Find a Car
Go!

First Drive: 2011 BMW 5-Series Page 2

Follow Bengt

2011 BMW 535i (Euro spec)

2011 BMW 535i (Euro spec)

Enlarge Photo

Satisfying for the driver, comfortable for passengers

Regarding that Driving Dynamics Control, it affects throttle response, steering assist, and transmission shift points, as well as the performance of these active suspension systems, so there’s a dramatic difference in overall feel just from Comfort to Sport. Sport+ allows a separate mode that some might appreciate for track driving; it allows greater slip angles and less intervention from the stability control system. Simply put, in the Normal or Sport modes, you can enjoy the driving experience without flustering your passengers too much.

Powering the 535i is BMW’s new turbocharged 3.0-liter straight-six engine. The first to incorporate Valvetronic variable valve timing and turbocharging together, the new engine, codenamed N55 by BMW, has a single twin-scroll turbocharger and replaces the former N54 engine that has twin turbos. Just as we loved its predecessor, we love the accessible torque and almost instantaneous throttle response of the new engine; with no detectable lag and strong, torquey response even from 1500 rpm or so, it could be very easily mistaken for a V-8. However the sound is the only thing that’s lacking; the 535i’s engine neither sings like BMW’s naturally aspirated sixes nor sounds as authoritative as its V-8s.

Initially, the new 2011 BMW 5-Series will be offered in rear-wheel-drive 535i and 550i variants, with the 550i stepping up to a 400-horsepower, 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V-8 engine (capable of 0 to 60 in about five seconds). Later this year a new 528i model will join the lineup, along with all-wheel-drive (xDrive) variants of each.

2011 BMW 535i (Euro spec)

2011 BMW 535i (Euro spec)

Enlarge Photo

As before, all 5-Series models will be offered with manual or automatic transmissions; while the manual remains a six-speed, all models with automatic now get eight speeds—said to help improve fuel economy by bringing a taller top gear and more torque-converter lockup. BMW claims to have improved both smoothness and shift times, though we noticed some torque-converter hesitation when getting lightly back on the throttle.


 
Follow Us

Commenting is closed for this article
Try My Showroom
Save cars, write notes, and comparison shop with hi-res photos.
Add your first car
Take Us With You!
   
Related Used Listings
Browse used listings in your area

 
© 2015 The Car Connection. All Rights Reserved. The Car Connection is published by High Gear Media. Stock photography by izmo, Inc. Read Our Cookie Policy.