2011 BMW 535i – Four Seasons Update – March 2011

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

Months in service: 10
Miles to date: 24,540

Perhaps at this point regular readers are tired of hearing about our winter weather. All we can say is they’re not as sick of it as we are. Deputy editor Joe DeMatio was hit with another round of it over Presidents Day Weekend, when he took the 5-series on a trip to Chicago and Milwaukee. “Horrible rain in Chicago gave way to heavy snow in Milwaukee, where we drove through six inches of fresh white stuff,” he reports. “The car was composed, stable, and inspiring under the adverse circumstances, and the Dunlop snow tires were superb.”

While DeMatio was pleased with their performance, others have found that the Winter SP Sport snow tires can struggle in deep powder, particularly in a powerful, torquey, rear-wheel-drive car like this BMW. But, as assistant editor David Zenlea notes, “We consciously chose an aggressive, performance winter tire. This is a sport sedan, after all. I’d say the choice has worked out well. As others have commented, this BMW rides and handles nearly as well as when it arrived.” These also are run-flats, which was important because our 535i was factory fitted with run-flats.

We’ve now entered our fourth season with this BMW, which is about the time that a long-term test car begins showing some wear. But with well over 20,000 miles on the clock, the 535i’s rich, black and cream leather interior is holding up quite well. Both DeMatio and art director Matt Tierney have recently praised the seating comfort, and the in-car electronics continue to win fans.

“The navigation system is excellent,” commented DeMatio after his 759-mile holiday weekend jaunt. “I like the fact that you can operate it on the fly. I saw a Jimmy Johns billboard and was able to quickly do a search and find the location at the next exit.” Tierney, meanwhile, was happy to discover the stereo’s hard-drive music storage function. “This morning I threw a CD into the dash and noticed a ‘store in system’ option appear on the menu, and I figured, ‘Don’t mind if I do.’ The Black Keys are now permanently available for your listening pleasure.”

There are only two months remaining to discover any more hidden talents — or potential failings with our 535i.

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

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