From £46,680
This variant comes with all the bells and whistles: a truly accomplished all-rounder
Autocar
3 December 2010

What is it?

There are two separate pieces of 5-series news to talk about here, but unfortunately only one that we'll get to the bottom of. The first is the return of the 535d to the range, absent since the launch of the F10. The second, that it is now possible to buy a 5-series in M Sport specification.

What's it like?

Although retaining two turbochargers, the 35d engine has been comprehensively re-engineered and now produces 295bhp and 442lb ft of torque. Much as before, the car is available only with an automatic transmission, but the 'box now has eight speeds. The performance for a diesel saloon car is extraordinary; if anything, the claimed 0-62mph time of 5.7sec undersells the real-world, on-demand response.

Perhaps of more relevance, though, is that this new 535d is significantly more refined than the previous model, which could occasionally feel and sound slightly coarse. Why exactly is difficult to pinpoint; it could be the new engine and gearbox or simply because the F10 employs more sound deadening than its predecessor.

The biggest question, though, is whether you actually need the extra performance, given that the 530d is now such a competent and potent motor. For those deciding that the half-a-second gain in the 0-62mph time is worth the extra £3425, the consolation is that the 535d matches the 530d’s claimed economy figures and produces just 2g/km more CO2.

And so to the M Sport specification, which is available throughout the range at a cost of £3225 over SE trim. You can come to your own conclusions about the visual changes, which consist of new valances, sills, wheels and a bootlid spoiler on the outside and an M Sport steering wheel, sport seats, anthracite roof lining and aluminium trim inside.

As standard, M Sport also brings recalibrations to the suspension (springs, dampers and ride height). However, this is far from the end of the story, because it is possible to opt for the M Sport look but retain the SE suspension settings. And if (as here) you specify the £2220 optional Adaptive Drive pack (active dampers and anti-roll bars), the situation gets even more complicated. Because with Adaptive Drive, the suspension and ride height revert to SE specification, meaning this M Sport 535d drives no differently from a similarly optioned SE model.

So is it an option worth ticking? Sadly, that's not a question we can fully answer just yet, as we've not tried a passively damped M Sport 5-series. What we can say is that in SE trim, Adaptive Drive does improve the 5-series' composure and ride quality, and given that this is effectively what we've got here, the 535d M Sport is an extremely pleasant car to drive, if no more sporting than an SE, even if its styling might suggest it is.

Should I buy one?

With BMW offering such a broad spectrum of optional technology, selecting the optimal 5-series specification was already difficult, which the arrival of M Sport has now only made more complex. What's clear, though, is that a 535d M Sport with all the toys is an excellent executive all-rounder, if an expensive one. But it also poses yet more questions – mainly about the passive M Sport set-up. Watch this space.

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Jamie Corstorphine

BMW 535d M Sport

Price: £45,320; 0-62mph: 5.7sec; Top speed: 155mph (limited); Economy: 46.3mpg (combined); CO2: 162g/km; Kerb weight: 1790kg; Engine: 6 cyls in line, 2993cc, twin-turbodiesel; Power: 295bhp at 4400rpm; Torque: 442lb ft at 1750rpm; Gearbox: 8-spd automatic

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ej03 13 December 2010

Re: BMW 5 Series 535d M Sport

Citytiger wrote:
So to sum up then, an ugly car, that needs a body kit to try and make it look half decent (it still doesnt IMO),
I don't think its ugly its just, so so boring! I think the M Sport body kit makes it look a lot sharper but these days, the Merc E Class, oddly big rear quarters and very boxy (didn't put me off to start with but i'm struggling with looking at it on the drive now), and the Audi A6 well, tell the new one apart from an A4/5/7/8.....at a glance I think a lot of people would sturggle! The interior scores big points with me, I recently test drove a Jaguar XF and then a BMW 525d a day later and the interior is far better quality than the XF and my current E250 cdi.

ej03 12 December 2010

Re: BMW 5 Series 535d M Sport

Maxycat wrote:
Is this the same engine as that fitted in the 4.0d in the X6? Why the difference in numbers ( 535d and 4.0d ) for engines of same layout, capacity and output?
The engine is actually a 3 litre. The 25/30/35 are all pretty much the same engine, just with the addition of turbo chargers or tuned to a different power output. The X5 xdrive40d is also an equivalent of the same engine, tuned to a higher output of torque and bhp. It is the same for the 18/20/23 badged BMW as well, all based on the same 2 litre engine but tuned to different power outputs or the addition of turbo chargers. I believe this is the same for the badges ending in 16 models also. Hope this helps! The badging has never been quite true! Such as the E63/C63/S63 Mercs which were all "only" 6.2.

Maxycat 11 December 2010

Re: BMW 5 Series 535d M Sport

Autocar wrote:
Although retaining two turbochargers, the 35d engine has been comprehensively re-engineered and now produces 295bhp and
442lb ft of torque
Is this the same engine as that fitted in the 4.0d in the X6? Why the difference in numbers ( 535d and 4.0d ) for engines of same layout, capacity and output?

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