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BMW 5 Series vs Mercedes E-Class vs Jaguar XF

Auto Express logo Auto Express 13/02/2017 Auto Express

BMW 5 Series vs Mercedes E-Class vs Jaguar XF - group header

BMW 5 Series vs Mercedes E-Class vs Jaguar XF
© Auto Express

The pace is hot at the top of the executive saloon sector. BMW knows it, which is why it’s gone to town with the development of its all-new, seventh-generation 5 Series.

A glut of new premium saloons arrived last year, including the Mercedes E-Class, which hit the market with a range of advanced technology, autonomous driver aids, more space than ever and a slick cabin. It’s our current executive champion, and the car BMW will have to beat.

However, the 5 Series has traditionally offered a dynamic edge over its rivals, too, so while it will face some stiff competition from the E-Class on everyday issues such as versatility, safety and tech, if it wants to reign as the best-handling saloon in the sector, it will have to outpace the agile Jaguar XF.

Here we test the three cars at the centre of the class, all in efficient 2.0-litre diesel form and sportier trim levels, to determine which is the greatest all-rounder in what will undoubtedly be one of the hardest fought and most important road tests of 2017.

BMW 5 Series

© Auto Express
Model:BMW 520d xDrive M Sport
Engine:2.0-litre 4cyl turbodiesel, 187bhp
0-60mph:7.4 seconds
Test economy:52.9mpg/11.6mpl
Annual road tax:£110

The executive saloon sector is fiercely competitive, with cars such as the Volvo S90 and Mercedes E-Class changing the game recently. It’s the latter car this new 5 Series will have to beat. BMW now offers it with four-wheel drive for the first time on right-hand-drive models, and here we test the £41,025 520d xDrive M Sport.

Testers’ notes: “The £2,000 xDrive system adds security in slippery conditions, but the two-wheel-drive version is more efficient, matching its rivals’ Benefit in Kind rates of 22 per cent.”

Mercedes E-Class

© Auto Express
Model:Mercedes E 220 d AMG Line
Engine:2.0-litre 4cyl turbodiesel, 191bhp
0-60mph:7.3 seconds
Test economy:50.0mpg/11.0mpl
Annual road tax:£30

The Mercedes E-Class is our current class favourite, thanks to its blend of upmarket appeal and wallet-friendly running costs. It comes in just two trim levels and features a nine-speed auto gearbox. Here, we test the sporty AMG Line version in popular E 220 d guise, which costs £39,170.

Testers’ notes: “There are lots of personalisation options, including alloy wheels, paint finishes and trim – although the £645 black and pinstripe panels on our car won’t be to all tastes.”

Jaguar XF

© Auto Express
Model:Jaguar XF R-Sport 2.0d 180 auto
Engine:2.0-litre 4cyl turbodiesel, 178bhp
0-60mph:9.3 seconds
Test economy:47.1mpg/10.4mpl
Annual road tax:£30

For a brief period, Jaguar’s XF reigned supreme at the top of the executive saloon sector. Then the E-Class came along and knocked it off its perch last year. So can it still hold its own, or have Jaguar’s rivals moved the game on and out of the XF’s reach? To find out, we test the £36,850 R-Sport 2.0d auto, although our pictures show a Portfolio model.

Testers’ notes: “While adaptive cruise with queue assist is available for £1,430, you still have to steer to stay in your lane. Both the BMW and Mercedes offer more advanced systems.”


First place: BMW 5 Series

It’s five stars for the 5 Series. BMW’s new exec saloon is comfortably the sharpestcar to drive, the most comfortable, and matches its rivals for practicality. While it’s more expensive with xDrive 4WD, it was still the most efficient choice; a rear-driven 520d is competitively priced and will be even more cost-effective. Strong residuals round off a convincing win for one of the most complete cars on sale.

Second place: Mercedes E-Class

The E-Class is still a great saloon car with an impressive level of tech available. However, its ride is choppier, while expensive options mean you’ll pay more to match the 5 Series’ kit. It’s efficient, spacious and offers good performance, but this isn’t enough to offset the Mercedes’ poorer residuals, high servicing costs and dynamic shortfall compared with the BMW.

Third place: Jaguar XF

In this company, the XF feels a generation behind the curve. There’s no denying it has a strong engine and an agile chassis, but it isn’t as comfortable or as refined as its German rivals. There isn’t as much tech, either, and despite having a big boot it feels more cramped inside. Still, the XF is attractively priced for cash buyers, even though it depreciates at a similar rate to the Mercedes.

Also consider...

Audi A6 © Provided by Auto Express Audi A6

Audi A6 2.0 TDI S line
Price: £40,000 (est)
Engine: 2.0-litre 4cyl, 187bhp

Audi's next-generation A6 will be based on an all-new platform, and promises a step up in space and tech, with more of an individual design. A revised version of the brand’s 2.0 TDI should deliver strong performance. 

Facts and figures

BMW 520d xDrive M SportMercedes E 220d AMG LineJaguar XF R-Sport 2.0 d 180 auto
On the road price/total as tested£41,025/£50,555£39,170/£48,525£36,850/£36,850
Residual value (after 3yrs/36,000)£20,800/50.7%£16,436/42.0%£15,901/43.2%
Annual tax liability std/higher rate£1,967/£3,933£1,714/£3,428£16,19/£3,238
Annual fuel cost (12k/20k miles)£1,261/£2,101£1,334/£2,223£1,416/£2,360
Ins. group/quote/road tax band/cost31/£890/D/£11031/£873/C/£3028/£789/C/£30
Cost of 1st/2nd/3rd service£399 (3yrs/36,000)£37pm (3 services/3yrs)£525 (5yrs/50,000)
Engine4cyl in-line/1,995cc4cyl in-line/1,950cc4cyl in-line/1,999cc
Peak power/revs 187/4,000 bhp/rpm191/3,800 bhp/rpm178/4,000 bhp/rpm
Peak torque/revs 400/1,750 Nm/rpm400/1,600 Nm/rpm430/1,750 Nm/rpm
Transmission 8-spd auto/4wd9-spd auto/rwd8-spd auto/rwd
Fuel tank capacity/spare wheel66 litres/run-flats66 litres/run-flats66 litres/£185
Boot capacity (seats up/down)530 litres/N/A540 litres/N/A540/963 litres
Kerbweight/payload/towing weight1,620/705/2,000kg1,680/640/2,100kg1,595/655/2,000kg
Turning circle/drag coefficient12.2 metres/0.24Cd11.6 metres/0.23Cd11.6 metres/0.26Cd
Basic warranty (miles)/recovery3yrs (unlimited)/3yrs3yrs (unlimited)/4yrs3yrs (unlimited)/3yrs
Service intervals/UK dealersVariable (2yrs)/19215,500 miles (1yr)/14721,000 miles (2yrs)/84
Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos.15th/24th12th/20th6th/13th
NCAP: Adult/child/ped./assist/starsN/A95/90/77/62/592/84/80/83/5
0-60/30-70mph7.4/7.4 secs7.3/6.7 secs9.3/8.6 secs
30-50mph in 3rd/4th3.0/3.4 secs3.0/4.0 secs3.1/3.6 secs
50-70mph in 5th/6th/7th/8th5.0/6.3/8.3/15.6 secs6.0/7.3/9.6 secs/N/A5.1/6.4/8.2/15.0 secs
Top speed/rpm at 70mph 144mph/1,600rpm149mph/1,300rpm136mph/1,500rpm
Braking 70-0/60-0/30-0mph 45.5/32.2/8.2m49.5/33.0/9.5m67.4/45.7/10.7m*
Noise outside/idle/30/70mph68/52/63/69dB71/54/64/71dB75/52/63/69dB
Auto Express econ (mpg/mpl)/range52.9/11.6/768 miles50.0/11.0/726 miles47.1/10.4/684 miles
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined54.3/64.2/60.1mpg65.7/78.5/72.4mpg54.3/74.3/65.7mpg
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined 11.9/14.1/13.2mpl14.5/17.3/15.9mpl11.9/16.3/14.5mpl
Actual/claimed CO2/tax bracket143/124g/km/24%151/112g/km/22%161/114g/km/22%
Airbags/Isofix/park sensors/cameraSix/yes/yes/£375Seven/yes/yes/yesSix/yes/yes/£365
Auto box/stability/cruise control/AEBYes/yes/yes/yesYes/yes/yes/yesYes/yes/yes/yes
Climate control/leather/heated seatsYes/yes/yesYes/£1,595/yesYes/yes/yes
Metallic paint/LED lights/keyless go£675/yes/ £695£645/yes/£2,795**£690/£1,250/£510
Sat-nav/USB/DAB radio/BluetoothYes/yes/yes/yesYes/yes/yes/yesYes/yes/yes/yes


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