2014 BMW 535d xDrive Review

I’ve had a soft spot for the 5 Series for years. There’s something gloriously harmonious about the 5 lineup of vehicles from BMW. Not as hotel-like and massive as the 7 Series, but just as fun-to-drive and responsive as the 3 Series, the 5 sits squarely in the middle with the best of both worlds resting on its four wheels.

Now, as if the 5 Series didn’t offer enough from the 528 up to the glorious M5, the new 535d adds a dimension I’ve been longing for behind the wheel of a 5er: diesel torque. Is it the best BMW in the lineup? Perhaps not the best, but it’s damn close.

What is a BMW 535d xDrive?
Besides the 3 Series, the 5 is one of BMW’s most popular car model lines. Why? Because it offers a pleasant blend of everything one might be looking for in a luxury midsize sedan. Around since the early ‘70s, the 5 Series is now in its sixth generation. From all-wheel drive to turbo engines to hybrids and even a Gran Turismo (GT) wagon-like version, the 5 Series has had many personalities over the years.

2014 BMW 535d xDrive Price and Specs
While the base 528i sedan starts at $54,600 the larger engines across the lineup mean larger price tags, with the 535d sitting at a starting price of just below $70k. With a host of packages and extras on my tester including a Premium Package ($4,200), Technology Package ($4,500), as well as Comfort Seats ($1,500), the final price of my particular Dark Graphite Metallic and Ivory Nappa Leather (stunning) 535d xDrive was a staggering $81,100. They say there’s money in oil, well apparently it costs to burn it, too — in more ways than one.

What I wouldn’t lament spending that kind of coin over, however, is the engine nestled beneath the long snout of the 2014 BMW 535d. BMW’s inline-6 engines are just fantastic, and this turbo diesel unit is no exception. Spitting out 255 horsepower and 413 lb-ft of torque, the 535d goes like the dickens when prompted. Of course, the xDrive badge means you also get BMW’s excellent all-wheel drive.

Driving the 2014 BMW 535d xDrive
If you hadn’t caught on already, I quite like driving the 535d. Not only can it be exceptionally comfortable (especially when left in Comfort mode), but it can also tighten up in an instant (with the press of the Sport+ button) to offer a dynamic, sharp romp behind the wheel that’ll leave you grinning from ear to ear and not burning gobs of fuel as you would have in a gas-powered version.

Yes, the 535d xDrive feels heavy at times, but is taught and maneuverable under the right conditions. Body roll is nearly nil as the 535d hunkers down in corners and pulls out beautifully with gobs of diesel-driven torque. With the aforementioned Sport+ activated everything comes to life from throttle response to steering input and suspension. BMW’s 8-speed automatic handles power well, and shifts can be manipulated manually via steering wheel mounted paddles.

Smooth and sophisticated when it has to be, the 2014 BMW 535d xDrive might sound a bit like a tractor from the outside, but once inside, sound-deadening materials quickly mask any unpleasant auditory diesel-ness

Auto start-stop and an Eco mode also feature BMW’s Efficient Dynamics energy recovering system and make for even bigger savings at the pumps. With close to 850km on the gauge cluster by the end of the week, I’d just crossed over the 7L/100 km mark with a combination of city and highway driving (and not with a light foot).

Inside and Out of the 2014 BMW 535d xDrive
This is a seriously handsome automobile. Manly in the best way possible, the 535d looks a bit like a well-tailored Armani suit amongst a host of lesser brands when parked next to other luxury sedans in a lot. BMW’s new design language is stellar, and I especially like the pointed front fascia complete with kidney grille, and hawkeye headlights with LEDs and the signature angel eyes.

Inside, my tester’s Ivory Nappa Leather interior was stunning to behold, but far from practical. I always love the light colour combo with a dark exterior tone, but the light carpets get instantly dirty (as do doorsills) that I can’t imagine having to live with it and not turn completely OCD about it all.

As for space, well the 535d has plenty of that, which is part of its appeal. The back seat is spacious to say the least, and included in the Premium Package featured rear sun shades all around — perfect for my son on a sunny spring day.

Comparing the 2014 BMW 535d xDrive

Diesel is quickly becoming less of a dirty word here in North America, but competition remains limited when it comes to luxury midsize sedans that offer a diesel option. Of course, there’s the Mercedes E 250 Bluetec and Audi’s A6 TDI, but essentially that’s it.

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