New vs Used: BMW 320d vs BMW M5 | Top Gear
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Monday 29th May

New vs Used: BMW 320d vs BMW M5

Sensible, factory-fresh, frugal family car, or thirsty twin-turbo hooligan?

  • Saloons can sometimes be seen as a bit boring. Stuff that crops up on the company car scheme, usually in 2.0-litre diesel format, and the only real way of feeling different is playing with the – limited – spec. And with niches getting ever nichier, it feels staid to go for a humdrum saloon. There are options, though...

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  • New BMW 320d – £33,610–£38,710

    Good: Frugal, decent to drive, inoffensively stylish, easy to sell on 

    Bad: Not a particularly creative choice, the new one isn’t the prettiest, spec-sensitive

    For years, a BMW 320d has been the go-to choice for an all-rounder. A decent-to-drive, well-built, covers-most-bases small saloon, and the newest iteration is as rational and brilliant as it always was. A lot of motoring journalists recommend them, and there’s a reason for that. It’ll deal with everything, never embarrass you, and be competent in most areas. There’s also always a market, even with all the diesel malarkey. But with a 320d Sport looking like it’ll be weighing in at around £35,000 on-the-road direct from BMW (without any options), there’s a little super-saloon niggle that might make your mind wander.

  • Pre-loved BMW M5 (F10) – £29,000–£50,000

    Good: It’s an M5! With a twin-turbo V8! 550+bhp! Shell points galore! 

    Bad: You’ll need oil shares to run it, and you’ll probably get nicked for speeding. Still...

    Forget a plain saloon, how about something a bit more… super? Like a 552bhp/502lb ft 4.4-litre F10 BMW M5? We know, it sounds daft, but bear with us here. Because you can pick up an F10 with modest mileage for around £30k. We found several, including a one-owner example with 27k on the clock and decent options for a smidge under £31k. That leaves you a little bit for preventative maintenance, insurance and, um, fuel. With the dealer figures set out as they have them on their own website, that’s a £4,641.30 deposit, and £538.87 monthly payment. If you start doing the maths late at night, it’s tempting.

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