Parkers overall rating: 4.1 out of 5 4.1

The cabin of the 5 Series Touring feels suitably premium, with a driving position that’s unmistakably BMW: able to be dropped down low for a sporty, cocooned feeling, or endlessly configurable to get all shapes and sizes of driver feeling comfortable.

The design is stylish and dramatically eye-catching, with the strong horizontal sweep of the instrument panel incorporating modern twists on classic BMW touches.

These include the exceptionally clear speedometer and rev counter bordered by smaller secondary fuel and water-temp gauges (all dials are now digital) and the centre console that’s angled towards the driver.

Luxury achieved through quality trim

Leather upholstery, aluminium trim inserts and gloss-black trim creates a highly luxurious feel (though its noticeable that gloss-black buttons abruptly give way to cheaper plastic at the outer edges of the centre console) and all functions are easy to find without glancing away from the road for prolonged periods.

With automatic models, it’s worth specifying the paddleshift gear controls fitted to the steering wheel if they aren’t standard – while the transmission is extremely intuitive if left in automatic mode, there are times when it’s more satisfying to select gears manually, something easier done with paddleshifters than a gear stick.

Excellent infortainment leads the way 

The standard infotainment system is up with the class-best. The graphics are high-resolution, the sat-nav easy to use and follow. Functions are controlled via either the rotary controller and short-cut buttons located next to the gearstick, or by interacting directly with the touchscreen.

BMW 5 Series Touring

The rotary controller also doubles as a ‘touchpad’, allowing occupants to enter, for instance, postcodes with a scrawl of their finger. If it sounds baffling, it isn’t: it quickly becomes second-nature to switch between the different methods.

As an option, gesture control is available, though more of a novelty than a must-have – you control functions such as volume control or answering phone calls with hand movements. There is, however, no option to merge infotainment functions into the instrument binnacle, as is possible with Audi’s Virtual Cockpit.

The transition from a saloon to an estate body style can sometimes reduce refinement, because there’s no longer a solid barrier between the cabin and the luggage area.

But the 5-series Touring is a very refined car, with very low road noise noticeable in the cabin. Wind- and engine noise is also impressively subdued even at relatively high motorway cruising speeds, adding to the sense of calm inside.

Comfort seats do what they say

We tried only the optional Comfort seats, but they’re superb, with a plush, enveloping embrace that you sink comfortably into. Even the headrests have a pillowy plumpness. Generous second-row legroom delivers high levels of rear passenger comfort too.

We’ve tried the 5 Series Touring only on optional adaptive suspension, but the ride quality is generally smooth in Comfort mode with a gentle, controlled lull to suspension movements and only occasional patter at low speeds on rougher urban surfaces.

Big wheels don't destroy comfort

Upgrading from 18-inch to 19-inch alloys does create a slightly firmer feel because the tyres’ sidewalls are thinner, but it’s still impressively compliant.

The optional keyless entry and powered tailgate make for a yet more luxurious feel.