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2018 BMW 530i Touring performance review

By Chris Thompson, 09 Jul 2018 Reviews

2018 BMW 530i Touring review

Ditch the SUV and shift the family in style

Want a BMW 5 Series wagon with a straight six under the hood? Too bad, you can’t have one. Not here in Oz, anyway.

The largest engine you can get in a 5’er Touring now is the 2.0-litre turbo four, which will probably disappointing to hear. Don’t fret, however, because if you get the chance to drive one, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by what the 530i can offer dynamically.

Its 185kW and 350Nm don’t sound enough to raise the BPM, but the engine feels stronger than you’d expect if you keep the revs in the higher end of the quite attractive digital tacho.

The smooth 8-speed auto will let you take full control with the paddles, no self-shifting or denying (reasonable) requests.

The wagon’s 0-100km/h sits at a claimed 6.5 seconds, but once it’s off the 530i’s ability to hold its own on a twisty bit of the black stuff could make us forgive its lack of outright pace. Being rear-driven (xDrive isn’t an option), the front feels nimble and the steering light given it’s not a sports car. Essentially, the chassis is balanced and holds the 1640kg bulk well when pushed.

Of the very few luxury wagons available, the 530i strikes arguably the best balance of comfort and capability for drivers, where other wagons are heavier and higher – such as the crossovers from Audi, Merc, and Volvo.

Inside, the 530i continues to impress. Ergonomically the driving position and controls surrounding it (especially for the excellent iDrive system) are spot-on, and the design is visually pleasing, if a little conservative.

Its Harman Kardon sound system is also a big plus, sometimes necessary to drown the noise generated by harsh Aussie roads – a complaint for the government rather than for BMW.

The only thing holding the 5’er wagon back from being an excellent buy is the price, a rather important aspect for most. At $115,500, BMW is asking a lot for a car powered by a four-cylinder engine, even if it is lovely to drive.