BMW 530d SE Touring22 | 04 | 2011Scotcars rating

    BMW proves that lugging loads of luggage and paraphernalia can be done with style


    Maybe it’s my advancing years, but I now like my comforts when I get behind the wheel. Gone are the days when all I wanted was a close-shift gearbox, a tiny sports wheel and some rock hard rally seats. Now I desire deep, spacious armchairs (preferably heated or ventilated and electrically adjusted); a silky smooth auto box and a big beefy, effortless six cylinder power unit under the bonnet to glide me on my way. Hang on, that’s the BMW 530d SE Touring.

    The Imperial Blue Xirallic (apparently that’s a pigment used in the paint to create a stronger glitter effect than standard metallic) paintwork was finished off with some very smart oyster and black Dakota leather seats and upholstery, and it certainly looked the business. But there was much more as I discovered once I got to know the car a bit better during our week together.

    It simply groaned with extras on top of an already comprehensive list of standard fittings. Huge 19in alloys came at no extra charge, but you would need to have a robust credit card or a healthy bank balance to order the Adaptive Drive (£2220); the Dynamic Package (£2820); the Media Package (£1960); the Sport Automatic transmission (£1605) or the Visibility Package (£1210). In simple terms, they make life very comfortable in the car but when I totted up all the stuff that was in this test car the bill came to almost £17,000, making the final price of this car a staggering £56,300.  

    On the road

    All those toys, especially the Adaptive Drive and Dynamic Package, make the car a great performer on the road and the engineering really does make it a delightful mode of transport, getting very near BMW’s advertising claims of their cars being the ultimate driving machine.

    Over a wide range of road conditions and in a variety of weather including ice, rain, gales and mud, the car never put a foot wrong and felt solid and secure at all times. The big straight-six diesel engine could handle all my demands and returned anything from gentle cruising to lively sports. I really enjoyed the head-up display (£940) which projects information on to the windscreen in front of the driver. On a standard setting you can have your speed in digital numbers, or if you’ve set the satnav, your directions can be put in front of your eyes.

    Not only did the test car also have a reversing view camera, it had others around the car to give you additional views, including ones at the front looking to the side, so they can peep round troublesome junctions. They seem like a gimmick, but actually they’re quite useful once you get used to them.

    Comfort & Safety

    This is a big car and as it’s the Touring version (or estate car as we used to call it) the carrying capacity is vast, not just for passengers but for all their luggage as well. They may seem like simple issues, but things like securing rings in the luggage compartment, a retractable dividing net and an automatically retracting load cover, make life just that little bit easier. The sound system is superb and pairing my phone to the Bluetooth system –one of my hobbyhorses because sometimes it is just so frustrating – was simple and effective.

    I loved the car because it just seemed to fit me perfectly. Everything was to hand and made my life better. It was superbly comfortable but could get up and go when asked. What more could you ask from your daily transport? It’s just a pity it’s so damned expensive.  

    Should you buy one?

    All the German offerings in this range are good – but the BMW really has everything sorted with the big 530d Touring.

    CLICK HERE to see our video of the BMW 5 series Touring

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    Alan Douglas

    Quick Stats
    Price OTR/As Tested £39,400 / £56,300
    Engine / Power: 2993cc 6cyl diesel / 245bhp
    How fast?: 0-62mph 6.4secs,  Max 150mph
    How big/heavy?: H1462mm, W1860mm, L4907mm / 1800kg
    How thirsty/CO2?: Combined 44.1mpg / CO2 169g/km
    InsGP/Road tax: n/a / Band H £180
    Alternatives: Audi A6 Avant; Mercedes E Class estate

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