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Car reviews - BMW - 5 Series - 530i Touring wagon

Launch Story

BMW logo28 Jun 2005

By MARTON PETTENDY

MERCEDES-BENZ'S monopoly in the large luxury wagon market ended on June 20, when BMW's E61 530i Touring went on sale.

BMW hasn't offered a wagon version of its 5 Series for more than 12 months - since the superseded E39 530i Touring was discontinued in April 2004 - but the Munich maker hopes its larger, more powerful successor will make amends for that.

Just one variant is available, priced at $114,800 (up from the previous model's $105,200), though an optional $4000 Sport package will effectively replace the Sport version of the E39 Touring, which was last sold at $107,300.

Meantime, Mercedes-Benz continues to offer no fewer than four versions of the seven-seat S211 E-class Estate launched here in October 2003.

The Benz wagon range includes the 130kW/240Nm 2.6-litre V6 E240 (opening at $98,500), the 200kW/350Nm 3.5-litre V6 E350 (priced from $130,500), the 225kW/460Nm 5.0-litre V8 E500 (from $163,900) and the flagship 350kW/700Nm supercharged 5.4-litre V8 E55 Estate (from $231,600).

Powered by the same 190kW/300Nm 3.0-litre inline six that's just appeared here in the new E90 3 Series and the upgraded E60 5 Series sedan, the E61 530i Touring is up 20kW on its predecessor in terms of peak power.

It may still fall 10kW and 50Nm short of its most direct rival in the E350 Estate, but it's also $15,700 cheaper. However, while BMW's new R6-series magnesium-alloy six mates to a six-speed auto as standard, the E350 Estate employs a seven-speed self-shifter.

Weighing just 1590kg, the new 530i Touring offers a claimed 0-100km/h sprint time of 6.9 seconds, as well as a 250km/h top speed, and consumes just 9.5 litres per 100km on the combined European cycle.

In E61 guise, the 530i Touring comprises all of the features ushered in by the E60 5 Series sedan launched here in October 2003, including standard Active Steering, Dynamic Drive and aluminium suspension, plus 530i sedan equipment like 17-inch alloys, cruise control, rain-sensing wipers, leather upholstery, powered front seats, colour monitor with radio navigation, in-dash CD changer and a leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel.

In addition, the new Five wagon delivers self-levelling suspension, a "completely flat rear floor", 60/40-split folding rear seat, roof rails, Park Distance Control, an electric tailgate with soft-close function from the 7 Series and cargo space ranging from 500 litres (up 18 per cent on its forebear) to 1650 litres.

At 4843mm long and 1846mm wide (46mm wider than the previous model), BMW says the new 5 Series Touring delivers class-leading accommodation and comfort.

The M Sport Package comprises the M Aerodynamic Package, 15mm-lower sports suspension (incorporating self-levelling rear suspension), 18-inch M light alloy wheels on run flat 245/40 R18 tyres, M Sport steering wheel, M door sills, Individual anthracite roof lining, sport seats and interior trim strips in Aluminium cube Pure and satin chrome (black) for exterior windows (replacing chrome).

Like the 5 Series sedan, the Touring also offers eight airbags and seatbelt pre-tensioners as standard, plus Dynamic Stability Control and Dynamic Traction Control, ABS, Dynamic Brake Control and a tyre puncture warning system.

Options include a Panorama glass roof like that seen on X3 and X5, rear side blinds, a storage compartment package, ski bag and 18-inch Star-spoke alloy wheels.

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