TopGear loves the BMW 535d, dislikes the electric steering

5 Series | March 22nd, 2011 by 6
2011 BMW 5 Series F10 India 750x500

Let’s start with the conclusion. ‘TopGear verdict: Not quite diesel’s answer to the M5 (the car, not the road), but close. What an engine.” The folks over at Top Gear magazine took the new BMW 535d for an extensive ride and report their findings. As expected, the 3.0 liter twin-turbo diesel engine impresses even the tough crowd at Top Gear, but the 535d sedan falls a bit short due to the highly criticized electric steering.

Here is an excerpt from their review:

“It’s a strange thing. At least with big, fast petrol engines, you get some aural warning of the speed piling on. But the 535d, with its eight-speed auto ‘box – the only transmission available, and at least two more ratios than necessary – simply wafts along on a mighty bore of low-end torque, barely topping 2,000rpm, all the while flinging you towards triple figures and an awkward conversation with Her Majesty’s law enforcement community.

2011 BMW 5 Series F10 India 655x491In real-world, real-road driving, the 535d would push the (now discontinued) M5 very close indeed: you have to work the M5’s V10 hard to find its sweet spot, but the 535d’s power is right where you want it, available in monstrous, effortless swathes. Supersaloon pace with 40mpg economy? Why ever not?

But this isn’t, at least in the car we tried, quite an out-and-out sports saloon. Our 535d was fitted with BMW’s optional adaptive dampers, which, even in their sharpest setting, still don’t offer quite the purity of the best passive chassis. It’s a problem compounded by the active steering, which – though weighty – feels a little artificial. We haven’t tried a passively damped 535d yet: it’ll be interesting to see if it offers a bit more honesty and agility.

We like: Supercar speed, diesel economy
We don’t like: Electronic intervention
TopGear verdict: Not quite diesel’s answer to the M5 (the car, not the road), but close. What an engine.
Performance: 0-62mph in 5.7secs, max 155mph, 46.3mpg

Full review at TopGear and here is our own review of the new BMW 5 Series.