Few models have sustained such a high level of excellence as the BMW 5 Series. Over the course of five generations, the 5 has consistently been one of the best automobiles you could buy, period. Now it's time for generation six to take its place in the automotive world in the form of the 2011 BMW 5 Series.
The 535i's turbocharged 3.0-liter straight-6 is unchanged in terms of output, but a switch to a new turbocharger design has improved low-end torque and fuel economy. The automatic-equipped 535i checks in at 20mpg city /30mpg highway /24 mpg combined. In Edmunds testing, a 535i with the automatic accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 5.9 seconds.
Both drivers and passengers will be quite pleased with the 5 Series' cabin. There's nothing particularly fancy going on, but the overall look of the dash is clean thanks to the standard iDrive interface that eliminates the need for a gaggle of buttons. The layout is quite similar to that of the 7 Series, with a center display screen and a configurable display in the gauge cluster. The iDrive controller, thanks to the new physical buttons and menu structure, is pretty easy to figure out and provides a large amount of customization of the car's features. Opting for the navigation system is recommended, as its screen is larger and much better looking than the standard center display.
The front seats are quite comfortable, with the optional multicontour seats in particular providing an impressive amount of adjustability. In back, there's enough room for a pair of 6-foot adults to be comfortable, and the backseat is nicely contoured and padded. The trunk, at 14 cubic feet of luggage capacity, is smaller than average for this segment.
Standard safety equipment for the 2011 BMW 5 Series includes stability and traction control, antilock disc brakes, front-seat side airbags, side curtain airbags, active front head restraints and the BMW Assist emergency communications system. The stability control system integrates several features designed to improve braking performance, such as periodically wiping the brake rotors dry in wet conditions and automatically snugging the brake pads to the rotors when the driver abruptly lifts off the throttle.
When equipped with active cruise control, the 5 Series also comes with a pre-collision system that can warn the driver of the possibility of rear-ending a vehicle ahead. If a collision is imminent, it can also automatically apply the brakes.
The available lane-departure warning system alerts the driver via vibrations in the steering wheel if the car starts to veer out of its lane; the same sensation is felt for the available blind-spot monitor, which also utilizes side-mirror indicators when other vehicles move into the BMW's blind spots. A night-vision system is capable of displaying possible hazards that are otherwise out of regular headlight range.
In the government's new and more stringent 2011 crash tests, the 2011 BMW 5 Series earned a top five-star rating for overall performance, with four out of five stars being given for front-impact protection and five stars for side-impact protection. In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety testing, the 5 Series earned a top rating of "Good" in both frontal-offset and side-impact crash tests.
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Exterior: The exterior of this unit is in excellent shape with no major flaws.
Interior: The interior is in excellent condition.
Mechanical: This vehicle is "Insight Certified" with no known mechanical defects after completing a 144 point mechanical inspection with required maintenance performed.
Tires: The tires are in excellent health with plenty of tread life remaining.