Executive Car of the Year 2018: BMW 5 Series
The BMW 5 Series is the 2018 Auto Express Executive Car of the Year, with the Mercedes E-Class and Volvo S90 commended
Competition is tight in the executive car class, but for a second year in a row the BMW 5 Series has proven it’s the cream of the crop. This Mk7 model has evolved into the consummate all-rounder, offering style, refinement, quality, performance, tech, comfort and efficiency. It’s quite a package.
The 5 Series was a leap forward when it arrived thanks to its new, lightweight architecture, which adopted much of the tech from the larger 7 Series. Distilled down into the more affordable model, it’s an enticing proposition and offers something that is key to every BMW: an involving drive.
This is the most dynamic car in its class, with beautiful balance, impressive agility for a big executive saloon and a rewarding chassis that doesn’t compromise on comfort. The powertrains on offer match up, too. Diesel has a place here, and with four and six-cylinder variants there’s lots of choice. But if you’re against diesel, a plug-in hybrid and potent petrol versions serve up the performance and refinement required at this level.
Go for adaptive dampers and the 5 Series’ abilities are widened further, offering a cossetting ride in its Comfort setting. In Sport there’s tauter control to the way the BMW conducts itself.
The new platform has helped trim around 100kg from the latest model, which helps make the car one of the most nimble and engaging exec saloons.
With xDrive four-wheel drive available, you can add extra traction to handle typically treacherous British winter conditions, yet this doesn’t hamper the rear-drive model’s dynamic balance or sense of fun. All cars get an eight-speed auto, which changes smoothly in auto and snaps through ratios quickly in manual mode. Linked to the 187bhp 2.0 diesel we recommend, the powertrain serves up decent pace, excellent refinement and impressive running costs, with up to a claimed 68.9mpg possible.
You needn’t get behind the wheel to experience the car’s abilities, though. An optional automatic parking system lets you move the 5 Series in and out of spaces using the digital key fob.
Safety is strong, too, with the Driving Assistant Plus pack allowing the BMW to accelerate, brake and steer itself on a motorway at up to 130mph. It even changes lanes and overtakes.
It doesn’t skimp on luxury, either, with sat-nav, a full leather interior and digital dials as standard.
BMW 520d SE (£37,775)
Only SE and M Sport trims are offered in the 5 Series line-up; racier M Sport models bring extra equipment and a beefier bodykit, but cost a further £3,000. So it’s the entry-level SE version that we’d go for, because this gets the same impressive and intuitive infotainment system, a digital dashboard and just as much comfort, agility and quality as the more expensive variant. The 520d’s engine offers the best balance of performance and economy.
If a sophisticated driving experience and plenty of luxury is what you’re after from your exec saloon, then the Mercedes E-Class delivers it in spades. It’s not as engaging or exciting as the 5 Series overall, but has a beautifully crafted cabin, impressive digital displays and air suspension, but those latter features are both optional.
The S90 takes the effortless Scandinavian cool from Volvo’s SUVs and distils it down into a smart saloon package that feels decidedly different to its German rivals. This makes it a breath of fresh air in an otherwise derivative class. Strong infotainment, plenty of comfort and advanced technology mean you can buy the Volvo on merit.
Auto Express New Car Awards 2018
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- 1IntroductionWhat are the best new cars to buy in the UK today? The 2018 New Car Awards have the answer...
- 2Car of the YearThe Auto Express Car of the Year for 2018 is the all-electric Jaguar I-Pace
- 3City Car of the YearThe Volkswagen up! is the 2018 Auto Express City Car of the Year, with the Kia Picanto and Skoda Citigo commended
- 4Supermini of the YearThe Ford Fiesta is the 2018 Auto Express Supermini of the Year, with the MINI 5-door and SEAT Ibiza commended
- 5Convertible of the YearThe MINI Convertible is the 2018 Auto Express Convertible of the Year, with the Audi A3 Cabriolet and Mercedes E-Class Cabriolet commended
- 6Compact Family Car of the YearThe Volkswagen Golf is the 2018 Auto Express Compact Family Car of the Year, with the Mercedes A-Class and Skoda Octavia commended
- 7Family Car of the YearThe Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport is the 2018 Auto Express Family Car of the Year, with the Skoda Superb and Toyota Prius commended
- 8Compact Executive Car of the YearThe Mercedes C-Class is the 2018 Auto Express Compact Executive Car of the Year, with the Alfa Romeo Giulia and Jaguar XE commended
- 9Executive Car of the Year - currently readingThe BMW 5 Series is the 2018 Auto Express Executive Car of the Year, with the Mercedes E-Class and Volvo S90 commended
- 10Estate Car of the YearThe Skoda Octavia Estate is the 2018 Auto Express Estate Car of the Year, with the BMW 5 Series Touring and Volvo V60 commended
- 11Small SUV of the YearThe Citroen C3 Aircross is the 2018 Auto Express Small SUV of the Year, with the SEAT Arona and Volkswagen T-Roc commended
- 12Mid-size SUV of the YearSkoda is on a roll, and the Karoq is proof that the Czech brand knows exactly what it’s doing in the field of family SUVs.
- 13Large SUV of the YearThe Skoda Kodiaq is the 2018 Auto Express Large SUV of the Year, with the Peugeot 5008 and SsangYong Rexton commended
- 14Small Premium SUV of the YearThe Volvo XC40 is the 2018 Auto Express Small Premium SUV of the Year, with the BMW X1 and MINI Countryman commended
- 15Mid-size Premium SUV of the YearThe BMW X3 is the 2018 Auto Express Premium Mid-size SUV of the Year, with the Jaguar F-Pace and Volvo XC60 commended
- 16Large Premium SUV of the YearThe Land Rover Discovery is the 2018 Auto Express Premium SUV of the Year, with the Porsche Cayenne and Range Rover commended
- 17MPV of the YearThe Citroen Grand C4 SpaceTourer is the 2018 Auto Express MPV of the Year, with the Renault Grand Scenic and SEAT Alhambra commended
- 18Roadster of the YearThe Mazda MX-5 is the 2018 Auto Express Roadster of the Year, with the McLaren 570S Spider and Porsche 718 Boxster commended
- 19Coupe of the YearThe Lexus LC is the 2018 Auto Express Coupe of the Year, with the Audi A5 and Porsche 718 Cayman commended
- 20Hot Hatch of the YearThe Honda Civic Type R is the 2018 Auto Express Hot Hatch of the Year, with the Ford Fiesta ST and Hyundai i30 N commended
- 21Performance Car of the YearThe Porsche 911 GT3 is the 2018 Auto Express Performance Car of the Year, with the Aston Martin Vantage and BMW M5 commended
- 22Luxury Car of the YearThe Mercedes S-Class is the 2018 Auto Express Luxury Car of the Year, with the Bentley Continental GT and Porsche Panamera commended
- 23Affordable Electric Car of the YearThe Hyundai Kona Electric is the 2018 Auto Express Affordable Electric Car of the Year, with the Nissan Leaf and Volkswagen e-Golf commended
- 24Premium Electric Car of the YearThe Jaguar I-Pace is the 2018 Auto Express Premium Electric Car of the Year, with the BMW i3 and Tesla Model S commended
- 25Affordable Hybrid Car of the YearThe Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in is the 2018 Auto Express Affordable Hybrid Car of the Year, with the MINI Countryman and Toyota Prius commended
- 26Premium Hybrid Car of the YearThe Volvo XC60 T8 Twin Engine is the 2018 Auto Express Premium Hybrid Car of the Year, with the BMW 530e and Range Rover Plug-in commended
- 27Pick-up of the YearThe Mitsubishi L200 is the 2018 Auto Express Pick-up of the Year, with the Ford Ranger and Mercedes X-Class commended
- 28Van of the YearThe Mercedes Sprinter is the 2018 Auto Express Van of the Year, with the Ford Transit Custom and Volkswagen Crafter commended
- 29Technology AwardThe Nissan Leaf wins the Auto Express 2018 Technology Award for its bi-directional charging
- 30Social Media Campaign of the YearJeep's 'Set your own course' has won the 2018 Social Media Campaign of the Year
- 31Car Advertising Campaign of the YearVolkswagen's 'Born Confident' advert for the new T-Roc has won the 2018 integrated advertising campaign awarC
- 32Driver Power AwardLexus has scooped the 2018 Driver Power Award after taking the customer satisfaction survey by storm once again
- 33Design AwardWe asked you what your favourite car design is for 2018, and the Aston Martin Vantage has taken the crown
- 34Anniversary Awards – Auto Express, evo and OctaneWe celebrate 30 years of Auto Express, 20 years of evo and 15 years of Octane with our special Anniversary Awards