2014 BMW 535d – Review and Road Test

Jonathan Spira's 2014 BMW 535d outside the BMW Welt in Munich

By Jonathan Spira on 14 February 2014
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MUNICH—The BMW 5 Series was the first to bear the Bavarian automaker’s then-new numbering scheme, something that is mostly taken for granted today, when it was introduced in 1972.  Until then, BMW used a four-digit numbering scheme that closely matched the engine’s displacement, such as 1500 or 1800.

I first became an admirer of the 5 Series when it entered its fourth generation, something BMW coded internally as “E39.”  It was possibly one of the most elegant designs to come out of Munich to date, understated yet powerful and dynamic.

I wanted one.

In 2002, I got my wish.  I took delivery of a titanium silver 530i at BMW’s now-retired delivery center in the Freimann section of Munich.  With a powerful inline six under the hood and 50-50 weight distribution, it was a blast to drive on its initial voyages to Italy and Austria before it made its way to the States.


Attending the high-tech pre-delivery briefing at the BMW Welt

My next 5er was a Carbon Black Metallic “E60” 550i, representing the fifth generation of the line, code-name “E60”.  I took delivery of this on October 23, 2007 at the BMW Welt.  I recall the exact date because it was the opening day of the new delivery facility and I was the first customer to take delivery that day.  That car went north to Belgium and the Netherlands and finally to Bremerhaven, where I dropped it off personally for its overseas voyage.

The third 5er to be a guest in my garage was an Azurite Black Metallic 2012 ActiveHybrid 5, a member of the sixth generation of 5ers, and the fourth 5er is a Moonstone Metallic 2014 535d.

There I was on December 20, back on well-trod ground, at the BMW Welt to take delivery of a car.  It never gets old.

Indeed, I had waited quite a while for this particular car.  At the end of the last decade, when BMW introduced the 335d (which observant readers may recall I drove for several years), I nonetheless lusted after a 5 Series diesel.  BMW’s late, great VP of marketing, Jack Pitney, told me it was coming.  Real soon, I believe were his words.  “You won’t be disappointed,” he commented.

Good things come to those who wait.

The 535d was announced in May 2013 and started making its way to the U.S. in late summer.  It isn’t, however, the first 5 Series diesel to come out of Bavaria.  That honor belongs to the BMW 524td, which made its U.S. debut in 1985.

Click here to continue to Page 2Inside the 535d and Driving the 535d

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