First Drive: BMW 535d

By Jonathan Spira on 23 November 2009
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With its 3-liter inline six-cylinder engine with twin turbochargers (small one for low revs, large for high revs) that work in sequence to eliminate turbo lag, the 535d has so much power that you simply would have had to look at the model badge on the trunk to confirm it’s a diesel.  small rearBMW even engineered the exhaust note to sound like a gasoline-powered BMW straight six.  And it’s not dirty or smelly either: the tailpipe had no soot stains that would betray its humble origins.

In the five days I had the car, I drove a total of 1126 kilometers (700 miles) including a roundtrip from Munich to Vienna, averaging 40 mpg (5.9 l/100 km).  On a clear stretch of Autobahn outside Munich, the car happily stayed at 240 km/h (150 mph), traffic permitting.  In Austria, I tried hard to stay below 150 km/h (93 mph) because the photo-radar on the Autobahnen are set for that speed but it was difficult not to accelerate to the car’s full potential; fortunately, the photo-radar units are also very visible during the daytime.

While the 535d won’t be offered in the U.S., BMW is now importing the 335d, which uses the same engine in the smaller 3er Series body.

THE DETAILS

2009 BMW 535d
Base price €55,200
Drivetrain Front engine, rear-wheel drive
Engine 3.0-liter inline 6 twin turbo
Max hp 286
Max torque (pound-feet) 428
Curb weight

(pounds)

3825
Wheelbase (inches) 113.7
Length x width x height (inches) 191.1 x 72.7 x 57.8
0-62 mph (seconds) 6.4
City/highway fuel economy (mpg) 27/43.5