Second BMW 5 Series model to make its North American debut was the new 2011 F10 BMW 535i Sedan. While the visual changes between the 535i and the top model, 550i, are fairly small, the real difference comes from the power within.
The 2011 BMW 535i comes with the new turbocharged 3.0-liter N55 twin-scroll turbo, and equipped with the new eight-speed automatic, the car weighs 3,880 pounds. This is 177 pounds more than the outgoing car, but that’s the price you pay for a larger package and a 55 percent increase in structural rigidity.
The N55 engine produces 302 horsepower at 5,800-6,400 rpm and 295 pound-feet of torque from 1,200-5,000 rpm. The 2011 BMW 535i runs from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in just 5.9 seconds.
In our first test drive at the Portugal launch, fuel consumption as reported by the onboard computer, was around 11.6 liter/100km (20.2 MPG), significantly higher than the officially reported 8.4 liter/100km figure. Granted though, the car has been put through some intensive driving and fuel preservation has been the least of our concerns.
Sharing lots of design elements with the 7 Series, the 5 Series interior design closes the gap between BMW and Audi or Mercedes, when it comes to cabin aesthetics and quality.
The F10 5 Series interior is wider, more spacious and more appealing than the previous generation E60. While it has the design quality of the new 7 Series, the 2011 BMW 5 Series brings back the sporty elements as seen in the late 90s E39 models, beginning with the driver oriented dashboard.
Where the E60 may have drawn some criticism with its blend and “plasticy nature”, the new F10 5 Series looks more upscale with its higher quality materials and trim choices. The choices of colors and materials further enhance the impression of personal luxury and the interior’s interplay of lines and surfaces. Special attention has been given to these fine details, one of them is the subtle crease line going across the wood trim on the passenger side.
Parts of the cluster are in a high-resolution Black Panel display. Climate-control settings and controls are located in a second Black Panel display in the center console stack.
The center console comes in two variants: on cars with a manual gearbox, the console is split into two sections, the black surface surrounding the gearshift lever and the buttons on the optional Driving Dynamics Control oriented towards the driver. A nice touch is the key holder placed between the gearshift lever and the climate control.
The latest iDrive generation is available in the new 535i. The actual navigation system features a 10.2-inch 1280×480 resolution screen.
The front seats seem very sporty, but yet comfortable and with great lumbar support.
The exterior design, while evolutionary at core, is still a masterpiece, a safe, classy design that will win many new customers. The design lines flow gracefully from front to back and the design is characterized by a combination of perfectly blended concave and convex surfaces.
The front-end is less imposing than we’ve seen on the 7 Series or the 5 GT models, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. The smaller kidney grille fits the overall design and the image of a 5 Series sporty luxury sedan.
The headlights share a lot of design cues with the 5 GT and the 3 Series Sedan facelift. They are slightly modified over the 3-Series units and much smaller than the 5-Series GT, making the new F10 its own uniquely styled BMW. The eyebrow remains an important characteristic in the latest headlights’ design.
Including $875 Destination & Handling, the new 535i Sedan will start at $50,475, slightly lower than the previous generation E60.
Photos credit Shawn Molnar