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1010 2011 Bmw 535i October Update
four seasons long-term tests

2011 BMW 535i - Four Seasons Update - October 2010

#BMW, #535i
FALL
2011 BMW 5-Series reviews to date

Months in service: Five
Miles to date: 14,751

The leaves in Michigan are turning and a chill is in the air. It's the time of year when a car guy's thoughts turn to...snow tires. Well, actually, it may be a little early to start thinking about snow tires, but with the 535i's two front tires looking fairly well worn and sporting several bulges in the sidewalls (despite the low 14,751 miles), we're putting the winter tires on early.

That prompted the question of which winter tires? Our sport-package-equipped 5-series wears a staggered tire size of 245/40YR-19 front and 275/35YR-19 rear. They're also run-flats, which means the car has no spare. Since we couldn't find a set of similarly sized nineteen-inch snow tires with run-flat capability, BMW recommended dropping down a wheel size for our winter fitment. So we're going with eighteen-inch Dunlop SP Winter Sports, which are also a bit narrower (the better to slice through deep snow), at size 245/45VR-18. Of course, this means a new set of wheels too.

Meanwhile, in the logbook, there have been some purist grumblings. Senior online editor Phil Floraday is one who has been making noise. Even while acknowledging the car's technical prowess, he downgrades the 535i for its intangibles, citing "steering that feels artificial, the four different drive programs that have Goldilocks Syndrome and never seem to be quite right, iDrive that takes forever to boot up," and finally, "that damned push-the-stop-button-twice-to-actually-turn-the-car-off feature that caps off each drive." As a result, he puts it behind the new Infiniti M37 in the fun-to-drive department, and behind the previous 5-series as well.

West Coast editor Jason Cammisa is also dissatisfied with the steering, which has switched from hydraulic to electric assist with the new model, a move made to lessen parasitic losses on the engine and improve efficiency. "I'd happily give up 0.5 mpg in return for the more talkative hydraulic steering rack," he says.

Also this month, a 550i with a six-speed manual appeared at the office, just in time for our Automobile of the Year/All-Stars competition. Of course, the range-topping, turbo-V-8 5-series provided a natural point of comparison with our turbo-six 535i. How did the 535i fare next to its more muscular sibling? Better than you might think.

"You'd expect that the 5-series with the twin-turbo V-8 and a six-speed manual would be the knockout combination for speed enthusiasts like us," said associate editor Eric Tingwall. "Instead, I stepped out of the 550i with a feeling of indifference. The 300 horsepower in our Four Seasons 535i is sufficient motivation for this sedan, but the real reason I'm not interested in more power is the 5-series' demeanor. This is a comfortable, luxury cruiser, not a corner-blitzing, sport sedan. Opting for more than the turbo inline-six is overkill."

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

tonkatoytruck
One must also bare in mind that the 6 cylinder's HP is under rated considerably.And for the people that actually own these cars, luxury sport sedan has a different meaning.Still a damn expensive car considering its less than overwhelming option packages it is still lacking. At this price, a V8 should be sitting under the hood.
platf1
If too much power in a 5 series is 'overkill' then BMW has a MAJOR problem on its hands.And what then, would be the point of the M5?

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