The ’90s were great for cars, especially performance wagons. There were some icy-cool sports wagons back in the day, from all sorts of different automakers. To get a blast from the past and see which premium performance wagons were best, check out this retro-review from the June 1999 issue of Car and Driver. In it, the E39 BMW 520i Touring takes on the Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate, Audi A6 Avant, Saab 9-5 SE, and the Volvo V70R AWD.
As a sedan, the E39 5 Series was tough to beat back then. It had a near-perfect combination of handling, performance, and comfort. While the E39 BMW 528i is old by the compared with C&D’s original article, it still holds up well. It wasn’t as fast as its competition, either. However, it made up for it in other ways.
As a wagon, its competition grew, as several premium wagons were on sale without as many willing buyers as there should have been. However, despite its more practical body style, the E39 5 Series Touring was every bit as fun to drive as the sedan, just with more utility. Which is why, as enthusiasts, we love wagons.
I won’t ruin the vintage four-way comparison test for you but I can give you a hint: the Saab didn’t win. As much as I love Saab, and wish it would return, there was no way it was going to win a fight with the E39 5 Series and Audi A6. Many BMW enthusiasts feel as if the E39 5 Series was the best driving generation of 5 Series and it’s hard to argue.
It’s an interesting comparison test that’s worth reading. As BMW enthusiasts, we often pine for the old days of pure steering and balanced chassis. So this is your chance to go back and time and remember what those cars were like in their own day.
[Source: Car and Driver]