2012 BMW 535 Review by Joe Wiesenfelder

I don't walk away from every new model with a single overriding impression, but sometimes a car grabs me by the collar and shakes me. While that wasn't exactly the case with the redesigned 2011 BMW 5 Series, that car did consistently whisper in my ear.

If the new 5 Series is anything, it's quiet and comfortable.

This new level of comfort broadens the sport sedan's appeal, but at the same time the newly redesigned car gives up even more of its old visceral experience, which has been abating generation by generation.

The 5 Series sedan comes in three levels: the 528i, 535i and 550i. (The bizarre 5 Series Gran Turismo is reviewed separately.) Though there was a time when those numbers represented engine sizes, BMW's recent embrace of turbocharging has cast off any semblance of meaning. Suffice it to say the 528i has a six-cylinder, the 535i has a turbocharged six-cylinder and the 550i has a turbocharged V-8. See them compared here.

I tested the 535i and 550i with rear-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is available for both of these levels, designated "xDrive."

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