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02 Jan 2018

What We Dislike
Not available in Singapore

The BMW 520d Touring is a highly accomplished wagon capable of swallowing up endless miles with absolute polish.

The new BMW 5 Series is a pretty good car, eh? After all, it's our 2017 Car Of The Year.

But how many variants of the 5 Series are there? In Singapore, you have the option of the 520i, the 530i, the 540i or the 530e, all available in the sedan body style. So that makes four (parallel-imported models not included).

However, there are in fact many more variants of the 5 Series - three body styles, six engine options with several having multiple states of tune, and some models also come equipped with xDrive. That certainly adds up to a number much greater than four.

The 5 Series Touring is a very handsome and sleek-looking wagon

While in Portugal some time ago, we had a stint in one particular variant that is pretty common over in Europe - a diesel-powered 520d Touring.

A what?  

The Touring designation basically means stationwagon, so this is the 5 Series wagon, for all intents and purposes. It's quite a handsome-looking car, although we do have a soft spot for wagons.

It's sleek and low-slung, with a back-end that's surprisingly congruous (and not bulbuous as one may fear). If anything, it looks remarkably like a stretched out version of one of BMW's smaller hatchbacks (think the 1 Series).

The interior is expectedly top notch - this is the new 5 Series after all. It's spacious, comfortable and technologically advanced, yet all the way maintaining a certain level of restraint. The ivory white leather is slightly too jarring for our tastes, but that can be easily resolved by just picking a more restrained colour. 

The 570-litre boot makes this car the designated luggage car for the whole trip

As a luggage hauler, the 520d Touring fares pretty well, too. There is 570 litres of boot space, expandable to a maximum of 1,700 litres. It's no surprise then, that this car was the designated luggage car throughout the trip.

And a diesel?

One of the standout characteristics of the new 5 Series is the extremely refined driving experience, and this car is no different. With 400Nm of torque from the 2.0-litre diesel engine, there's ample shove when you need it.
And whilst 188bhp may look rather meagre, don't be fooled - we were easily cruising along at 150km/h and the car never felt out of breath.

And yes, even at high speeds, the 520d Touring always felt stable and planted (maybe it was all the luggage providing additional downforce). It's comfortable and easy to drive, and quiet and serene on the trot.

Like the other 5 Series models, you can also choose your driving modes to suit your driving mood in the Touring

There were arguably more exciting cars to drive on this trip, but this one was our car of choice just to gobble up highways going from place to place. Practical, sensible and effortlessly easy to drive briskly, the 520d Touring is very much a tarmac-gobbler. 
The sensible choice? 

It's easy to see the appeal of the 520d Touring for Europeans - this entry-level model offers great value, while still delivering an excellent all-around package.

In Europe, drivers generally cover longer distances, and the 520d offers a sensible economy without compromising on refinement. Also, wagons are much more commonplace in Europe, so it's no surprise that the Touring variant is popular there.

The 2.0-litre diesel engine has lots of punch, thanks to 188bhp and 400Nm of torque

Where the 520d Touring really impresses us is in the level of accomplishment it possesses - not just in one or two aspects, but in every aspect. And much like the other 5 Series models we have driven, it's really rather difficult to find much fault in the car.

The biggest problem we can identify? The fact that we likely won't get a Touring variant of the highly accomplished 5 Series here in Singapore (and diesels appear to be on their way out too). And that's a real pity.

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