LA Times: “BMW 535i: Everything you want, except fun”

5-series | February 25th, 2010 by 54
2011 bmw 5 series photos 3136 750x500

After many positive reviews that at times turned into controversial articles, the new BMW 5 Series receives a mildly negative review from LA Times.  As …

2011 bmw 5 series photos 3136 654x436

After many positive reviews that at times turned into controversial articles, the new BMW 5 Series receives a mildly negative review from LA Times.  As always, each reviewer seems to be focusing on different things and there is no overall standard scale when it comes to test drives. While some of us enjoy an ultra-luxurious comfortable car, there are still plenty out there that place their final judgment call based on….let’s say performance, the driving thrill.

So, let’s have a look at this review.

“Consider what this fact suggests about 5-series buyers: These people are buying the sedan because of its size — comfortable but still fairly intimate — and because of what the Germans love to call “sportivity.” These buyers also yearn for the cutting-edge technological spritz that comes as standard equipment in the flagship 7-series, the next segment up, and are willing to pay extra to get it.

In other words, these are people who want everything in BMW’s larder, and want it in a leaner, more lithe package. With the new 5-series, they’ll get it.

Active roll stabilization; electronic damper control; four-wheel steering; eight-speed transmission; a new twin-scroll, single-turbo 3.0-liter in-line six putting out 300 horsepower and 300 pound-feet of torque (or a twin-turbo 4.4-liter V-8 with 400 hp, in the 550i); new robotic parking assistance; head-up display; night vision; stop-and-go adaptive cruise control, which will maintain a following distance in traffic and slow to a stop, then start rolling again, just like traffic on the 405; and roughly 8 million other acronymic systems, gadgets, gizmos and flight surfaces loomed to the car’s high-speed cerebellum.

But as a strange little rock goblin with big lips once reminded us, you can’t always get what you want. With the 5-series you get everything you want — except fun.


The new car has the singular advantage of succeeding the infamous (E60) generation 5-series, which was comprehensively weird-looking, as if it had been styled in a soft-serve ice cream machine. So comparatively, it’s a Raphael. I’ll grant that the new car grew on me in the two days I spent with it and, further, that it looks better in daylight than it does on some showroom turnstile or in photographs.

But do I want to have this car’s baby? No. My chastity is all too secure.

Inside, the car is just about perfect. I’d have to say BMW currently offers the best interior design of any German car company. The instrument panel comprises a “black panel” electronic display — only the four key gauges are illuminated unless the car needs to throw you a warning light of some kind. My test car had the brilliant 10-inch navigation display in the center console, which is spectacular. And the whole cabin was wrapped in premium materials — aluminum, wood and leather — in a great gestural flourish.”

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