The middle child model in BMW’s 5 Series family, the 535i offers a plush motoring experience for five along with a fine balance of power and efficiency. The current generation of this midsize sedan emphasizes luxury over sport, but can still be equipped to satisfy spirited drivers.
What's New for 2014
BWM has expanded the lineup to include Luxury and Modern trim lines. The exterior receives minor styling enhancements. Navigation is now standard, and you can get a rear entertainment system and concierge services for the first time.
Choosing Your BMW 535i
The 535i is powered by a turbocharged 3-liter six-cylinder good for 302 horsepower. Rear-drive models come with a standard six-speed manual transmission, although most buyers choose the available eight-speed automatic. The auto is mandatory with the optional xDrive all-wheel drive system.
The 535i starts out with 18-inch wheels, 10-way power leather seats with driver memory, adjustable driving settings, wood interior trim, a sunroof, navigation, Bluetooth phone and audio, and a 10-speaker sound system with CD and HD radio.
There are three optional trim lines this year:
- Luxury: Adds chrome grille bars, 19-inch multi-spoke wheels, a sport steering wheel, chrome door handles and rear bumper strip, and special interior trim choices.
- Modern: Same as above, but with matte aluminum grille bars and no bumper strip.
- M Sport: Carries a sport suspension, an aerodynamic body kit, double-spoke 19-inch wheels and specific M Sport trim.
Any model can be equipped with a number of option packages:
- Premium: Gets you a hands-free power trunk lid, keyless access to all doors and satellite radio.
- Cold Weather: Provides heated front and rear seats and a heated steering wheel.
- Lighting: Adds full LED adaptive headlights with automatic high-beam control.
- Driver Assistance Plus: Includes blind-spot and lane-departure warning systems, side- and top-view cameras, and collision mitigation with pedestrian detection.
- Dynamic Handling: Firms up the suspension with adaptive dampers and stabilizer bars.
- Luxury Seating: Adds multi-contour seats with front ventilation and massage.
There’s also a vast selection of individual options, including adaptive cruise control, an automated parallel parking system, infrared night vision, four-zone climate control and a Bang & Olufsen sound system.
If you intend to take passengers on long trips, the Luxury Seating Package with its exceptionally comfortable multi-contour seats is money well spent. We also like the Dynamic Handling Package, which provides tauter handling without the aggressive styling touches of the full-blown M Sport, which seems overdone for a luxury sedan of this size.