2014 BMW 535d – First Look and Review

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DRIVING THE 2014 BMW 535D

I spent the better part of a day driving the 535d.  Its silky-smooth engine was DSC_0310among the most responsive I’ve seen.  Simply put, not only was passing slower traffic not an issue but I almost wanted to have more traffic just so I could pass it, again and again and again.  While speed limits in the states – as well as the overall habits of drivers – preclude driving at speeds in the range of 130 km/h (80 mph) to 180 km/h (111 mph), that’s not generally the case in Germany, where much of the Autobahn system has no posted speed limits and drivers instinctively move right when faster traffic (read: BMW 535d) overtakes. I’m already planning to spend at least a week with a 535d on those roads.

Just how fast is it?  The 2014 BMW 535d can accelerate from 0-60 mph (0-96 km/h) in 5.8 seconds.  Our 2010 335d, despite its 425 pound-feet of torque, a figure indelibly ingrained in my mind as it was more torque than in the previous generation M3, needed six seconds to get there, and the previous generation 535d, the car that was the seed of my preference for diesels, needed 6.4.DSC_0366

The 535d’s Dynamic Driving Control allows choosing among Eco Pro, Comfort, Sport, and Sport +, which adjusts settings for the adaptive shocks. The controls vary jounce and rebound characteristics independently and steplessly, as well as throttle response, and active anti-roll bars.  I kept the car mostly in sport mode except for some bumpy city streets where the comfort setting competently dealt with just about all of the potholes and rough pavement.   Driving in sport mode made the car feel much smaller and tighter, i.e. more like a 3 Series in size.  I didn’t detect a huge benefit from driving in Eco Pro mode but one day was simply not enough time to test everything out.

The ZF eight-speed automatic transmission shifts smoothly and is one of the best performing.  It also plays a major role in reducing fuel consumption: witness the 535d’s impressive 38 mpg (6.2 l /100 km), a major accomplishment for a car with 5.8-second 0-60 times.

We’ll be spending more time with the 2014 535d in the coming months, but in the meantime, thanks Jack! It was indeed worth waiting for.

THE DETAILS

2014 BMW 535d
Base price/price-as-tested $56,600/$80,375
Drivetrain Front engine, rear-wheel drive
Engine 3.0 liter inline 6
Horsepower/Torque 255/413
Transmission 8-speed automatic
Curb weight (lbs) 4,085
Wheelbase (inches) 116.9
Length x width x height (inches) 193.1 x 72.0 x 57.6
0-60 mph (seconds) 5.8
Fuel economy (mpg) (hwy) 38

(Photos: Accura Media Group)

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