Having arrived in showrooms in mid-February, the track record of the six previous generations of the model was an incredible 7.9 million sold since 1972 and 2.2 million of the outgoing model alone.
BMW’s mid-range saloon has firmly established itself as the ultimate status executive saloon. Despite all that history, even BMW must have been shocked by the success of this newest saloon.
In its first three months on sale, it has sold at twice the rate of the previous version’s first three months – and that car was no slouch as those 2.2 million sales attest.
And now we have this new Touring estate version. Given the proliferation of crossovers and 4x4s on the market, you could be forgiven for wondering if the death knell was already ringing for the future of the estate car but you would be wrong – in Europe at least.
In Germany, some 60 per cent of 5-Series sales are the Touring and even here in the UK it accounts for a third of sales.
In total, BMW has sold more than a million 5-Series Tourings worldwide since the original arrived in 1991.
Longer, taller and wider than the previous version, this latest Touring is also a hefty 15-stone lighter than before.
Along with the same new engines and new suspension, BMW is also promising improved refinement levels plus the offer of four-wheel drive on its xDrive versions and a slightly larger boot.
Initially, the 5-Series Touring will be available with two turbo-petrol and two turbo-diesel engines.
As with the saloon, it is the pair of turbo-diesels that will account for 85 to 90 per cent of sales, kicking off with a 190bhp 2.0-litre in the 520d, capable of 0 to 60mph in 7.8 seconds and on to a 139mph top speed, as well as a 62.7mpg average fuel economy and 114g/km emissions.
The Touring makes up 60 per cent of 5-Series’ sales in Germany
Step up to the 530d and that boasts 265bhp, improving those statistics to 5.8 seconds and 155mph, as well as 56.4mpg and 131g/km.
The 530d is the only one of this pair available with two or four-wheel drive, although given the saloon offers a 520d xDrive version, it is highly likely one will be fitted to this Touring before long.
Despite the current scaremongering about diesels in the car industry, BMW still expects petrol sales of this 5-Series Touring to be minimal with a 252bhp 2.0-litre (in the 530i) and 340bhp 3.0-litre (in the 540i).
They are certainly quick, with the 540i also benefiting from xDrive and managing 0 to 60mph in just 5.1 seconds, though the economy and emissions suffer at 37.6mpg on average and 172g/km and the former is likely to plummet if you use any of that performance.
The Touring is targeted at families who won’t drive the car so hard
Although other engines will join the range in due course, including that likely 520d xDrive, the only major difference between this Touring and the saloon with their respective engine line-ups is that there sadly will not be a Touring version of the 530e plug-in-hybrid model due to the batteries and standard-fit air suspension.
On the road, probably the biggest compliment you can pay this Touring version of the 5-Series is that it feels virtually no different to the saloon.
That 15-stone weight loss certainly gives the Touring a more lithe feel on the road and when BMW boss Ian Robertson claims that this is BMW’s “most luxurious Touring ever” he’s not joking.
We have written many times on these pages before about the high refinement levels of the new 5-Series and the Touring takes that to a higher level.
The rear air suspension keeps the ride supremely comfortable even when there isn’t a significant load in the boot, while the Adaptive Drive system gives a noticeable difference between Comfort and Sport that can be felt both in the responsiveness of the car and its overall feel – something that is not always the case with rivals’ similar systems.
The Touring managed more than 62 mile per gallon
Engine noise even in either of the two diesels is virtually non-existent inside the cabin. In fact, even when driven enthusiastically through twistier roads, the 5-Series feels well planted and instils great confidence in drivers about what the car is doing beneath them.
Could it be sharper or even more driver-orientated? Perhaps, and that is certainly a small criticism we have made of the saloon in the past. But in this Touring that seems somewhat churlish.
The reality is, being aimed towards families and those with a more practical bent, owners are always a lot less likely to drive an estate car as hard as a saloon.
That this 5-Series is so refined anyway tends to encourage the driver to adopt a less frenetic driving style. Talking of practicality, the Touring’s boot is pretty respectable at 570 and 1,700 litres, some 10 and 30 litres up respectively on before.
The estate can do 0-60mph in 5.1 seconds
BMW claims owners can fit three child seats across the rear bench, but with a 40/20/40 split and only two Isofix mountings, it would be a squeeze for three full-sized seats, and even a central booster cushion would not have much space.
We do like the useful everyday functions though, such as the under-bumper kick feature to open the electric tailgate and the function to independently open the rear windscreen alone.
Helpfully, too, the parcel shelf can fit under the floor and in terms of gadgets there is a host of safety tech on-board, including lane departure warning and optional remote control parking as with the saloon and larger 7-Series.
Overall, it is hard not to come away impressed by the 5-Series Touring. The saloon was impressive enough but this Touring rounds out the package perfectly.
Don’t expect that rate of 5-Series sales to ease up at your local BMW showroom any time soon.