Interior and tech
BMW must have shuddered when it first saw the new Mercedes-Benz E-class’ interior. Arguably even more luxurious and elaborate than the flagship S-class, the car quickly defined itself as the new standard in interior design. By contrast, at first sight of the BMW 5-series interior you might have initially been a little underwhelmed, but the workmanship and technology inside goes more than skin deep.
The first thing that strikes you is the sheer quality; every surface feels sturdy and luxurious. Although there is lots of scratch prone glossy black plastic, most material use is excellent. Sharing a similar basic dash architecture with the 7-series, the 5 replaces the silver control surfaces with sharper black ones. As standard, the 5-series receives a 10.25-inch display connected to the latest iteration of iDrive, although the fully digital instrument cluster and large head-up display are still optional extras.
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When interacting with the layered tech, the BMW is actually the more instinctive to use than the Mercedes E-class, which can be fiddly and a little distracting when both 12.3-inch displays are in use. The quality count is also slightly in the BMW’s favour, with even lower plastics soft touch and sturdy feeling. By contrast you don’t have to look far in an E-class to find some low rent materials.
The 5-series is also vast inside, with plenty of space for even three adults to sit comfortably in the back. The Touring just adds to this, making the new 5-series arguably the premium estate to beat, even if it lacks the NASA Launchpad sized load-bay of the E-class.