On The Cover Review: 2012 BMW 535i
The legacy of the BMW 5-Series took a bit of a detour over the past few years, but it seems to be back on track. For a long time, this car was sort of a bigger version of the nimble and sporty 3-Series. But then it became saddled with strange styling, the complicated I-Drive electronics control system, and so much braking and handling technology that enthusiasts felt disconnected from the driving experience. The latest version borrows styling cues from the early 1990s, appearing much less radical, and more of a bridge between the looks of the 3- and 7-Series. Red Book recently tested a 535i, which was equipped with a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine. This setup is good for 300-hp and 300-lb/ft of torque, which is similar to the previous generation, but does it with one less turbo. And while you wouldn’t mistake this for a race car, power is fairly plentiful throughout the range. Or test car was equipped with a smooth eight-speed automatic transmission, but a six-speed manual is also offered. Our biggest complaint is that throttle tip-in was fairly aggressive, so smooth takeoffs were a bit of a challenge. The interior is as luxurious as one would expect for a $60,000-plus vehicle. Like the previous generation, the cockpit of the 5-Series is still loaded with technology. It’s just a bit easier to navigate in the latest iteration.