It's true; some of the PH collective will not be interested in an extremely powerful Audi estate. I can understand why that might be, I mean not everybody has a huge wodge of cash to blow on running a monster V10 that you'd barely use a quarter of the potential of in the real world. So, since I also write for What Car?, I shall put my sensible cap on and come up with a performance estate that satisfies both the heart and head: the BMW 535d.
"Boo, diesel" some of you (including my colleague Mark Pearson) will cry. But, just consider that this 310hp diesel engine will pull the ample proportioned 5 Series estate to 62mph in 5.4 seconds - which is less than a second off what the RS6 can achieve - and you'll realise there's something special about the BMW. It's also only 14lb ft shy of the 479 lb ft of torque you get in the big Audi, which is not bad considering that there's a 2.2-litre Honda Civic diesel sized gap between the 3.0-litre, six-cylinder 535d and the 5.2 V10 Audi RS6.
All F11 5 Series estates come with rear air suspension to keep things level when loaded up, so this car should still maintain a decent amount of ride comfort even though it's an M Sport model. Being a £50,000 car when new, it has plenty of equipment as standard, but this one has the advanced navigation system as well as power folding and auto dipping side mirrors.
The knowledgeable among you will know the 5 Series Touring is one of the few cars left that allows you to open the boot glass separately from the boot itself, which is very handy if you find yourself in a tight spot. The boot floor is nice and low, too, so an elderly dog with arthritis can still make it into the back without needing a leg up.
Best of all is the fuel economy. At 49.6 mpg combined it will go nearly 2.5x further on a gallon than an RS6 and need a stop for fuel every 700 miles rather than the 300 in the Audi. Okay, enough of the dull and trivial, but the point is the 535d is plenty fast in the real world for most drivers and suitable for most wallet sizes as well. It can't quite match the Audi for depreciation, but it is a younger vehicle after all, and £18,980 isn't much for a car that cost as much as a house four years ago. A small bungalow in Yorkshire, admittedly, but a roof over your head nevertheless.
SPECIFICATION - BMW 535d ESTATE
Engine: 2,993cc, six-cylinder, turbocharged
Transmission: 8-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 308@ 4,400rpm
Torque (lb ft): 465@ 1,500-2,500rpm
First registered: 2014
Recorded mileage: 45,292
Price new: £50,845
Yours for: £18,980
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