Edmunds: 2011 BMW 535i First Drive “Bigger, Yet Better”

5-series | January 22nd, 2010 by 21
2011 bmw 5series actf34 fd 2 1600 750x500

Ready for another review? This time, Edmunds InsideLine test drives and reviews the 2011 BMW 535i. Before we let you jump into the review, allow …

Ready for another review? This time, Edmunds InsideLine test drives and reviews the 2011 BMW 535i. Before we let you jump into the review, allow us to share their last paragraph with you:

“When we first saw the 2011 BMW 5 Series, the Munich executives told us that the base price of the 2011 BMW 535i would stay the same as the 2010 BMW 5 Series, which has a base price of $51,250.

Well, maybe it was the intoxicating Portuguese sea air, but these same execs have just told us that the decision has been made to price this new and improved 5 Series below the outgoing model. Are we looking at a possible $49,999.99 base price for the 2011 BMW 535i? Wait and see.”

If this indeed turns out to be truth, then BMW has a winner in their hands.

2011 bmw 5series actr34 fd 2 1600 655x436

Hit the jump for the review…

But, as we discovered on the 13-turn, 2.6-mile track at Estoril, a former Formula 1 circuit, there is no substitute for the fantastic ZF six-speed manual transmission that comes as standard equipment for the 5 Series when you want the perfect gear and revs at every moment. Such a choice would place you among the elite 5 percent of all 5 Series buyers worldwide who don’t care much about resale value but do really like to decide all matters when it comes to shifting.

Tracking the Changes
Most of our time with this fairly heavily optioned 2011 BMW 535i involved dashing around the coastal hills in the rural region around Lisbon. We had 245/45R18 96Y Dunlop SP Sport Maxx GTs under the fenders along with most of the items from the Sport package.

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The combination of BMW’s new four-wheel-steer tech with electric-assist steering felt superb throughout all of the hundreds of quick left-right-left maneuvers we negotiated at speed. We preferred the Sport mode in the DDC, especially the ability to make customized modifications within that mode through the fourth-generation iDrive interface. (Portuguese roads and drivers are not of the highest quality, so a little electronic oversight is best.)

All the while, the calm within the redesigned though still driver-oriented cabin was up there with the finest we’ve ever experienced (excepting all Rolls-Royces, of course). The Dunlops transfer a modicum of road sound while the wind noise, even during our top-speed run, proved incredibly low (the bodywork has a 0.29 Cd).


Five laps of Estoril showed off the ability of this big car (the biggest in the segment) to feel less big than all of its competitors. The 2011 BMW 535i comes with the new turbocharged 3.0-liter N55 inline-6 with its single twin-scroll turbo, and when the car weighs in with the new eight-speed automatic, the scales register 3,880 pounds. This is some 177 pounds more than the outgoing car (even though the new eight-speed automatic actually weighs 7 pounds less than the old six-speed automatic), but that’s the price you pay for a larger package and a 55 percent increase in structural rigidity. Fortunately the combination of 302 horsepower at 5,800-6,400 rpm and 295 pound-feet of torque from 1,200-5,000 rpm gets the new 535i four-door to 100 km/h (62 mph) in just 5.9 seconds.


Full review at Edmunds and more reviews and coverage on Twitter.

21 responses to “Edmunds: 2011 BMW 535i First Drive “Bigger, Yet Better””

  1. :p says:

    The best in class prenium mid-size sedan in to be sold in the US just got better. I wonder how much more customers would BMW get if they drop the prices on all models by 5 thousand dollars.

    • Simba says:

      5000 is a lot of money to drop – that will hurt BMW’s profits.

      • :p says:

        Walmart drops prices on there stuff and there was an influx of buyers so The company made large profits either way. If BMW sold there BMW with a low profit margin, their vehicles would be cheaper and more people would buy the brand meaning more money into BMW’s bank.

  2. Jordan says:

    I can’t wait for this car…. every bit of news that comes out makes it more and more appealing! … M5 will be epic!

  3. orlandocroccia says:

    The car is beautifull! Being portuguese and not had the chance to saw the 5er in it’s presentation is sad, but i’ll wait to see it in the roads! It’s true that some roads here are a little like suiss cheese, but the drivers…some are good and some are bad like everywhere, lol!

  4. viper says:

    cant wait for Top Gear review

    • Babken says:

      You’ll be bitterly disappointed with your pathetic e-class after the Top Gear review.

      • viper says:

        I think the opposite will happen

      • Resin8 says:

        Don’t encourage him, maybe he’ll go away…

        • XC says:

          Yeah, let’s pretend he doesn`t exist! lol

          • XC says:

            haha… Comment deleted! So now VIPER can’t post anything if he’s not polite… LOL That’s great education for our regular buffoon: Post politely or else… ROFL. (Kudos Admin.)

          • plaxico says:

            calling someone buffoon is polite isn it…..buffoon xc

          • XC says:

            Well at least it isn’t rude LOL. See something from my friend Wiki: “The term Buffoon is used to define someone who provides amusement through inappropriate appearance and/or behavior. Strictly, a buffoon describes a “ridiculous, but nevertheless amusing person.” In the broad terms, a buffoon is a clownish, publicly amusing person, such as a court jester. In the more modern sense, the term is frequently used in a derogatory sense to describe someone considered a public fool, or someone whose inappropriately vulgar, bumbling, or ridiculous behavior is a source of general amusement.”

  5. Joe says:

    So glad they made a Manual.. BMW FTW. This is my next car!!!

  6. ll says:

    i love 5 Series

  7. Confusing review can be found on Autocar’s website – I think they’re saying that the new car has gone soft.

  8. X5SoB says:

    I used to say the new 5 looked like an obese 3, but after looking at it for a while now, it has grown on me. So, the 3 is an anorexic 5?

  9. wpBimmer says:

    This car is boring…an old man’s 7 with a foot taken our of the middle, and after looing at another slab-sided 7er yesterday witht the exact same tail lamps as this 5, looks like BMW is following MBs failed strategy of a few years ago when they intro’d the C theat looked like the S. The E60 has the edge that a man with the passion still wants to drive aggressively has…this 5er thing with it’s droopy eyes, slab sides and copy cat 7er looks reminds on why designer Van der What was a second fidddle.

  10. :p says:

    why do you europeans care more about looks than the preformance and other non cosmetic specs. Dont judge a book by its cover

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