Autoblog is next in the 2011 BMW 5 Series reviews lane. Our turn has finally come today and a quick review was posted earlier, but before our full review goes up, let’s take a moment and learn more about the 5 Series through Autoblog.
A few thoughts on the new N55 engine
While we liked (okay, adored) the outgoing 5 Series’ N54 3.0-liter twin-turbo in-line six, the 535i receives a new single turbo engine dubbed N55, and it offers exactly the same 300 horsepower and 300 pound-feet of torque. So why bother? Because BMW’s smarty-pants engineers have imbued the new motor with superior packaging, cleaner emissions and better throttle response.
About that last bit – if you’re wondering how a single, larger turbo can be quicker to respond than a pair of smaller units, BMW has cracked the code with the combination of a dual-scroll element and the company’s Valvetronic throttle-less intake technology. Suffice it to say that the N55 just plain works, with eager revs and a wonderfully flat power curve (the engine’s torque cup runneth over from just 1,200 on through 5,000 rpm). BMW says 60 miles-per-hour can be cracked in 5.7 seconds and top speed is limited to 130 mph – 150 mph if you spring for the Sport Package.
Out on the track, with the optional Driving Dynamics Control rocker switch toggled to its raciest Sport + mode (the other three settings: Comfort, Normal and Sport), this big Fiver’s mid-corner stance is flatter than your first girlfriend. The steering gains weight and speed without feeling artificial, the gearbox’s marching orders are rejiggered to keep engine revs up and reduce shift times, and the electronic limited-slip tech and relaxed traction and stability control algorithms yield a surprisingly frisky big sedan.
The new 5 Series is better looking, more luxurious and more capable – yet it is also safer and cleaner.