A sedan worth a thousand flavours
Caiscais, Portugal. Huge waves rise in the air and clash against the rocks in a strangely silent way. That’s because the vault-like interior of the all-new 2011 BMW 5-Series is so effectively sealed that you barely hear a peep coming from the outside, even from the roaring engine. On the other hand, this sensible yet justifiably sporty premium sedan lets you feel every thrill behind the wheel with wonderful immediacy and accuracy.
The sixth generation of the Bavarian family hero fulfills its mission — to deliver even more fun on the open road while offering a unique combination of safety and technology that far exceeds usual expectations.
Not only did BMW chose to totally revamp the controversial bodywork of the previous generation, but designers also developed and perfected a number of advanced technologies, ensuring that the 5-Series stays at the top of the premium midsize sedan game.
Almost like spring
The automaker introduced its new model to auto journalists from all over the world on the beautiful winding roads of the Portuguese coast. It almost felt like spring already. Amid this breathtaking scenery encompassing the legendary Estoril Circuit, we had the opportunity to put the 535i to the test.
At first glance, the car looks downright intimidating, what with a plethora of high-tech systems and devices that you need to get familiar with before taking off the first time. Obviously, it all starts with the (in)famous iDrive interface, which BMW insists has been significantly revised and improved. There’s still a single rotary dial in the middle of the console, but the manipulation is more intuitive now, at least with regards to basic controls and settings. Unfortunately, the more intricate ones like programming the split screen required the brains of two seasoned journalists (including yours truly) as well as two company reps.
Of course, the array of technologies extends way beyond the iDrive system. The 2011 5-Series includes a rearview camera with top and side views, Lane Departure Warning plus an available Parking Assistant which allows the car to park all by itself. Then there’s Night Vision with pedestrian recognition, radar-based adaptive cruise control and a fully-customizable head-up display. We’re talking about safety features here, but there’s even more going on under the hood.
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