We are continuing our coverage from the BMW test drive event in Philadelphia and we are bringing you new photos of the recently released BMW 5 Series. Built under the F10 codename, the 5 Series luxury sedan emphasizes the new design language from BMW, with more fluent and harmonious lines that are appealing to a larger audience.
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As a sporty luxury sedan that wants to live up to its name, the new 2011 BMW 5 Series is an impressive contender on track as well. Our own Shawn Molnar had a chance to test the car for two full days on track.
Here is an excerpt from his review and stay tuned for a long-drive review of the new 5 Series.
The rear wheels light up as we throttle through first gear, second comes quickly, third.. downshift while braking for a fast right hander and we’re already coming up on the second corner of the track. The 5 series hunkers down, poised and ready for your next input. Even after several consecutive laps (by a multitude of heavy footed journalists) the brakes felt strong and fade resistant. Clipping the apex, the 5 series powers out to the exit with a very stable, linear feel. There is no drama in the 5 series chassis, just reassuring grip and handling that guides you through the corners. We were not permitted to fully disable the Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) while driving on track, but it was just as well – if driving cleanly there is little intervention and the system operates so subtly that it is nearly undetectable.
True to BMW’s mandate for perfect weight distribution, the 5 series maintains nearly equal weight across the front and rear axles. Turn in is quick and direct, there is no initial understeer to fight through – just a neutral, balanced feel. As you continue to push, understeer eventually increases as a safety gap for the majority of buyers. Tail-out antics can be accomplished with the right mix of throttle and steering input – but you didn’t hear that from us.
Choosing between the 550i and the 535i is a difficult task, but hardly punishment. While both models are offered in a terrific 6 speed manual, we had a manual 535i and automatic 550i at our disposal earlier today. To be fair, we must reserve our final judgment until we’ve driven the manual transmission 550i, but it is clear from several laps of the New Jersey Motorsports Park that the 535i is a serious sports sedan: light on it’s feet, eager to dance, a real pleasure at the limit. Considering the initial cost savings, and improved fuel economy observed in daily driving, the 535i presents itself as a logical choice for most buyers. The 550i was brilliant on track with similar, though slightly heavier handling and 2 more gears to work with. Speaking of the transmission, up shifts from the new ZF 8 speed are fast and crisp, the computer is intuitive and never works against you on the track. It’s obvious that the drivetrain designers are drivers themselves.