BMW 535d Review and Road Test Part I: The Road to Burghausen

By Jonathan Spira on 4 December 2010
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The 2011 BMW 535d is the flagship diesel-powered sedan in the sixth generation of BMW’s vaunted 5er Reihe (5er Series), code-named F10.  The 5er Series is very important to BMW as it accounts for a major

portion of the company’s profits.  Indeed, at the company’s 2010 annual shareholders meeting , Norbert Reithofer, BMW’s Vorstandvorsitzender (CEO), commented that that the 5er Series  is a “key driver of sales, image and profit for the BMW Group.”  He also mentioned that BMW has “received considerably more orders than planned” for the 5er Series.

The 5er Series is available as a sedan or a wagon (or Touring, in BMW parlance) and it has none of the unusual styling quirks that made its predecessor such a polarizing force.  Indeed, in many respects, the latest 5er Series looks as if it inherited the best genes from the previous five generations of 5er Series that preceded it.

BMW recently unveiled two important 5ers, the 535d, a super efficient, super fast diesel, and the 5er Series Touring, the fourth generation of this body style.

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The straight-six that powers the 535d Touring manages to conjure up 300 hp thanks to BMW TwinPower Turbo technology, yet it is remarkably efficient and eco-friendly.  While it can get from 0-100 km/h in 5.7 seconds, it uses only 5.3 l/100 km on the highway (44.4 mpg) and 8.1 l/100 km in the city (29 mpg) and its CO2 emissions are only 165 g per kilometer.

BMW offered me the best of both worlds with a new 535d Touring. I was to be the first U.S. journalist to drive the new 535d so I was very much looking forward to the trip.  I planned to spend a week with the car, starting in Munich, driving to Burghausen and Ach in Austria and, later on, to the Bavarian Alps, before returning to Munich.

The Touring is as aggressively elegant as the sedan.  To quote BMW chief designer Adrian von Hooydonk, “The 5-series is designed to express autobahn speed even when standing still.”  The multiple contours on sculpted hood make people contemplate whether they are concave or convex (they are both).

The interior is similar to the 7er Series, with rich materials and soft, supple leather.  There are even a few innovations (such as a slot in the center console to hold the key) which aren’t available in the 7er.

Before leaving for the Alps, The Diesel Driver’s European Editor Christian Stampfer and I decided to take the 535d for a drive to Burghausen, near the Austrian border, and back.

Click here to continue to Page 2 – The Drive to Burghausen

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