Once upon a time, a diesel estate car was seen as the ultimate family hauler. Of course, those were the days before SUVs and electric cars became the zeitgeist – and before diesel’s name was sullied as a result of certain nefarious activities by folk over at a certain Wolfsburg-based automotive conglomerate.
Today, the fuel’s popularity is waning, as indeed is the estate car. Waning, but not entirely diminished, that is, because there are still plenty of diesel estates on sale.
Diesel estates like this BMW 520d Touring. The 5-Series is one of the best large executive cars out there, not to mention one of our favourite estate cars, and it’s just had a facelift, which should – in theory – make it even better.
- Lovely, fluid handling
- Brilliant interior
- Impressive fuel efficiency
- Jittery ride on large-diameter wheels
- Relatively high price
- Virtual dials aren’t the easiest to read
Along with a spot of nip-and-tuck, this mid-life primp has brought hybridisation to the 5-Series range, though as with many of its rivals this is hybridisation in its mildest form. That means most engines – including this entry-level diesel – now get a starter motor that also acts as a generator, which charges a little additional battery that can store a small electric boost.