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BMW 535i xDrive combines performance and stability

By Arv Voss, October 10th, 2009

The 5 Series has clearly advanced to the level of sophistication and refinement previously held by earlier model 7 Series -- perhaps even well beyond -- when considering the enhanced technological equipment, as well as efficiency and performance characteristics.

BMW's 5 Series come with high-performance inline 3.0-liter N52 and N54 6-cylinder and 4.8-liter V-8 engines. The 6-cylinder engines come in both a normally aspirated (230 horsepower) or twin-turbocharged (300 horsepower) with Piezo direct injection version. The V-8 engine delivers 360 horsepower.

My review 5 Series was the BMW 535i xDrive. The exterior was sprayed Platinum Gray metallic, while the interior was done in Gray Dakota leather. The base price was set at $53,400.

The final price tag came to $65,420 after adding the following options: Cold Weather Package; heated front seats and retractable headlight washers; Premium Package with Universal Garage Door-Opener, Auto-dimming mirrors, 17-inch alloy wheels; Comfort Access System, Active Cruise Control; Park Distance Control; iPod and USB adapter; Navigation System; Head-up Display; and satellite radio.

The new 300 horsepower twin-turbo 535i xDrive is the quickest 6-cylinder-powered 5 Series yet produced by BMW, offering unparalleled smoothness and satisfying sound. The pair of relatively small turbochargers significantly boosts performance, while minimizing traditional turbocharger response lag ("turbo-lag").

Additionally, high-precision Piezo direct fuel injection further enhances overall performance and fuel efficiency, and heat-resistant materials in the engine aid in facilitating performance characteristics.

The 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged inline six-cylinder delivers smooth, crisp acceleration through the six-speed Steptronic automatic transmission. The power delivery to all four wheels provided extra grip and stability in spirited driving scenarios, while the ride comfort level was exemplary.

The BMW 5 Series models include the 528i, 528i xDrive, 535i, and 535i xDrive sedans, a 535i Sports Wagon and the flagship 550i sedan. All are available with either a 6-speed manual gearbox or 6-speed Steptronic automatic transmission.

Last year saw a significant freshening and boost in power and efficiency for the 5 Series six-cylinder models. For the 2009 model year, the 5 Series adds new standard wheels on the 528i and 528i xDrive models (17-inch light alloy double-spoke wheels with all-season tires), and on the 535i and 535i xDrive models (17-inch light alloy V-spoke wheels with all-seasons).

The 2009 5 Series showcases significant technological options that complement an already extensive array of standard performance, comfort and safety features.

strong>Available options include: Lane Departure Warning System; Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go; Active Steering; Park Distance Control; Xenon adaptive headlamps with auto-leveling and low-speed cornering lights; Leather upholstery; Light Poplar polished interior wood trim accents; Bamboo wood interior trim; 20-way front multi-contour seats; Split-folding rear seat backs and Ski Bag; Heated front and rear seats; BMW Onboard Navigation System; Head-up Display; Logic7 premium stereo; Sirius satellite radio; Hi-definition radio; iPod/USB adapter; and power rear window and manual rear side-window sunshades.

The BMW 535i xDrive is a sporty, luxury sedan that takes the four seasons by storm with confidence. It may well be considered in the Grand Touring class of today's automobiles.

Specifications

Base price $53,400 (as tested: $65,420)
Curb weight 3,946 lbs.
Displacement 3.0-liter
Engine type 24-valve DOHC inline 6-cylinder
Epa mileage rating 17 mpg city, 25 mpg highway
Fuel capacity 18.5 gal.
Horsepower (net) 300 at 5800 rpm
Overall length 191.1 in.
Torque (lb.-ft.) 300 at 1400 rpm
Transmission 6-speed automatic
Vehicle type 5-passenger AWD midsize sedan
Wheelbase 113.7 in.
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