Serving as the mid-level model in BMW’s 5 Series, the 535i delivers a plush, yet potent, motoring experience. Five passengers fit into this midsize luxury sedan, which focuses more on comfort than sport, but does not ignore the latter.
All told, the six-cylinder 535i represents an impressive balance of driving ease, efficiency, and power. Available with rear-drive or all-wheel drive, the 535i can also be equipped with options that should satisfy most, if not quite all, performance-oriented drivers.
What's New for 2016
Largely a carryover, the 2016 535i shows minor exterior revisions, led by a reworked front fascia and revised 18-inch wheels. Enhanced USB and Bluetooth now are standard, including Mobile Office and an additional microphone. A power tailgate is now available as a standalone option.
Choosing Your BMW 535
BMW’s turbocharged 3-liter inline six-cylinder engine sends 300 horsepower to the rear wheels (all four wheels in the 535xi). Standing well above the pack in terms of balance, the engine generates 300 pound-feet of torque, starting at an exceptionally low 1,250 rpm. That kind of torque helps the 535i accelerate from a standstill to 60 mph in a swift 5.4 seconds. Fuel economy is estimated at 20 mpg city/31 mpg highway (24 mpg combined). With all-wheel drive, the highway estimate drops to 29 mpg.
Although a six-speed manual gearbox is standard, most buyers pick the optional eight-speed automatic transmission. Selectable driving modes let you alter steering, transmission, and throttle responses. BMW’s xDrive all-wheel drive is available, as is a long list of option packages.
Starting at $56,845 (including destination charge), the rear-drive sedan includes a sunroof, navigation system, 10-way power leather-upholstered seats with driver memory, wood interior trim, Bluetooth phone/audio connectivity, 10-speaker sound with CD player and HD radio, and 18-inch wheels.
For an additional $2,300, you can get a six-cylinder sedan with BMW’s xDrive all-wheel drive.
Luxury Line and M Sport Line option groups are available:
- Luxury ($2,000) has 19-inch multi-spoke wheels, additional chrome exterior accents, and distinctive interior trim.
- M Sport ($3,150) enhances road behavior with a sport-tuned suspension and aerodynamic body kit, also adding specific M Sport trim and double-spoke 19-inch wheels.
You can tailor your 535 with additional option groups:
- Premium Package includes satellite radio, a hands-free power trunk lid, and keyless entry.
- Luxury Seating Package adds multi-contour active front seats with ventilation function.
- Cold Weather Package adds heated seats in front and rear, a heated steering wheel, and headlight washers.
- Lighting Package has full LED adaptive headlights with automatic high-beam control.t
- Dynamic Handling Package ($3,500) provides a firmer suspension by adding adaptive dynamic damping control and active roll stabilization.
- Driver Assistance Package contains a rearview camera, Park Distance Control, and head-up display.
- Driver Assistance Plus adds blind spot monitoring, lane departure and forward collision warnings, surround-view camera system, and city collision mitigation. Active cruise control with Stop & Go may also be added.
Individual options include automatic parallel-parking system, active steering, premium Bang & Olufsen sound system, and infrared night vision with pedestrian detection.
Most 5 Series buyers will be content with either the four-cylinder 528i or six-cylinder 535i, rather than paying more for the V8-powered 550i. BMW’s Dynamic Handling Package provides tauter handling, without the bolder styling touches that come with the M Sport option. Anyone planning on long trips might want to consider the Luxury Seating Package, while Driver Assistance packages add critical safety features. Otherwise, be careful with those option groups, which can be confusing and overwhelming, as well as jacking up the total price significantly.