2014 BMW 535d – First Look and Review
This is a review that I first started to write several years ago, when the BMW 335d was my daily driver. As much as I loved that car, my imagination went wild and I longed for the larger, more luxurious 5 Series as a diesel. The BMW 335d was half of the Bavarian automaker’s initial entry into the clean diesel market in the U.S. (the other half was the BMW X5 xDrive35d).
Although I grew up around diesels in Europe, the first diesel I spent a good amount of time with was a 2007 BMW 535d, a 5er of the previous generation. I spent a week enjoying this car in Germany and Austria in the days following the grand opening of the BMW Welt in October 2007. Its power was boundless; it truly engendered a feeling of Freude am Fahren (the Joy of Driving, BMW’s marketing slogan).
Once BMW began to offer diesels in the U.S., my hopes for a 5er diesel were reawakened. I knew that the first two would succeed in the marketplace and the reviews were excellent. It would be only a matter of time.
My hopes were further encouraged by a comment to me made by the late, great Jack Pitney, then BMW’s vice president of marketing, after I asked him about the possibility of a 5er diesel three years ago. “You won’t be disappointed,” he told me at that time.
Patience is a virtue.
In 2011, on one of my many trips to Germany, I drove a 535d for a week. In a review, I wrote that BMW had told me that “[A] diesel model is planned for the U.S. but its arrival date is uncertain.”
Finally, in May of this year, BMW announced it was adding two 5 Series diesels, the 535d and 535d xDrive sedans, to the lineup. This was in addition to the 328d sedan and wagon that were being launched.
The 5er diesel does have company. Mercedes-Benz has offered an E-Class diesel, the six-cylinder E350 BlueTec, since 2010, although this model has since been superseded by the four-cylinder E250 BlueTec starting with the 2014 model year. Meanwhile, Audi just added an A6 oilburner to its 2014 lineup. Both are also available in all-wheel drive.
Fast forward to the present. Here I am, in Seattle Washington, finally sitting in a U.S. version of a 5 Series diesel, the first time BMW is offering a diesel-powered 5er here since the BMW 524td made its U.S. debut in 1985.