James Jenkins.2007 BMW 5 Series Touring. Image by James Jenkins.2007 BMW 5 Series Touring. Image by James Jenkins.2007 BMW 5 Series Touring. Image by James Jenkins.2007 BMW 5 Series Touring. Image by James Jenkins.



2007 BMW 5 Series Touring. Image by James Jenkins.
 

2007 BMW 5 Series Touring. Image by James Jenkins.
 

2007 BMW 5 Series Touring. Image by James Jenkins.
 

2007 BMW 5 Series Touring. Image by James Jenkins.
 






 

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