InsideLine reviews the 2011 BMW 535i

5-series | September 14th, 2010 by 18

InsideLine just published their report on the 2011 BMW 535i. Last month they took the car on a racetrack, but now they deliver a full …

InsideLine just published their report on the 2011 BMW 535i. Last month they took the car on a racetrack, but now they deliver a full analysis of the capabilities of this new model, from engine and technologies to performance on the road and at the track.

The new 535i features the new turbocharged 3.0-liter N55 twin-scroll turbo, and equipped with the new eight-speed automatic, the car weighs 3,880 pounds.The new inline-6 of the BMW 535i features High Precision direct injection, and, for the first time, VALVETRONIC throttle-less intake technology.

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.

InsideLine reviews the 2011 BMW 535i

Start Simple
Certainly the only bit in the 2011 BMW 535i that is simpler is the engine — a new version of the 3.0-liter turbocharged mill that previously powered 1, 3 and 5 Series cars. The simplification was accomplished by removing both turbochargers and replacing them with a single twin-scroll turbo, which BMW says helps improve throttle response. Also absent is a throttle valve. The new engine is throttled via BMW’s Valvetronic system, which alters valve lift to control engine speed.

Direct injection is at least partially responsible for the 535i’s improved EPA fuel economy ratings, which rise from 17 city/26 highway in 2010 to 20 city/30 highway for 2011.

Adjust This
Ultimately, though, a throttle delay from a standing start is a subtlety to which we can adjust. And when the car is moving it does nothing to diminish the engaging driving character that is still present — if somewhat tempered — in this midsize sedan. Bump the optional Adaptive Drive switch up to Sport mode (“Normal” is the default) and you get more aggressive gear selection logic, quicker shifts, stiffer damping and increased roll control.

And it works. Subtly.

The most effective trait of Adaptive Drive is Dynamic Damping Control, which tunes damping for the mode selected and the conditions the car is experiencing. There’s a wide range of personalities available, ranging from bump compliance that would make your grandma’s Buick jealous to remarkable levels of control useful for laying waste to on-ramp dawdlers. A testament to BMW’s confidence in the system’s abilities is its choice of 35 and 40-series tires on 19-inch wheels — a combination that removes any hope of tire compliance and demands the suspension do all the work.

You can read here the full review

  • paul

    I just hope bmw board managment reads these reviews. I dont think they will pay any attention since the car is sold out, but no longer beeing the standart in friving dynamics and the terrible electric steering bmw is now fitting all models – including the new X3 that made me change brands – is killing bmw. Why not have electric steering as an option??? Please bmw, listen to your customers and reviews. I was so excited with the new X3, hoping to get an delivery at the welt and u ruin it 4 me with a numb electric steering!!!

  • Babken

    This is the problem we all know. Due to the weight increase the 5 Series lost its handling abilities a bit. But on the other hand BMW made a much more comfortable sedan which is still the car to beat for its competitors performance-wise including the Infinity M. The performance numbers are vastly underestimated here, because the new 535i gives up almost nothing to its excellent predecessor. Then, if the new 5 Series was so bad, it wouldn’t sell more than its predecessor. I see only 2 problems with the new 5 Series:
    1. Huge weight increase;
    2. It’s too overpriced. In this case, if you want a complete car, you’ll have to add a USD10000 thus paying almost USD60000. For a 300hp car it’s too much. However, it’s BMW.
    3. One thing I noticed is that nearly all reviewers who test drove the 5 Series with the electric power steering were disappointed with the car. So I think that the IAS is the best option. If there is someone who owns the car with an electric power steering and is satisfied with handling capabilities of the car, please let me know.
    Otherwise the car is a BEAST.

    • Babken

      Sorry, I should have written “3” instead of “2” problems.

    • John

      “BMW made a much more comfortable sedan which is still the car to beat for its competitors performance-wise including the Infinity M” – what are you talking about, read the actual review, the new 5-series has equal or worse performance compared to Infiniti M37.

      • wazon8

        to m37s, not m37.

      • Babken

        Read what Wason wrote below. And remember: there’s no car in the segment of the 5 Series that can beat it performance-wise.

    • Trchaney23

      My steering pulls to the right. Permanantly..? They have tried to fix it twice now and cannot. I think its the electric stearing. Anyone else have this problem?

  • JRobUSC

    The Infiniti M only “outhandles” the 5-Series if it’s an M37S, and then the tradeoff is that the ride is so punishingly spine jarring harsh it ruins the drive (read the reviews). This is all about sales — in the midsize luxury sedan segment people expect comfort AND performance, and more buyers are going to go for the best mix of both over maximum handling. These are everyday family haulers, not racecars. Giving up everyday comfort for the last 10/10’s of handling ability would be a recipe for failure, and more than one magazine has said to steer clear of the sport version of the M for that very reason.

    • wazon8

      Good point, but two things are worth to notice about InsideLine results. First of all, this 535i was not featured in M-suspension avaible as option. It should increase slalom speed and skid pad for sure. Second, car ran on all-season tires and they are usually not better than summer tires.

      And another point is that for us as European customers 535i e60 wasn’t provide, so 535i is much improvement over what was provided as its precedesor.

  • Auday

    “the 2011 BMW 535i is outperformed in every performance test by its predecessor.”

    “We’d even say that it’s no longer the sportiest driving car in its segment.”

    I have to say that although I saw the softness coming years ago, I never expected to read statements like that in a BMW review.

    • Babken

      Don’t worry. The 5 Series is still the best in its segment.

  • Efoza

    The 5 Gt is by far the best 5 series to go for.

  • plaxico

    60k and no nav hahahahahhahahahhaha .for the love of God

    • Babken

      60k for the best automobile in its segment!

  • Natkm

    I drove a new 2011 535 from Orlando to Braselton GA and back last weekend and I have to say that it rides and performs as well or better in some respects than the previous 550 chasis. The 550 may have had a bit more hp, but its not that noticable a difference imo. I didn’t much care for driving the 550, but it was a bit more difficult returning the 535 to its rightful owner this time. Steering input felt good, throttle response was good, and I loved the sport and sport+ modes. For a 3800 pound car it handles awesome, its not like I was going to take it around Road Atlanta at speed. I haven’t driven the Infinity so I couldn’t compare, but I’ve got nothing to complain about from my trip.

    • Babken

      Explain it to people with empty heads like Plaxico or Viper.

  • Greg G

    Just bought the 2011 535i M Sport and who every thinks that the 535 is not a sport sedan is wack! This is one of the best driving cars I’ve every owned or driven. Yes the 535 cost me over $63K I couldn’t be more happy, in the city it drives like a full blown luxury sport sedan but in the twists is was fantastic!! Drop it in Sport 2 and thing just takes off!!! If you can afford this car you won’t be disappointed!

    The 535i can be had from $50K to $66K and which ever one you choose I promise a great car!!!!

  • sam kapoor

    is the engine tapping noise in 2011 bmw 535 normal for a turbo engine.Can someone help explain please.Been driving a 2007 5 series and just switched to this 2011.Pls help. Thx