BMW 535d is elegant way to save fuel, have fun

2014 BMW 535d
2014 BMW 535d

OK, I’m hooked and I admit it. Yes, I love diesel cars.

Hybrids are fine but they cost a bit more and don’t deliver quite the fuel economy claimed, at lest some don’t. Every diesel, however, has met or even exceeded claimed gas mileage. Yep, Each one I’ve tested.

One of my favorites is the BMW 535. It’s already a car to long for, but add diesel technology and it’s nearly irresistible.

The 535d has the same equipment as the 535i except the six cylinder engine is a turbocharged diesel which makes a so-so 255 horsepower, but – wait for it – 413 pounds-feet of torque. Yes, you could pull stumps out of the ground if this were a truck. It’s not. It is a luxury sedan that can hit 60 miles per hour in 5.8 seconds and achieve 26 miles per gallon in the city and 37 mpg on the highway. That’s 30 mpg overall. Oh, and it has x-Drive, BMW’s all wheel drive system.

The engine is coupled to an eight-speed automatic transmission that can shifted like a manual from the steering wheel. It is buttery smooth, acting as if it’s not there at times. You can downshift quickly if you need to pass or cruise effortlessly in eighth gear. Yes, it’s quick for its size, but BMW has taken a bit of the sport out of the 5-series. It’s more comfortable and luxurious than before, but not as attitudinal. You can get that in the M or even the 550i with a V8, but I still think this 5 strikes a great balance between sport and comfort.

Driving this automobile is really a pleasure. There is enough feedback from steering and the road feel from the tires to know what’s going on. You can still find twisty roads to conquer but a tad bit more care is necessary. Don’t worry, this is still a sports sedan, despite the fact it’s as quite as Grant’s tomb.

Can’t say enough about the car’s iconic styling. The double kidney grill still screams BMW. The overall shape is sleek and eye pleasing. Still one of the best looking cars on the road.

There’s plenty of technology, some optional. Intelligent cruise control, blind spot detection, antilock brakes, LED headlights, bunches of air bags, stability and traction control and navigation were present. The ubiquitous high end stereo with terrestrial and satellite radio was also present.

My turn in the Bimmer didn’t allow me to test the x-Drive system. The weather was perfect. I’m still not sure if I’m sold on i-Drive, although it gets better with every new update. X-drive controls most of the car’s functions with a single knob. I’m not bothered by many buttons so long as each feels good to the touch or offers an easily definable function.

How much for the goodies. Well, my test car was around $60,000 with options and destination. That’s about average for cars in this class. Love the gas mileage with the diesel engine (which of course does not smoke nor makes much noise per diesels of old). Couldn’t ask for much more.

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