2011 BMW 535i: Flash Drive
This 2011 review is representative of model years 2011 to 2014.
By Staff of MSN Autos
The BMW 535i exactly splits the difference between the 3-Series and the 7-Series. I tend to find that the 3-Series has an exaggerated weight to its controls, specifically the steering, and a ponderous nature to its movements. But the 3-Series is better than the bloated-feeling 1-Series, even though it's not a willing partner to spirited driving. Somehow the 7-Series, although obviously bigger and heavier in objective terms, feels the lightest and most nimble of all. The 5-Series may not have the balance of power or the clarity of focus of the 7-Series, but it is easier to wield and better-sized for the cut-and-thrust of a modern city or even a racetrack. I love the BMW 7-Series and now I have a new respect for the 535i. Happily, it's also cheaper than the 7. –Paul Hagger
I've not been a big fan of the 5-Series' styling, and while this 2011 model has a bit of a facelift, it is still not a great-looking sedan. The interior is attractive, however, with the nice materials expected from a BMW. Seats are comfortable with plenty of adjustments, although I expected more legroom in the rear. The iDrive controller is a bit improved with a number of "shortcut" buttons. Even so, it's still more complicated than it needs to be. The turbocharged engine offers plenty of power; the 535 can really move off the line. In everyday driving, though, I found the power difficult to apply smoothly, and the brakes also take some getting used to. I did like the ability to change chassis and drivetrain settings with a single switch, and the change was noticeable. In the Sport Plus setting, handling was quite impressive, especially for a car of this size. Overall, there are some nice features and improved styling, but there are too many annoyances that would bug me in everyday driving. –Perry Stern