The BMW 5 Series has shot straight back to the top of the class. With its blend of comfort, refinement, technology, low running costs and engaging driving dynamics, the newcomer is arguably one of the greatest all-rounders money can buy. The x-Drive model delivers confidence-inspiring all-weather appeal, but for most people the more efficient two-wheel drive 520d could just be all the car they’ll ever. The use of lightweight alloys means the BMW is around 100kg lighter than its predecessor, which bodes well for handling and efficiency. There’s even a system available called Integral Active Steering, which can turn the rear wheels by a few degrees for extra agility at low speed and greater stability at higher speeds.
Performance is stronger, too. The combination of standard eight-speed gearbox and a healthy 400Nm of torque mean the BMW will sprint from 0-62mph in a brisk 7.6 seconds. Its speed off the line is helped by its xDrive four-wheel-drive system, which delivers great traction. Better still, the gearbox shifts smoothly in automatic mode and delivers crisp changes using the steering wheel mounted paddles.