2013 BMW 535d M-Sport Review
Initial Impression9
Target Market8.5
Drivability 8.5
Liveability7.5
Cost7
What we liked
  • Heaps of torque
  • Like lots of torque
  • Fuel Economy
What we didn't like
  • Cost
  • Lack of standard features
8.1Overall Score

The BMW 5 Series ever since its introduction back in 1972 has been one of the benchmarks for the executive saloon market. A number of things have however changed along the way. No longer do we have a screaming V10 in the M5 and diesels seem to be winning the endurance races.

Today we see a Twin-Turbo V8 in the M5 and a diesel executive car which will rival most sports cars on the market. So let’s explore this new age with the 2013 BMW 535d M-Sport review.

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Motorline BMW was kind enough to give us the keys to a 535d with the M-Sport Package and before the review started we must admit we didn’t quite know what we were getting ourselves into. The 535d features a Twin-Turbo Inline-Six Diesel which produces 230kW and a monstrous 630Nm of torque which is connected to an 8-Speed automatic with Steptronic, along with a sharper interior and exterior styling as well as improved suspension.

The 535d which we had from Motorline BMW had a few options checked from the list including the full comfort seats, sunroof and some extra goodies.

Initial Impression

This car is a beast. A highly sophisticated beast which could hunt you down like a Cheetah, yet when it catches you only needs to nibble on your ear to keep powering along. The F10 5 Series is currently one of the best looking saloons on the market and if road presence is your thing, this would satisfy you very nicely.

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The Sophisto Grey metallic paint looked stunning and the M-Sport styling topped off the great lines on the bonnet. When stepping into the car, you feel like you’ve stepped into a totally different world. You are greeted with the wonderful smell of high-quality leather and a cabin which disguises all of the technology behind a well thought-out dash.

As the driver, I also had no doubt that I was going to be able to find the perfect seating position with almost every aspect of the seat being adjustable. For fussy passengers this is also exactly what you want.

Target Market

It isn’t a hot hatch or supercar, the 535d is for the executive who not only wants a comfortable drive but who also wants to look the part. Each area of the styling has been tailored just like a custom fit suit. Everything is functional and serves its purpose well which ultimately meets the needs of the driver and its passengers. The 5 Series has always done an excellent job at meeting the needs of executives and now with the diesel engines, that luxury also comes in a flavour that is much better for the environment.

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Following a number of passenger runs, this car also highlights its ability of being quite a capable limousine. Of course it isn’t a 7-Series; however in major capitals you will start seeing the odd 5 Series taking the place of a 7-Series in Airport Transfers. For this review we’ve even added a passenger experience section written by a special guest to give you an even greater insight.

Passenger Experience – by Kerryn Perkins

Drawing on experience as the passengers of chauffeured services for airport transfers over many years, the opportunity to experience the 535d from a rear seat perspective for Daily Auto Fix was not a hard challenge to accept.  We loaded the ample boot with towels and gear, ready to cruise to the Gold Coast from Brisbane. Whilst at first the thought of sharing the back with my over 6 foot tall companion was a little daunting, once we were on board, that proved to be an invalid concern. 

There is a tonne of seat width and leg room available, and typically as we have all come to expect, the BMW seats hug your body in sheer comfort.  Apart from the excellent air conditioning venting for rear passengers; which actually left our feet a bit cool, something amazing in Queensland’s humid weather, and the impression of great headroom, it was actually the smooth ride which got us most though. Reading was no effort as the car handled every bump and lane change with smooth efficiency and the design of the door to seat ratio which seems to have the window starting higher up the door itself, gave a great feeling of security and privacy.  Road noise was non-existent.

The general creature comforts such as the light controls and arm rest were what we expect of BMW and didn’t let us down, which overall made the journey very pleasant and seem to go very quickly. We would have to say that cruising along in the back with our Daily Auto Fix chauffer up front, this is one car which certainly turned heads…or maybe they were trying to work out who those rock stars were in the back seat! Either way, the 535d gets a major thumbs up from us in terms of being a suitable passenger vehicle and one bonus, the digital radio, also meant that our drive was accompanied by tranquil tones the whole way as well. A fantastic morning out driving in this stunning vehicle and by the way, the beach was great too!

Bring on the next passenger review…we are willing to sacrifice ourselves in the interests of serving the readers of Daily Auto Fix!

Drivability

Drivability is something in this review that we can probably glide over because it drives as good as it looks…which is fantastically. Whilst the 535d is indeed a heavy car, coming in with a kerb weight of 1790kgs, the setup of the vehicle including suspension and twin-turbo diesel engine meant that acceleration was smooth, yet rapid. There was no second guessing by the vehicle when it came to responsiveness, even when utilising the four different engine modes which BMW have including Eco Pro, Comfort, Sport and Sport+. Whilst each setting affected how sharp the throttle response was, if you wanted the car to accelerate to make a passing manoeuvre it was always ready. In addition, don’t forget the 535d also has a 0-100km/h time of 5.5seconds which in the 5 Series range in Australia is only beaten by the 550i and M5 which both are considerably more expensive.

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Fuel economy was the most surprising aspect of this vehicle. The sheer weight and amount of technology which it was packing would convince most people that it would be a big drinker, even with the diesel engine, but it wasn’t. When we were testing for our total trip we averaged less than 8 litres per 100km of fuel, but on the freeway we saw that number drop all the way down to 4.8 litres per 100km. BMW says that the 535d should be capable of 6.1 litres per 100km and we think that number could be achieved.

Liveability

The question about liveability, we think, comes down to the individual. This vehicle is capable of a lot, but of course it is always your personal circumstances and the car ownership experience you are looking for that dictates whether something is for you.

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The 535d is a long vehicle, the longest we’ve tested so far, and it made parking more difficult as you didn’t just have to look for a spot which you could swing into, you had to look for a parking spot which would fit the whole vehicle and not leaving the nose or tail hanging out. Especially with a car which is worth more than most people earn in a couple of years.

That aside, in the short amount of time which we did have it, we didn’t have any troubles at all with the school pick up, the odd run down to the shops and the drive to the Gold Coast from Brisbane and back again. Plus it fits plenty of luggage and the golf bags in the boot with ease.

Cost

Turning to the cost of the 535d we have to admit that this isn’t a cheap car. It is expensive, but from what we have shared with you hopefully you’ll grow to appreciate where it sits on the car market. The 535d M-Sport which we tested with options came in at $151,000 (including all of the add on charges). Which for a car like this we can totally justify, except for a few disappointing things such as there is no reversing camera or high-beam assist which were standard options last year. When you think of the growing list of vehicles even at $30,000 which have a reversing camera, BMW has poorly decided to keep ‘in-line with pricing with the E-Class’.

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However all things aren’t all bad. Currently BMW Australia is running a promotion until March 31st 2013 across the 1 Series Coupe and Convertible, 3 Series Coupe and Convertible, X5 xDrive30d M Sport, 5 Series and Z4 range. This promotion gives some great value by having the M Sport option as standard. Which depending on the model can save you quite a chunk of money and in our opinion the M Sport is the must have option. The M Sport as you can see on the 535d totally transforms the look inside and outside as well as tunes the handling that little extra bit.

Conclusion

The BMW 535d M-Sport certainly is a car that packs a mighty punch with its athleticism, stunning looks and fuel economy that challenges even the most eco-friendly of cars. We loved it and if you’re in the market we’re sure you will too especially with BMW’s Festival of M promotion.

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A big thanks to Motorline BMW for enabling us to review the BMW 535d M-Sport and if you are considering any BMW or simply want some more information about any models make sure you do get in contact or simply pop in and have a chat to their awesome team.

Image credits: Blake Woodington

About The Author

AshMan, aka Ashley, has had a passion for cars since playing with Matchbox cars as a youngster. Currently working on World Domination and looks foward to seeing you on the small screen soon. He also likes people following him on Twitter: @ashmansays

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