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Review: 2011 BMW 5 Series (535i and 550i)

Review: 2011 BMW 5 Series (535i and 550i)

Review: 2011 BMW 5 Series (535i and 550i)

Back in the 1980s, BMW was all about the compact, performance-oriented 3-Series. They also offered the 5 and 7, but these were greatly outsold by competing Mercedes. Seeking to expand well beyond its driving enthusiast base, BMW made its cars ever more stylish, luxurious, and laden with technology. Despite mixed reactions to the Bangled exteriors and iDrive, sales of the larger sedans grew even faster than their curb weights, and in recent years they have often outsold the E-Class and S-Class. A redesigned 2011 5-Series recently arrived at dealers. With the new car, has BMW further lost the plot, or rediscovered it?

 

With the new 5 and 7 BMW has returned to its old formula of “same timelessly styled sausage, different lengths.” The new F10 BMW 5-Series looks much like the F01 7-Series, only a size smaller. Which is still considerably larger than the previous generation (E60) 5-Series: the wheelbase has grown by three inches (bringing it within an inch of the E65 7-Series), the length by two, and the curb weight by about 400 pounds.

The styling of the previous generation (E60) 5-Series certainly had its critics, but I was
not among them. It was the best of the Bangle-era designs. When fitted with the right wheels, it possessed a bold stance and aggressive edginess that the new cleaned-up 5 lacks. Looking at the new 550i fitted with the Sport Package, I kept wondering if it really had this package, for it doesn’t modify the lower body styling and its frilly 15-spoke alloys appear less sporty than the standard 18s.

The new 5’s interior styling has been similarly refined. The nav screen, though enlarged, is much more cleanly integrated into the instrument panel. A wider, shorter center stack angled six degrees towards the driver visually connects the instrument panel with the center console rather than visually separating the two. The new interiors still aren’t as driver-focused as those in classic BMWs, but they’re a definite step in the right direction. The main aesthetic fault: even more than the exteriors, the interiors’ designs are very conservative, and provide little visual excitement. Major gains have been made in ergonomics and usability. There are more buttons, so the much-improved iDrive doesn’t have to be used for as many things, but these buttons are logically grouped and located.

The standard driver’s seat in the 5 is serviceable for those who won’t be taking corners quickly. But the optional “comfort seats” included in the Sport Package are both much more comfortable

Source: thetruthaboutcars

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