New Car Reviews

2011 BMW 535i – Four Seasons Update – February 2011

Long-Term 2011 BMW 5-Series Update: Winter 2011 ( 1 of 5 ) Miles to date: 0

Months in service: 9
Miles to date: 22,818

When the 535i returned from Florida, it went in for its first service (at 21,758 miles!). The first priority was getting the gas gauge fixed, considering that its malfunction had already left one staffer stranded on the side of the highway [see our January update]. The fuel level sender was replaced per a recall. The dealer also ordered a new trunk seal (another recall), a new emissions label for under the hood, and new windshield wipers. An engine oil/filter service also was performed. With BMW’s free scheduled maintenance, the total charge was $0.

We had previously noted that the 535i has a second microphone for its Bluetooth system, located above the passenger’s visor. Lately, we’ve been noticing that those microphones have been picking up a lot of wind noise — or, we should say, those on the other end of our phone conversations have been noticing it. “I made several calls with Bluetooth and received multiple complaints about wind noise from the people I talked to,” said senior online editor Phil Floraday, echoing a similar complaint logged by associate editor Eric Tingwall. It’s February, so it’s not as if we’re driving around with the windows open. “BMW seems to have a hard time sealing out wind noise from around the mirrors/A-pillar area of the new 5-series.”

Now that we’re deep into winter, we can draw some conclusions about the winter tires fitted to our 535i. We chose Dunlop SP Winter Sports, and they seem to shade more toward Sport than to Winter. Unlike most winter tires, “Our Dunlop SP Winter Sports do not seem to have unduly affected the handling or ride,” said deputy editor Joe DeMatio. But the flipside is that they’re not super adept at dealing with deep powder. On unplowed streets after an overnight snowfall, Floraday observed: “The first time I left a stop I got big wheelspin with maybe one-third throttle applied. This turbo six develops so much torque down low that you’d want all-wheel-drive and snow tires to beat traffic off the line in winter — especially since BMW’s traction control system cuts the power for so long once slip is detected.”

With any luck, we’ll soon be emerging from winter, and the 535i will be heading into its fourth and final season. Check back for updates.

2011 BMW 535i Sedan

Base price (with destination): $50,475
Price as tested: $65,425

Standard Equipment:
3.0-liter single-turbocharged DOHC inline 6-cylinder
8-speed STEPTRONIC automatic transmission
4-wheel disc brakes with ABS and DBC
Dynamic stability control and traction control
Xenon adaptive headlights with auto-leveling and corner lights
Rain-sensing wipers
10-way power adjustable driver’s and front seat with memory
AM/FM stereo with CD/MP3 player audio system and HD radio
2-way power moonroof
Dual-zone automatic climate control
Power tilt/telescoping steering wheel
Automatic headlight control
Leather-wrapped multi-function steering wheel
iDrive system with on-board computer
Vehicle monitor system
Cruise control
Adaptive brake lights

Options on this vehicle:
Dynamic handling package — $2700
Electronic damping control
Active roll stabilization
Adaptive drive
Sport package — $2200
19-inch alloy wheels
Sports leather steering wheel
Mulit-contour seats
Navigation system — $1900
Premium package — $1800
Driver assist package — $1750
Automatic high beams
Lane departure warning
Active blind spot detection
Parking assist
Convenience package — $1700
Comfort access keyless entry
Side and top view cameras — $800
Park distance control — $750
Deep Sea Blue metallic paint — $550
Rearview camera — $400
iPod and USB adapter — $400

Key options not on vehicle:
Active ventilated seat package — $2950
Cold weather package — $1050
Premium package 2 — $4900
Premium package plus:
Heated front seats
Power rear sunshade
Satellite radio
Night vision with pedestrian detection — $2600
Satellite radio — $350

Fuel economy, city/hwy/combined: 20 / 29 / 23

Engine: 3.0-liter turbocharged direct-injected DOHC inline 6-cylinder
Horsepower: 300 @ 5800 rpm
Torque: 300 lb-ft @ 1200-5800 rpm

Drive: Rear-wheel

Transmission: 8-speed STEPTRONIC automatic

Unladen weight: 4090 lb

Wheels/tires: 19-inch V-spoke aluminum wheels; 245/40R19 94Y front, 275/35R19 96Y rear Goodyear Excellence performance run-flat tires

Competitors: Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Jaguar XF, Infiniti M37, Hyundai Genesis sedan, Cadillac CTS