Next in line to review the new BMW 5 Series is Business Week. The model of choice? The 2011 BMW 535i, one of the most attractive vehicles in the 5 Series line-up.
As we have seen with the most of the reviews, the new 535i receives positive feedback and once again, the attractive pricing and better fuel economy play an important role.
Let’s have a look.
The Good: Lower price, better fuel economy, conservative styling, improved interior, available stick shift
The Bad: Pricey options, delayed rollout of all-wheel drive
The Bottom Line: BMW’s 5 is much improved and costs less
If you’ve always coveted a top-of-the-line BMW (BMW:GR) 7 Series sedan, you’ll probably love BMW’s new 5 Series. Completely redesigned for the 2011 model year, the 5 Series (which includes the entry-level 528i, the 535i, and the pricier, V8-powered 550i) is now bigger, more luxurious, and more conservatively styled than before, while maintaining the 5 Series’ quickness and handling. On top of that, the 2011 is more fuel-efficient than the previous 5 Series—and actually costs less.
The net result is that the 2011 535i sedan, the model I recently test-drove, was just a small step down in size from the regular-wheel-base version of the new 735i—at a lower price than the previous-generation 535i. At 193.1 inches, the new 535i is two inches longer than the previous one and has a wheelbase that’s 3.2 inches longer. It’s still more than half-a-foot shorter than the 735i but when you slip into either of the front seats, you’d never know it. In the most important respects—front-seat head and leg room—the new 5 Series offers almost exactly the same space as BMW’s top-of-the-line sedan.
Surprisingly, the 535i’s rear seat is only a tiny bit more cramped than the 735i’s, with adequate head and knee space for an average adult and plenty of foot room under the front seats. And the trunk, at 14 cu. ft., is the same size. (Optional fold-down rear seats cost an extra $475.)
Starting price for the 2011 535i is $50,475, which is a bargain in BMW terms. It’s $1,650 less than the 2010 535i and a whopping $33,400 less than the 2011 BMW 750i. It’s also only $5,000 more than the new 528i, but $10,000 less than the new 550i. Just keep in mind that drawing on the long list of expensive optional equipment can quickly jack up the price.