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BMW 5 Series - company car hero

  • Why the BMW 5 Series is a company car favourite
  • We show you exactly why it has such appeal
  • Which model should the company car driver go for?

Last week we drove the BMW 5 Series 520d ED and it impressed us with its combination of practicality, low costs and on-road performance. In this article we’re going to show you just why the Efficient Dynamics model of the 520d is the company car pick, and what makes the 5 Series such a popular model.

What makes the 5 Series such a popular company car?

It’s the all-round ability of BMW’s mid-size model that impresses most.

It’s available in both saloon and estate (or Touring) versions, along with the 5 Series GT (or Grand Tourer) derivative. In its most recent incarnation it really has come of age, and is now one of the best cars available of its size in the world.

The cabin is a luxurious and sizeable place to be, boasting limousine-eqsue comfort and outstanding build quality. This is a car that’s built to last, and feels as solid and assured on the road as any car you can buy today.

Driving the 5 Series really is an enjoyable experience. The steering is certainly one of the most noticeable things – there’s a huge amount of feedback through the brilliantly-sized steering wheel and when driving you have a sense that this car will go exactly where you want it to no matter what you demand of it.

Another aspect worthy of mention is the handling. Although the 5 Series saloon has a large footprint, the engineers who have been working on this car have somehow managed to make it feel like a much lighter, smaller vehicle. It has superb balance too, and the fact that power goes to the rear wheels means there’s a sporty feeling you don’t get with front-wheel-drive cars of a similar ilk.

Of course, with a car of such size you’d expect a fair sized boot. BMW doesn’t disappoint – the saloon has 520 litres of load space while the Touring gets 560 and the GT gets 440.

Which model should I go for?

As a company car driver you’ll want to keep costs as low as possible. With standard kit such as leather seats, parking sensors and Bluetooth there’s no lack of equipment on the 5 Series.

However, there is a certain model you should be considering. The 520d ED makes a fabulous company car, and here’s why: it combines excellent performance, low benefit-in-kind taxation and an extremely impressive range. Although only available as a saloon, when you begin to crunch the numbers you'll see why this is the version to go for.

In case you’re wondering, the ED stands for Efficient Dynamics. This means you get a host of efficiency-booting technology including stop/start, brake energy regeneration, an optimum shift indicator, active aerodynamics and a clever electric power steering system.

To see why the ED is the pick of the fleet flock we’ve pitched it against two similar 5 Series SE models – one petrol 520i and one diesel 520d - over a series of disciplines.

First, let’s look at company car tax:

  2011/12 2012/13 2013/14
520d ED £132 £172 £182
520d SE £190 £200 £210
520i SE £217 £227 £237

As you can see, the ED is significantly cheaper each month than both models. In fact, you’d save £1,368 over a three year lease period by choosing it over the 520d SE and a huge £2,340 over the petrol 520i model.

Now, let’s look at performance and fuel economy:

  0-62mph Top speed BHP/Nm MPG Range
520d ED 8.2 144mph 184/380 62.8 942
520d SE 8.1 141mph 184/380 58.9 883
520i SE 7.9 141mph 184/270 41.5 623

So the ED is marginally slower to 62mph than the other two cars, has a higher top speed and will go for much longer between trips to the filling station.

However, since you’re saving around £1,300 in tax alone over a three year lease by choosing the ED model over a ‘regular’ diesel and £2,300 over the equivalent petrol model, it seems like a no-brainer to choose the Efficient Dynamics model.

For further stories and information on all things BMW, why not download CAR Magazine’s A-Z of BMW in 2012 iPad app. The FREE app can be downloaded from the iTunes store, here