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1110 2011 Bmw 535i November Update
four seasons long-term tests

2011 BMW 535i - Four Seasons Update - November 2010

FALL 2011 BMW 535i Sedan
2011 BMW 5-Series reviews to date

Months in service: Six
Miles to date: 15,719

After 15,719 miles, you might think it would be time to take our 535i in for its first scheduled maintenance, but we have yet to see the inside of our local dealer’s service department. That’s because BMW’s maintenance requirements aren’t based on a set schedule; instead, the car’s engine management computer decides when service is required based on the amount and type of driving that the car is doing. So, effectively, when the 535i needs to see the dealer, it will tell us. (And, happily, the visit should be free, since BMW covers routine maintenance for the first four years or 50,000 miles.)

Unfortunately, that coverage does not extend to snow tires. Our new Dunlop SP Winter Sports were $1080 for a set of four. They also required new, eighteen-inch wheels, rather than the nineteen-inch wheels that came standard with the 535i’s sport package.

Those in serious winter climates might wonder about going with all-wheel drive instead. All-wheel drive is available on the 535i, and the 550i as well (but not the base, 528i). For the 535i, xDrive adds $2300 to the sticker price. There’s also a fuel economy penalty, but it’s very minor, only 1 mpg city and highway, versus the rear-wheel-drive 535i with an automatic transmission (the 535i xDrive is automatic only). Like the rear-wheel-drive 535i, the 535xi comes with all-season tires as its standard fitment. Opt for the sport package, though, as we did with our 535i, and even the 535xi then switches to high-performance summer tires. So, regardless of the number of driving wheels, if you get the sport package, you’ll really need to swap tires come winter.

Speaking of options, to no one’s surprise, the whining has already started about the lack of heated seats in our 535i. How did people in northern climes ever get along without this feature? Also, we’re beginning to worry a bit about the navigation screen. From the logbook: “I love the huge nav screen in this BMW, but I don’t have a lot of confidence in its longevity. Sometimes it will continue to display the rear-view camera image after you’ve shifted out of reverse. Other times it will continue to display the push-button-to-shift-out-of-park message even once you’re in drive and rolling along. In both cases, it seems to realize the error of its ways and correct itself right about the time you look over at it and think, ‘what the heck?’” If memory serves, the screen in our Four Seasons X5 behaved similarly.

Conversely, we were happy to discover a second Bluetooth microphone located for the front-seat passenger. After all, as long as everyone in the car can hear your Bluetooth phone conversation, they might as well be able to participate too. And the stereo has come in for praise as well. “The sound quality is phenomenal,” says West Coast editor Jason Cammisa. “And BMW’s iPod integration is the best in the business.”

We’re only just approaching the midway point with the 5-series; there’s still lots more to discover.

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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